I started dabbling in writing in my early twenties in some counsellor’s office in the States as per his suggestion. I suspect he thought it would be an outlet for me, an alternative to having to hear me rant and rave with a million F-bombs. He was my only audience and from those sessions came my first novel, The Assassin’s Keeper. That novel remains unfinished and collects dust in a drawer. I consider it practice.
A few years later, while hitchhiking across the Southern states of America on the back of a motorcycle, I decided to start Freedom’s Child. It was more of a side fling then, something I’d spend a few minutes on here and there as a distraction from trying to fix The Assassin’s Keeper. Both books came with me when I moved to Ireland three years ago. Soon after, The Assassin’s Keeper was nominated for the Debut Dagger award by the Crime Writers Association in London. But by then, my passion for it had faded and I’d fallen in love with Freedom.
I spent months watching the cursor on a blank page, the little black line blinking at the top of my very last chapter of Freedom’s Child. It was taunting me, really. I didn’t want to end the book, didn’t want to separate from my main character Freedom Oliver. I thought I could let things drag on forever, like holding someone close before you have to wave them off for a long journey. I just didn’t know how long this journey would be…
I knew exactly what I was doing with the last chapter, had every word in my head. When I did decide to rip the bandaid off and just get it over with, I wrote it as fast as I could and sent it off to a consulting agent in Ireland before I could change my mind. I was sitting at my sister’s desk while visiting her home in New York where we’re from when I wrote the words ‘The End’ and hit the ‘Send’ button within the same second. I figured I’d get rejection letters from various agents and publishers in the following months and even that day started working on brand new material.
When the lead agent of WME London e-mailed me the next day (I remember the word ‘obsessed’ in caplocks), I literally got sick with excitement. The day after, he sold it to Harper Collins UK. A few days later, Random House in the US. A year later, I’m still not sure if it’s really hit me. It feels like a dream-sequence from someone else’s life, one where bouts of binge writing are punctuated by copious amounts of tea-drinking.
Today, I am working on my next novel, scheduled for publication in 2016 and I’ve already got the idea in my head for the one after that. I guess I really can call myself a writer now…
Blog by Jax Miller
Look out for Freedom’s Child