I began writing Fuzzy Jones and the Great Pumpkin Deliverance about 15 years ago. I cannot recall what inspired me to write it, although JK Rowling's stunning success with her Harry Potter books, seems likely to have been a contributing factor. I know I had been writing some short stories and wanted something a little more substantial to work on, but why a 10 year old mad scientist? I could not say.
Regardless, I started work on the book and was about half way through it when I lost the file in a hard drive failure. This was a crushing blow, and all I was able to recover was an old file with the first four chapters. I backed it up and left it on my office server for almost 10 years before visiting it again.
Over the years I have been a keen scrabble player and very occasional member of our local scrabble club, which was lucky enough to have among its members, noted and now, unfortunately, deceased Canadian author, Bill Kinsella. Bill played a mean game of scrabble but was equally mean with the spoken word, so I cannot say I ever really knew him well. However, and I am slowly getting to the point here, I did discover that he was represented by local literary agent, Carolyn Swayze.
So it was, that in January of 2010, I dredged it up Fuzzy Jones again and decided to send it to Carolyn in the hopes that she might find it worthy of representation. The response I received was encouraging but, naturally, she wanted to see the whole manuscript before making a decision. When one has an ego the size of mine, finding enormous praise in a few lukewarm words of encouragement is not hard. I was inspired and determined to finish the book.
After six months of hard graft, I had a finished manuscript. With great expectations I submitted the work to Carolyn expecting a quick and gushing response, followed by immediate publication with a major international publisher. Best seller status, a few literary prizes, a movie deal, and an appearance on Oprah would surely follow.
A month later, I had not heard anything and followed up. I received a polite but deflating response and, once again, completely destroyed, abandoned the project. No try, try, and try again for me, no sir! if at first you don't succeed...start blubbing. That's my motto. Apparently, rejection is something I do not deal with particularly well.
So, fast forward another six years (I REALLY have to do something about my ego), and once again, the urge to write is upon me again. My mother takes the credit this time, having just self-published a collection of her, really quite excellent, poetry. Self publishing! Eureka! No rejections, no pesky editors, just me and Fuzzy embarking on an epic adventure together...as it should be.
Realizing that my book needed a great cover, I began researching illustrators online and quickly discovered the wonderful Alicia Young. A few emails, a phone call, and a deal was struck. Within a week, I had a cover more beautiful than I could have imagined and 24 hours later my ebook was available for sale on Amazon. A few days later, I received a printed proof of the paperback version at a cost of less than $5.00. In my real life I run an e-commerce business that sells custom labels. I know what is involved in these things and I still cannot believe there is a machine that can print single copies of 300 page books, in the USA, for under $5.00 each. Incredible! Bucket list - Item One: See miracle book printing machine.
And so here we are. My e-book is available for sale on Amazon and the printed version will be available any day now. The wonderful Amber Short is going to sell my book at The Book Man in Chilliwack (the most fantastic used book store in the World by the way), and I have a website. I am, officially, an author. I have no idea how this will end but I think it will be fun.