We are thrilled that our co-founder Graham Fitzgerald has had his first novel published this month – it’s called Astraia: Spirit of Defiance. Here is his take on how he did it.
I remember someone asking me when I was 20: “What is it you most want to do?”
“Be a writer,” came the reply.
“And how will you do that?”
“Become a journalist and when I know enough about the world, turn to writing.”
Except it didn’t work out quite like that. I wrote one book, a comedy thriller about a young detective a few years later. I was pleased with the result but instead of trying to get it published, I stuffed the manuscript into a draw and left it there.
While my book gathered dust, I focused on my career in journalism. I ended up as a TV producer, working for the BBC, ITV and Sky News. I had a great time and worked with some fantastic people. But all the while a voice inside my head kept asking: “What about your writing, when are you going to give it another go?”
To my great regret, I ignored those inner pleas until I reached my sixties when I finally took a grip and wrote the first draft of a teen fiction novel set in ancient Greece. It gave me a huge amount of pleasure and I was generally pleased with the result.
What happened next? You guessed it, it ended up in a drawer just like its predecessor. But not for long. This time I took the manuscript out, dusted it down, added a few bits and … got it published!
What that means is that I am now, some four decades after that conversation with myself, an author. I can’t begin to describe how good that feels and how thrilled my family and friends are.
The book itself is called Astraia: Spirit of Defiance and it follows the adventures of a teenage princess from Corfu. She is an exceptional fighter, a natural leader and independent-minded, so it comes as no surprise when she launches a secret expedition to rescue a cousin kidnapped by pirates. She and her followers face a host of ever more daunting challenges but triumph in the end. Or do they …?
Is the book any good? I think so, but then I would. Obviously, I hope it sells reasonably well, but the main thing is that I finally got around to writing another novel and can now call myself an author.
Do I have any advice for other aspiring writers? Yes. Don’t be like me and get distracted and waste arguably your most creative years. Sit yourself down and write that book, whatever it might be, and don’t stop until it’s finished.
You won’t regret it – promise!
Astraia: Spirit of Defiance by Graham Fitzgerald is available now as an ebook and to pre-order as a paperback.