I’m delighted to welcome award-winning author, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, to the blog today to share her writing journey with us. A truly inspiration piece.
Hi, just want to thank Jane for having me on her blog – always available for a little blog hop! I’m Debz and I not only work as a full-time writer, having abandoned the regular day job, but I also work as an editor, professional critiquer, and a small publisher. I also edit for the e-zine CaféLit and am a partner at small press, Bridge House Publishing, which is how I met Jane’s and her fabulous writing.
I am living proof that if you want something enough – you can get it. But it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft. So be prepared for the long haul – but what a glorious ride it can be.
I have always written in one form or another but the obsession finally got me close to ten years ago when I started work on the first novel (ignoring the one I wrote aged nine!) and I have never looked back. While No One Was Watching, published by Parthian Books this October, is the debut novel – but actually the fourth novel I’ve written. The message there is – we have to learn the craft. Don’t rush it.
My first publishing success actually came five years ago when my first short story was accepted for a collection. A year later, having just completed my MA in Creative Writing, I bravely (some might say foolishly) gave up the day job to live the dream, and it amazes me to see that in the past five years I have had close to twenty short stories in collections and this year saw me short-listed in the Commonwealth Short Story Prize with only one other UK writer and I WON the Bath Short Story Award. Proof I am on the right path? It certainly validates giving up the day job!
I think this along with the phone call we all dream about (and I had been for so long!) from Richard at Parthian to say they loved my novel, was the cherry on the proverbial cake for 2013. What a year! And I have to say that I believe writing short stories really honed the craft, and working in editing and especially critiquing (I have also been approved to work for Cornerstones) made a huge difference – you have to know it, to teach it. So my paid work informs by real work, i.e. the author. And that is who I really am. To misquote Descartes: I write, therefore I am.
While No One Was Watching started life as a short story, an experiment in first-person narratives and it came from a vision – a woman leans forward in a chair, thick black fingers wrapped around a child’s silver locket and says to the young reporter, “It belonged to a little girl. She disappeared the day the President was shot. She was never found.”
This whole premise of taking an iconic moment in history; the assassination of John F Kennedy, but looking at something that happened just off-set, fascinated me and seemed like a great premise for a novel. Eleanor Boone is standing on a grassy knoll, she drops her mother’s hand. Gunshots. Panic. When the mother turns around her little girl is gone. She is still missing fifty years on – so what happened?
I knew it begged to be more than a short story and so I developed it, narrating as Gary, our small time reporter for a local paper, divorcee, Sunday father, and Lydia, our larger than life African- American retired police psychic. I allowed fact and fiction to brush up alongside one another; our reporter reviewing real evidence from that day, but this time not looking for a man in a crowd with a gun – but a little girl. Gone while no one was watching. Or maybe someone was?
I do err on the literary side in my writing, so while it’s a plot-driven mystery, I love to explore my characters. When you meet them, all I ask if you look after them. So far, so good. It’s a weird thing sending your work out there but the reviews have been amazing.
You’ll have to see, won’t you? I am just thrilled it’s out there and it was out in time for the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination this November.
Find out more about me and my work here: MY WEBSITE
Find out more about the book on the publisher’s website here: PARTHIAN
Watch the book trailer I made here: (I even had song written and composed for the book!) YOUTUBE
And buy it here (note that the Kindle version is on special offer for 99p until the end of December 2013.) AMAZON
So I really hope you enjoy it!
And Jane – thanks for having me!
And remember – anything is always possible. 2014 will be a great year! Never give up.