8

About me

Photo of Christopher Shevlin
Cover of King Moonfred

Well, let me admit that I'm finding this page harder to write than any book. I'd really like to tell you something honest about myself and my writing, in a single page, without boring you with my life story, or going the other way and getting terse and impersonal.

It's taking ages.

So, what I'm going to do is this: I'll cut out the difficult bit in the middle where I explain how I've had lots of literary agents but couldn't get a publisher, so ended up self-publishing (by which I mean, putting the first book on Amazon and posting an apologetic message on Facebook). But I'll keep the short bit about my childhood and the other bit about how I keep getting taken by surprise when people buy and like my books in reasonably large numbers.

And then I'll come back to it another day, and see if I can make it better.

LET'S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING

I wrote my first book at the age of six. It was a moving evocation of mediaeval life called King Moonfred and His Knights (and Other Stories).

At that time I still wanted to be a cowboy, but by the time I was ten I had decided that being an author was the closest feasible alternative. That was when Miss Maynard – one of those kind teachers who does so much to help odd children survive – told me I should be an author. She’d got so caught up in one of my stories that she completely forgot to correct all the spelling mistakes.

I was also pushed in that direction by my childhood perception that all adult jobs were boring, incomprehensible or completely beyond me – a judgement which I’ve subsequently found to be totally accurate.

AND THEN SUDDENLY SKIP TO THE END

I’ve always been prepared to take no for an answer, even when it isn’t the answer. The result is that for each of my first two novels, I resigned myself to failure early on, sadly packing my writing dreams away and moving on to something more sensible. And then, both times, was blindsided when they started selling well months later. Twice I’ve been through the pleasant but time-consuming business of un-resigning myself to failure.

I also punctuated the gaps between each book by having a large depressive breakdown, moving to a different country and taking on a big freelance contract. This, I have learned, is not the way to become a prolific novelist. 

The release of my third book has bucked the trend, doing well from the start. Instead of assuming this is a short-lived aberration and waiting for it to fail, I’ve decided to start writing a new book immediately. In fact, I'm writing two books. I don’t know whether this is wise, but I’m giving it a go.

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