Monthly Archives: December 2016

Eighteen To One

Honestly, I can’t remember a time where reading and writing weren’t part of my life.

I’ve written many short stories in my time, but my two proudest writing achievements are the novels I’ve completed. The first one I began writing at about sixteen. In the end, I wasn’t pleased with the final product and decided to table it, but I still acknowledge the amount of dedication it took to complete a novel at such a young age. Completely hand-written to boot!

Back in May 2009, I was struck with another idea that refused to stay silent. Over the following few years, I poured everything I could into creating a story I would be proud of. And in August 2013, two days before my birthday, I finished the first draft of Eighteen Lives. After the vital help of editors and friends, the manuscript was molded into something I felt was worthy of publication.

Query letters to agents were sent right away. Unfortunately, they didn’t share my enthusiasm and passion for the project. Brushing myself off, I once again tucked myself away into the editing cave, toiling away at the manuscript.

This was when I met EJ Runyon. We’d meet once or twice a week for writing consultations, during which she taught me many invaluable lessons about writing that ended up completely transforming Eighteen Lives.

Following up a comment from EJ, I perused the Inspired Quill website, and found a publisher with integrity – who treated their writers with respect and didn’t put profits before people. I’m so glad that I decided to submit my manuscript. I’ll never forget the moment that the acceptance email popped into my inbox for as long as I live.

So now, here I am, introducing myself to all of you. It’s so surreal to be doing this. There were days where I thought I’d never see my lifelong dream of becoming a published author come true. But I pressed on undeterred anyway. Because I had/have this unshakable feeling that Eighteen Lives is a story that the world will love to hear, even if I didn’t always believe I would be the best one to tell it.

But now, with the help of Inspired Quill, and all of you reading this, I think Eighteen Lives will become something very special. And I can’t thank everyone that believed in me enough for that.

What It Means To Me

I readily admit to not having the greatest memory in the world. I will forget what I said ten minutes ago. I won’t remember what I had for lunch three hours prior.

I have to begin with this disclaimer, because the following memory has stayed with me my whole life.

When I was in reception class (Kindergarten, for those outside the UK), my teacher Mrs Alton showed us how to fold an A4 sheet of paper into a little book. The task for the day was to fill this wee booklet with a short story.

I don’t remember if I’d demonstrated any love for writing before this, but I’d always loved books. I wrote my little four-year-old heart out. Thus was born The Dancing Tree, a weirdly grim fairy tale (heh) about a magical tree that lay deep in a forest. Every night, the tree would lift its roots and wave its branches, and dance under the stars. One night, the animals and birds of the forest joined in with its dancing, and the tree, feeling unimportant and unnecessary, vowed to never dance again.

The. End.

I had a happy and safe childhood, there was absolutely no reason for such a dark and bitter ending. Was it a lament for the loss of fairy tales? Or was it just that a four-year-old has no idea how to end such a story on three small pages when her drawings take up most of the space?

Either way, my love of writing, fairy tales, folklore, and magic was born that drizzly afternoon. Thank you, Mrs Alton, for suggesting I should consider becoming an author.

If I could go back in time and tell my four-year-old self that when she grows up, she will hold a copy of her very first (of many, hopefully) published novel in her shaking hands, she’d… probably wander off to play with Molly the Dolly.

(I’ve just been informed I was actually more interested in books than toys at that age. Go figure.)

But skip to about ten years later, and tell my fifteen-year-old self the same thing, and she’d either laugh or cry. Maybe both. I’d never experienced true love until I opened that first box of books and looked at that shining cover, emblazoned with a white stag, and the gleaming title, The Old Ways. I was engulfed with pride. I could barely breathe, let alone speak.

My first book signing was no better; I was shaking so badly, I could hardly hold the Sharpie. Nothing could have prepared me for how it feels to have a dream come to fruition. Of course, I got a little more confident as time went on, even had the courage to tell a potential reader, no, I am not from a cult, I just appreciate and respect the ancient legends of Britain. But thank you for your interest, and I like your hat too.

The support from my friends and family has been overwhelming. I never imagined how it would feel to have people say, although they don’t read much, or don’t particularly read fantasy, how much they loved it, how they couldn’t put it down, and how angry they were with me for killing off their favourite character. (Consider this my public apology! Things don’t improve in the sequels, I’m sorry.)

Things have gone by so fast, it’s now one year since the release of The Old Ways. Work on the sequel, Age of Magic, is steadily trundling along, with the storyline for the third one (gasp!) neatly laid out. One year of promotions, interviews, signings, newspaper articles, radio shows, and the high still hasn’t worn off.

But, and I will admit this now, I was young and foolish enough to think copies would fly off the shelves, and I would be on my way to Hollywood by now as Creative Consultant, and Tom Hiddleston would be flying in to play Erlik, and Peter Jackson would be praised for staying so close to the source material…

That, obviously, is not happening. Not yet, anyway.

But fame and fortune was never my goal. My dream for nearly twenty years was to see someone with a copy of my book in their hands. Now, my new dream is to see that same person with a copy of the sequel.

The Gateway is open. He walks free.

Blessed be,

RK Summers )O(

P.S. You can find more information about The Old Ways right here on the IQ site.