How long have you been writing and what made you start?
I wrote my first rhyming poem when I was 4, and my first proper short story at 10. It wasn’t something I’d set out to do: words would just come to me when I was bored and I’d write them down (ok, when I was 4 my parents wrote them down for me). My biggest problem was and always has always been ideas: whenever a teacher suggested I might like to become a writer when I grow up, I’d panic: “But I have nothing to write about!!!”
Many people spend a long time finding an agent, can you tell us about your agent hunt?
I approached many agents with my first book “The butler did it” (unpublished, and I can now see why). Most of them never bothered to reply, or sent a standard rejection slip. One agent was kind enough to read the book twice before telling me exactly why she couldn’t see herself selling it to a publisher. Meanwhile, though, my second book, “Murder @ Work”, was doing the rounds and what was then a small press USA publisher picked it out from the slush pile. Of course, Echelon Press had grown heaps since then, but they take submissions directly from their existing authors, so I still don’t have an agent.
Everyone loves a good call story, what was yours?
One night, shortly after my son was born, I was looking at the budget to figure out how to cope on a single income. Then the phone rang: a kind person from Australia wanted to tell me in person that I’d won their short story competition. I was ecstatic, particularly as I barely even remembered having entered. So I opened my records to check exactly which story I had sent in… and discovered that the prize was $1000! It may not sound like a lot to J. K. Rowling, but it made a difference to me.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read Mat Coward’s hilarious book “Success… and how to avoid it”. It tells you exactly why you shouldn’t give up your day job.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on now and what books are coming out in the future? Look out for “Atlantic Pacific Indian – The Three Oceans” (a collection of contemporary short stories) and “S3X Lies and Here Be Dragons” (a collection of science fiction short stories), both from Pipers’ Ash in the UK. They should appear on Amazon within the next few weeks and they are already on the publisher’s website (http://www.supamasu.com/durham.html).
Bio: I live in New Zealand and am a published author of over 100 short stories, 5 short story anthologies, 2 novels and 2 novellas. Please feel free to visit my website on http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/index.html.
Thanks for the interview, Yvonne it’s been awesome.