During my profession as a tax accountant and financial investigator, I was amazed with the relative ease with which people and organizations are able to manipulate information, create data breaches and gain financial advantage. With this as my inspiration I wrote a crime thriller/suspense novel about a case of identity theft and misplaced trust.
I uploaded the story on to Create Space and Amazon to gauge the response from readers and just to see what would happen. I enjoyed the process immensely and along the way received a number of positive and useful reviews.
I took on board their comments especially those of Norman Goldman. I teamed up with a professional content editor, Deborah Owen and over the last year I have worked with her to develop a series of three stand-alone stories with Emma Wilson as the main character.
“Lethal Betrayal”, the first story in the series is now completed.
HOW I DECIDED TO BECOME A WRITER
I began writing late in life. Like a lot of us I was too busy living and working to find the time to commit to writing a full-blown novel.
Then a few years back my interest was sparked when I read an article about a man named Walter Swann.
Swan began writing his collection of “short but true” stories in 1952 to satisfy the desire of his eight children to hear about his childhood.
In the mid-1970s he taught himself to type with two fingers and gave the stories to his wife, Deloris, for editing and retyping. Deloris kept them in an old apple box, and when the box was finally full he turned the compilation of stories about growing up with his brother Henry into a book entitled Me and Henry
In 1976, Walter went looking for a publisher. No publisher would publish it. So he published it himself. He couldn’t get it into bookstores so he opened his own book store which he called the One Book Bookstore. His bookstore was unique as it only carried one title: – you’re right, Me and Henry.
The idea seems a bit outlandish but it wasn’t. He sold thousands of his books and like all authors he succumbed to the pressure of the sequel and wrote a second book called Me and Mama. He sold that book at the Other Book Store, located right next to the One Book Bookstore.
For me the story of Walter’s journey had a few simple messages. Firstly write about something you know, and secondly have a marketing plan and have an abundance of persistence. I decided to use my finance and accounting knowledge to write a crime suspense novel on issues I knew something about such as international finance, forensic accounting and illicit trafficking and give it a shot. Well in the long run Walter was spot on; you need truckloads of energy and persistence just to get a manuscript completed.
I hadn’t read much and I hadn’t attended any writing classes so I had to rely on research to discover as much as I could on matters as genre, word count, chapter length and style. Actually I really enjoyed the research phase but you have to be careful you don’t overdo it. Sooner or later you have to start writing.
I had to keep the story moving and at the same time I wanted the story to be character driven. I was looking for an audience who liked international intrigue in their crime and mystery novels so I set the story in Europe. But understanding these things and actually executing the plan turned out to be two different issues. After a few years I finished the manuscript but realized that it needed more work.
Eventually I came to confront the irrefutable truth that every writer needs an editor. We can all benefit from working with a skilled development editor. It’s part of working toward being a professional writer. My advice is, have a development editor on your team.
I was lucky to find someone willing to fall in love with and commit to my project. She was also willing to flex her editorial muscles. Her name is Deborah Owen. Deborah and I went back and forth on more than 10 different rewrites for some sections of my book.
I am pleased with the final outcome, Lethal Betrayal is completed. Thanks to the editor the difference between the original version and the final version is like the difference between a rough stone and the dazzle of the hidden gem within. I’m still on the journey toward publication.