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?