I don't know about you, but I am always eager to learn about another writer's process. What inspires them. What they find interesting. Legal pad or straight to the computer. And so, I've reached out to writer-friends across the galaxy and they will be sharing their writing lives with you and me.
Let's welcome Steve Emmett, the author of Diavolino.
What is this novel about, you ask? The chance to build a dream home on a private island in Italy’s most beautiful lake offers architect Tom Lupton the fresh start he’s been yearning for. But when he arrives with his family on Diavolino, he finds the terrified locals dead set against his arrival. The island, whose very existence has been shrouded in secrecy for half a millennium, has a dark history that no one cares to remember, and as their opposition to Tom grows, so grows a brooding evil that will lead them to the very doors of hell…
To reach the age of fifty as the world implodes is not the greatest thing that can happen to anyone, yet that is precisely what started me off on my writing career. We had just celebrated my half-century at the charming Chateau de Camon near Carcassonne in south-west France and were driving eastwards towards Italy where we were living at the time. I turned on the car radio to hear that Lehman Brothers had collapsed. Prone to drama from an early age, I turned to my partner and said, “It’s the beginning of the end of life as we know it.” And it was.
I’d been in the real estate business for over twenty-years - the luxury second home market - and I knew that we were in for a rough time. We relied heavily on the UK and US markets and, as I expected, those buyers simply disappeared overnight. As it happened, I had grown tired of what I was doing. I was bored and derived no intellectual satisfaction from it. So I made the decision then to change. I’d fancied being a writer for a while and thought I’d try.
I have always believed in getting good advice when venturing into new territory, so I signed up for a novel writing course which I thoroughly enjoyed and completed in super-fast time. At the end of it I was about a third of the way through my novel. Over the coming months, as one life disintegrated another began to take shape. At times I thought I would never finish writing the novel but I pressed on. Rewriting, polishing, studying critiques from trusted readers. Eventually, I sent out a few queries and received the rejections back promptly.
Around this time we returned to England and I had to take a break from writing just to get organised. It was so hard to get back into the novel after weeks of doing mundane tasks. Fortunately, my partner pushed me. Approaching it with refreshed eyes I spotted what were, for me, weaknesses and set about a rewrite. God, it seemed endless!
The next round of submissions brought rejections. I could so easily have given up but I just had a feeling that I would find a publisher in time. I really believed in my novel. Another round of polishing until I could find nothing else to do with it. I sent out six queries and said, “If one of these doesn’t come in then I’ll have to put this novel aside and move on.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Diavolino, my supernatural thriller set in Italy, is published by Etopia Press. I’m now writing the sequel and it’s developing so well I may produce a trilogy. So, as I keep saying to aspiring authors - don’t give up.
Thanks for sharing, Steve!
Please stop by Steve Emmett's blog. There, you will find more essays on writing, as well as gorgeous pictures of Italy (and you will shake your fists at the rainy sky and the traffic and the noise).