I’m delighted to welcome author Lorraine Mace to my blog today. Lorraine and I have quite a bit in common, she is a writing tutor as well as an author, she lives in Spain and is published by Accent Press. Hello and welcome, Lorraine. Can you tell us about your publishing journey please?
The first thing I ever had published was a twist in the tale story in that’s life!
When I moved to France in 1999, I foolishly believed getting short fiction accepted would be easy. After more rejections that I care to think about, I was lucky enough to hit the right note and was paid the grand sum of £300.
I used the money to fund a Writers Bureau course and discovered I had a knack for writing humour pieces. This led to being offered a column in Living France Magazine. I subsequently moved to Spain and wrote a similar humour column for Spanish Magazine. For the last ten years I’ve been the humour columnist for Writing Magazine.
If that sounds as if it all fell into my lap, nothing was farther from the truth. As with many writers, I’d treated it as a hobby for a number of years. But, in 2005, everything changed and I had to take my writing more seriously to earn money. My husband became seriously ill and remained so for the next ten years until he passed away. At the same time, we lost a lot of money when our investments went sour. We used our remaining capital to buy a house in Spain, but this didn’t turn out well. Although we started a court case against the builder in 2005, which has cost a great deal in legal fees over the years, it still isn’t settled.
So I became the breadwinner, but didn’t have a job. It was at this point that I started taking my writing seriously. I wrote a non-fiction book about moving countries and was fortunate enough to get it published. Then Maureen Vincent-Northam and I penned a book of advice for new writers, which appeared to be doing well until the publisher went bust. We never received the balance of our advance or the outstanding royalties due to us. Did we rage against this injustice? Well, yes, of course, but after that we set about finding another publisher. The result was The Writer’s ABC Checklist, which has been in print with Accent Press since 2009.
My desire to write crime came much later – possibly as a result of wanting to murder the builder and failed publisher who had completed our financial ruin!
During my writing life, I’ve probably had more ‘thanks, but no thanks’ than I care to count, or want to remember. But rejections are simply part of a writer’s life – seeing your work languishing unread is much worse. My four crime novels published under a pen name didn’t sell and I felt as if I’d wasted years of my life on something that had no value.
However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is not to dwell on the negative, but to focus on what I could do to change things around. I reminded myself the books must have been okay because I hadn’t ever received anything less than a four-star review, with the majority being five stars, so I contacted Accent Press – and I am so glad I did!
The first three books in the D.I. Sterling Series under my own name, Retriever of Souls, Children in Chains, and Injections of Insanity, are out and doing really well. Children in Chains achieved the coveted No.1 best seller spot for hard-boiled crime last month. As if that isn’t enough, Accent Press sold audio rights on my behalf, so I will get to listen to an actor narrating my books.
As writers, it seems we sometimes need to fail in order to succeed, or as Samuel Beckett wrote: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
What an upbeat story, Lorraine. You’ve certainly faced adversity and had well-deserved success. I love your column in The Writing Magazine, and your D.I. Stirling books look compelling reading. I hope you get your court case against the builders settled very soon.
Here are the covers and buy links for Lorraine’s books
Links to books:
Lorraine lives with her partner, Chris, on the Costa del Sol in a gorgeous Spanish village away from the tourist areas. When not working on her crime novels, she is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.
Check in next week to read Sue Johnson’s writing journey.
And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.