Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FEATURE GUEST POST: Jayne Fordham, author of A Season of Transformation

Jayne has generously provided a guest post as part of my feature of A Season of Transformation.  Please give Jayne a warm WELCOME and THANKS for hanging out with us this week!!! :-)  I want to see some comments and responses to her questions at the end...  
Drop by tomorrow for an interview and to learn how to get a FREE copy of this incredible novel!

The Stops and Starts of Writing
By: Jayne Fordham

Inspirations and set-backs on the path of a writer…

Over the years my commitment to writing has varied and I have certainly experienced my ups and downs.  A common question I have been asked during my tour is ‘how did you become a writer?’ So I thought I would dedicate my first guest post to talking about just that. I am by no means an expert, but personally I find it interesting to hear about other writers’ experiences.

I’m sure you have all heard the story many times ‘I’ve always loved to read and so writing developed out of this…’ and (with the risk of sounding very boring!) this is exactly what happened to me too.

As a child I loved to read, my friends knew me as a bookworm and I would spend hours on end with my nose buried in a book.  As a young girl I enjoyed reading The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and anything by Judy Blume, John Marsden and Morris Gleitzman.

In recent years, my inspiration to start writing creatively again came from stumbling across a manila folder of short stories and half-finished children’s novels that I wrote when I was in primary school and in my early teens. I couldn’t help but smile at my earlier works particularly at one of my first short stories, titled ‘
Rhumpus and Stumpus’ which I wrote for a school project on inflation. Here’s a snippet:
“Twice upon a time there were three elves named Rhumpus and Stumpus. Anyway Rhumpus and Stumpus wanted three join a group of elves (bad elves). But Rhumpus and Stumpus didn’t know they were bad.”
And so the story goes on with each numerical word being inflated by one. Not really a life-changing story but it was a great reminder for me of how you can have fun with words.

There was also ‘Jimmy Please Come Home’ a short story with an underlying message for children to shut the yard gate if they have a dog! Then there were stories full of usual childlike fantasies such as being washed away on a desert island with my best friend and no parents.

My best friend Dannii and I used to play grown-ups, and I would pretend I was going off to work as a children’s book writer while she would dress up as a famous actress. I also loved pretending to be a magazine editor and delegate tasks to my younger brother. Of course I got to write all the interesting articles and he got to write jokes and talk about sport. I recall telling my parents I wanted to be a writer but my mum told me you can’t make a living as a writer and I’m sure that stuck with me when I was deciding on a career.

At age 13-14 years I went off to the local newspaper in south-west Sydney for one week of work experience. I was very excited about this opportunity and dressed up in my neat office clothes. But when I got there I was informed that the editor was on leave and they had nothing organized for me :-(. They gave me a bunch of magazines to read and this is how I was introduced to the world of media. It was a very monotonous week.

I think from there I decided I no longer wanted to be a writer because it was boring. I’m sure it was irrational to base a whole career path on one company but as a teenager I had made up my mind! I continued to keep journals and ‘letter books’ with close friends, but I don’t have any other writing keepsakes from my mid-teens. 

So, I graduated from High School and went off to University to study psychology and 7 (very long!) years later I became registered. About four years ago I rekindled my book affair after years of reading textbooks and once again became my usual bookworm self. One day I was reading and I thought… I could do this. I could write something. Then I went in search of my folder of childhood short stories, had a good laugh and decided that this was what made me happy.

From there I started drafting various short stories until I fell into the fantasy genre, and after 3-4 months, A Season Of Transformation was born! From there I spent two years editing, redrafting and honing the story until I was happy with it. I’m not a trained writer so everything I learnt about writing comes from self-directed learning, absorbing the knowledge of other writers and authors and attending short writing workshops. I was lucky to land several freelance writing jobs where I could combine my two loves and specialize in writing articles on health, lifestyle and travel. I continue to do freelance on the side but my love sits with creative writing and as an amateur there is still so much more to learn.

I would love to hear from writers, bloggers, authors, readers…. What are your inspirations? What keeps you motivated have you ever had any setbacks or questioned whether ‘writing’ was worth pursuing?


  1. Like author Jayne Fordham, I use to sit around read anything and everything. I remember reading the Babysitter Club and watching the movies. That brings back memories! My mom also had the same reaction or well, my entire family when I told them I wanted to work toward becoming a published author. They are a little more supportive now but still don't fully understand how much work it takes to write a novel.

    Haha! I use to pretend I had my own news station and would boss my little sister and one of our neighbors around to get me new stories and do paperwork. We use to have a lot of fun! We also use to run around the house pretrnding to be vampires or ghosts lol.

    I have a few keepsakes from growing up but not many. I did get published in my homeschool high school paper. A small poem I wrote. When that happened I got so super excited! I've also been published Suspense Magazine last year and this year but that's the extent of my published accomplishments so far *blush*

    I'm glad you (Jayne Fordman) were able to get back into reading and it inspired you to believe in yourself and return to writing, that's wonderful *smiles*

    I don't think you can exactly be a TRAINED writer. Writing is a constant evolving process. As a writer, you are always growing and changing so therefore so is your writing. It takes dedication and hard work. You have to always be open to learning. And of course, reading is a BIG must!

    I find inspiration really from anything. Definitely from reading novels. Sometimes from music. Sometimes from conversations that I have with my seven year old nephew or nine year old niece. They have some really great ideas sometimes *wink* My motivation as a writer comes from faith in myself and in my work. I believe someone out there will relate to my work and enjoy my stories so I write to connect. Writing is a form of art, I'm just always moved to create and the beauty of the world both inspires me and motivates me. I also have some really good friends who are always supportive and encouraging so that DEFINITELY helps!

    There have been times I've wondered if its worth pursing being apart of the writing industry. Let's face it, the writing world works at a different pace than most and it's hard to break into. Especially if you aren't following whatever the lastest "trend" is but writing is apart of me. I would feel like I'm losing a piece of myself if I stopped writing so I keep going, having faith and working hard. Knowing one day, my dreams will come true *smiles*

    Thanks for the great post to both Cassie and Jayne Fordham! Always fun to hear from an author and how they got started.


  2. Interesting post - and congrats on getting the book out, btw!

    I also write and I went about it the opposite way from you I think - I always knew I needed to earn some money and was unlikely to be able to do that from my writing so I figured I WAS a writer and my dayjob was whatever I was doing at the moment. My measure of success will be when I can go half-time and spend the free bit writing!

    Why write? I write because I can't help it, mostly! It's the same thing as reading though -you still have all the pictures in your head, it's just that no-one else has written it down so you do it yourself! I have great reading binges sometimes but I get a bit twitchy if I go for too long without doing one kind of writing or another; so when I've finished the series or whatever it is I'm reading, I start feeling the need to pick up a pen (er...a keyboard) and set off on my own stuff again.

    It's hard work, and it's a bit dismaying when you publish and find that all that work preparing your book for publishing is only the very first step..... but given that I never expected to be published at all, to hear from readers who have shared and enjoyed my work is such a gift!

    Before publication you read your story and you enjoy it but there's no-one to share it with. Then you publish and all of a sudden you find a reader and another and another and the fact that someone else is sharing the enjoyment of it all makes it twice as amazing.

    Which all sounds terribly melodramatic but I suspect we've all had that moment when we're out on our own and unexpectedly there's a fabulous sunset or something and it's slightly diminished for not being shared; so I hope you all know what I mean by that.

    Hope you are enjoying the whole thing as much as I am, Jayne - and look on the bright side. Rhumpus and Stumpus is rather cool - my sister is in possession of my very early and very melodramatic attempt at romance and if I ever do well as a writer the amounts of extortion-money I'll be paying on that couple of pages alone will keep her in top-quality beer and skittles! Moral of that story - never let a 7-yr-old (or indeed me) write romance!!

    Cassie - an interesting guest, and Jayne, a fascinating post.
    Have a good one, all!

  3. @ Annabell- thank you for your lovely comments. I think you are spot on, it's when you finally believe in yourself as a 'writer' that wonderful things can happen! Your news station antics made me laugh, I guess we all get a feel for what we are good at when we are young :-)

    @ JAC- That's so true, before anyone read my story I was really in my own little bubble. Once I sent out my novel for reviews, my gosh I was so anxious! But I have had some great feedback- positive and constructive and I will take that with me so that I can continue to improve my work and become the best writer I can be!

    Thank you both for sharing your inspirations and set-backs, it's always a nice feeling to know you aren't alone. Good luck on both of your writing journeys and I will certainly stop by your blogs and see what you have been up to.

    Thanks for having me Cassie


  4. @JAC I can't go without writing either! I always feel like something is missing if I go too long without writing something. Plus, my brain is always full of TONS of ideas and connections to different ideas and characters who won't shut up! LOL I have reading binges too. I'll just read books back to back. Well, truthfully, I do that all the time *hehe*

    I think that's the wonderful thing about the art world. However you decide to create it, there is always SOMEONE who will connect to what you are trying to create and say through your work. Writing is such a powerful thing because words truly change people.

    HAHA about your sister! My embaressing writing attempts are only held by me thankfully! But that won't stop my siblings from giving away embaressing stories of me!

    @Jayne Glad to put a smile on your face =) We use to have recordings of me and what I would "report" lol. I don't know if we have them anymore. I do believe somewhere my mom has video of me and my sister and our next door neighbor singing and dancing to the Spice Girls. Oye! Seems I may have to pay extortion money to my mother as well LOL