It is a very funny feeling, having striven for so long to get into print with a 'legitimate' publisher and feeling that this is the only way I could validate my writing to suddenly be going it alone. True, I've still got a publisher (fingers crossed and all that!) and I continue to write both the Rina Martin and Naomi Blake series for Severn House, but this entry into Kindledom is really very different.
You can kind of blame Michael Wood, the historian and TV personality. Years ago I'd got an idea for the book that finally became PRIEST, part one of the Swordweaver sequence - I think there'll be four. I'd got stuck on the research and when I met the venerable Mr Wood at a reading I asked for some advice. It was just a simple question (and I was really well behaved, bought a book for him to sign and everything) but it led to a conversation, others joined in and it led to a bigger conversation. I got the direction I needed for the research and Michael Wood missed his train - for which major apologies to his publicist who had been desperately trying to usher him out of the door.
So I started to write the book, in between other projects. Originally, it was just the one book and it was called Swordweaver, the idea being that would echo the notion of pattern welded swords and also of women either being shield maidens or peaceweavers, but, as these things do, it got a bit out of hand. The idea grew, the scope of the story expanded - and my husband adopted the name for his armoury (he makes metal clothes for medieval knights).
Mostly, I write crime. Often, I write crime and something else - supernatural, historical...whatever takes my fancy really. This was certainly Crime and Something Else and the something else became more important as time went on. There's a modern crime story with an investigating officer and there's a story set in the time of Alfred the Great and they wind through one another, linked by location and also by the effect the characters have one one another, despite the time and distance between....and, guess what? No one wanted it.
I've had some lovely rejections for this book. 'Compelling and involving but too long for us'; an expression of disbeleif that anything convincing could be written set in the Dark Ages (that conclusion reached without actually looking at the book) and, my favourite, one I take as a major compliment in fact, that it was, 'at times, like Alan Garner writing for adults- but it wouldn't sell in Tesco.'
So, here I am, entering the Kindledom and bringing a book that I hope will be read so I have reason to write the others. And it is both terrifying and liberating. No safety net, no external validation, just my own judgement that this is a good book and so many new skills to learn.
But, you know what, it actually feels pretty good and being in the company of other writers that I admire and who have also taken that leap of faith is validation in itself. And I have other books that have received equally lavish rejections and a backlist - finally reverted -that deserves to be allowed another chance so this is just the beginning of the adventure and a long and exciting one I hope it will be.