RWDU Author Signing

RWDU 2016 logo
RWDU 2016 logo

 

On the 4th of March, I’ll be at my first Author Signing.

I am sooo excited…and nervous.

I’m excited that I’ll get to meet so many new people, and people I’ve known on social media for years, but have never met. I’m excited that I’ll be able to talk to people about my books, their books and writing in general for an entire weekend. I’m excited about meeting readers who’ve contacted me to say that because I’m there, they will be too. Just to see me, say ‘hi’ and purchase signed paperback copies of my books.

I’m nervous because I don’t know if I’ve prepared well enough. Will I forget something vital – like a pen? Or someone’s pre-order? Will I sit there the entire day without a single visitor? Well, I know I’ll have at least four visitors, but more than that?

During the weekend, I even have the opportunity to pitch to an Agent. So, while that is exciting and an amazing opportunity – it serves to make me more nervous. Will I be prepared for the pitch?

I leave this weekend on the road trip down to the Gold Coast for Readers Writers Down Under (RWDU). (So no post next week.) I’ll keep notes about the weekend and let you know after how it all went…and if I forgot anything. 😀

I went last year, as a reader, just to check out what RWDU was all about. If you’d like to read about my experience of that, you can – HERE.

See you on the other side of RWDU.

Baking…and other burnt offerings

 

Photo: Cakepops by Chris Martin (CC BY 2.0)
Photo: Cakepops by Chris Martin (CC BY 2.0)

 

I am talented in many areas…but cooking is not one of them.

I grew up basically with meat and three veg, had a sister who like to experiment, and a brother who became a chief. I never needed to enter the kitchen.

So when I first moved out of home it was quite a learning curve. Even after this many years being married, the kitchen always gets the best of me. My brother jokes that I could burn water. I just can’t seem to get the order correct. I end up with cold steak and hard potatoes. Although, for some reason I can make fantastic gravy.

As for my other offerings, let’s just say I know my husband loves me, because he ate burnt dinners for about a year, before he decided it was best if he took over the cooking. Over time, I’ve learnt how to make about a handful of staple meals, and when that rare moment comes around when it is my turn to cook, you can bet it’ll be one of about seven meals.

So, you can understand the way I felt about baking. No way. Not a chance. Not on your life. I did try it early on in my life, and ended up with a cake that could be used to pave the driveway. Then…one day I was waiting in the library and saw a book on cake-pops. The thing which caught my attention was the line

 

It doesn’t matter what your cake looks like when it comes out of the oven, you could even use a microwaved made cake, because you’re going to crumble it anyway.

 

I borrowed the book.

My first few attempts were, unsurprisingly enough, disasters. I’d never worked with chocolate in my life. That stuff burns easily, and goes absolutely disgusting if it mixes with water. But, when I made my first successful batch…they turned out amazing. So much so, that people ask when I’m going to make the next batch.

I even made some for my brother’s wedding. (The chief!) I made them gluten free, and his comment was, “Not bad. Like all gluten free it’s a bit bland, but add some flavouring to the vanilla cake next time.”
Now, that may not sound like much, but from him – regarding cooking – that’s pretty high praise. He suggested that ‘next time’ was a viable option.

From there, I gained the courage to experiment further. Now I can make cake-pops, cupcakes, one-layer cakes, snickerdoodles, and jelly (jello?) from scratch (not packet mix). Jelly making is my favourite thing. I love to experiment with flavours, and I’ve never had one not turn out well. Two of my most asked for is the Lemon, Lime and Bitters one, and the apricot and coconut one.

My husband and I have a deal. He makes dinner. I make dessert.

For some reason ‘baking’ is easier for me. It’s one item followed through to the end. Not half a dozen things on the go at once. I can handle multi-taking in the office, but in the kitchen…I need to keep it very, very simple.

I used to feel like a failure because I couldn’t cook. Now I look at it like this. A person cannot be good at everything. Be good at what you are good at. Enjoy it and have fun. For everything else, there will be other people.

There is truth in the saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I can write a book, but I can’t build a website, or do graphic design, or make merchandise/swag. And it is such a relief to know that I don’t have to know everything. I just have to find someone else who does know what I don’t.

Write What You Know.

Writing on notepad
Photo: Business of Software by Betsy Weber. CC BY 2.0

I was asked if I agree with the old adage ‘write what you know’. I grew up hearing that. It is what was taught through my high school years. It makes sense doesn’t it?
Write what you know.

As I reflected upon it though, I realised that in its purest and most logical form – I don’t agree with it at all. If I only wrote what I knew, then I’d be in very limited supply for story ideas.
I’ve never met a man cursed behind a mirror. (Shattered)
I’ve never lived the life of a Nephilim. (Nova)
Yet I’ve written about these things. Surely that is not writing what I know. I’m not writing things that I’ve experienced, at least not plot wise.

Taken as an elemental truth, then yes I agree with it.
I do know what it’s like to have the drive to help another in their cause, and resort to using skills in areas that bore me to tears, in doing it. (Shattered)
I do know what it’s like to go through a major change in life, thinking I was all alone through it, and finding out in hindsight that I was never alone, after all. (Nova)

I’ve met people and been in situations that tested me and changed me. It may not be the same arc my characters go through, but the experience behind it pulls it through. It’s kind of like acting I suppose. You may have never been in that situation before (don’t tell me Matt Damon has ever been an assassin) but in defining the character in a relatable way, doing research, talking to people who’ve ‘been there’ or ‘been close to there’, and bringing your own unique personality and ‘voice’ you tell the story. You bring to it ‘what you know’.

And ‘what you know’ is always changing. At thirty, you know things you didn’t know in high school and I’m not just talking about exam-passing knowledge either. Even though, along the way you do pick up a heck of a lot more ‘head knowledge’ too. At forty, you’ve gained more life experience and faced different challenges than your thirty-year-old self. And so on up the line of decades.

So in essence, I do agree with the old ‘write what you know’ adage, but not in its most logical and literal translation. It means that I can write a story about someone being in the Army even though I’ve never been there. Research, interviews, and listening to the life stories of others, mixed with the emotional and reactional experience of my own life and situation (what I know) can make for a great story.

So who knows, what I will know for the next book…you know?