Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Write Stuff with... Anne Stormont

Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Anne Stormont to the blog with her guest post 'Getting Published is all about Perseverance'.

Ten years and five books later – I'm glad I didn't give up

It's ten years since my first book was published and since then I've published three more and my next one is due out this month. So that's five in all – four for adults and one for children. And I have to say, I do feel proud of what I've achieved – proud of my books, proud of the obstacles I've overcome on the way, and proud that I didn't give up.

From Procrastination to Perseverance to Publication

As a child I was a total bookworm (still am) and reading inspired me to write my own stories. I wrote them for myself and also to entertain my four younger sisters. But much as I loved writing it wasn't something I ever thought I could do for a living. And adult life as a wife, mother and primary school teacher left me little time to do more than write the odd short story for my own entertainment. However, I did daydream of maybe one day – one day I might actually write a novel. But busyness made procrastination all too easy.

Then I got a wake-up call – a brush with mortality that showed me 'one day' might never come and I should blooming well get on with chasing my dream. It was just over twenty years ago and I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Long story short, I did a deal with fate and promised that if I survived the illness, I'd stop procrastinating and get on with all the things I'd been putting off – most especially writing that novel.

I did survive and I did keep my side of the deal. I took a couple of writing courses along the way but mostly I just got on with it and combined writing with my already hectic schedule - carving out time in the evening and at weekends. And, by 2008 after lots of rewriting and polishing, I had a completed manuscript.

You're never too old to fall in love - in real life and in fiction

But, when I sent my contemporary romance novel Change of Life off to publishers and agents, all I got back were rejections. Many were positive and constructive rejections, assuring me I could write and that the story was a good one BUT also telling me that romance readers didn't want to read about main characters in their forties or about the sorts of serious issues that form major parts of the plot. A couple of them even suggested a rewrite where the main characters could still be 'mature' but no older than thirty! And it was also suggested I make it more light-hearted. But for me, this would have meant writing a completely different story and not the one I wanted to write.

Going it alone – indie and proud

However, as with so much in life, timing was everything and it was around this time that self-publishing – (or indie as it's called now) was just beginning to take off as a viable alternative to the more traditional route. So because, like my characters, I wasn't getting any younger, I decided to take publication matters into my own hands. I hired a freelance editor and a cover designer – both of whom I continue to work with. I ensured my book was as professionally produced as it would have been with a publishing company and in January 2010 I pressed 'publish'. 

I haven't looked back. I have continued to write second-chance-romances - as books with older (i.e. aged over 30) lead characters in the genre now tend to be called. I've also continued to include serious issues within my stories - as well as more light-hearted moments and, of course, happy-endings. Like most writers, and as per the conventional advice, I write the sort of books I want to read. 

After Change of Life which is a standalone story, I wrote a series of three contemporary romance novels with main characters in their fifties. Displacement and Settlement are available now and the final part of the series, Fulfilment, will be published later this month.

And, along the way, I also wrote and published (using the pen name of Anne McAlpine) a children's timeslip novel for 9 to 12-year-olds called The Silver Locket.

You only regret the things you don't do

So yes, it's been a busy ten years and, although I've now retired from teaching, I have no intention of giving up writing any time soon. I love discovering new characters. I love seeing their stories develop. And I love sharing those stories with my now well-established and loyal readership. 
I'm so glad I didn't give up.

Book Links:

Anne's books are all available in paperback and as e-books.

Change of Life


The Silver Locket

About Anne: 

Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women's fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.

Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins. She has friends and family all over the world including in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.

Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.

She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes that both aspects come through in her writing.

Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.

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