Hello Romance Lovers. So this is something a little different from me. I wanted to tell you all why I started writing, and to be honest it wasn't a calling that I have always had that began to drive me crazy at night until I put fingers to key board and began to spin a tale or three. Nor was it something I did because I'd been told I could spin a good yarn. Nope, my story is a little more self-serving than that.
I started writing to escape my reality two and a half years ago. So let me do what I've found I have a little talent in, and let me tell you a story.
I am the youngest of three girls, and my father was the hero in my world all my life. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a damn close second, but no one could take the place of my dad. When we were growing up, we always knew that we were loved and that my mum and the three of us were the most important things in the world to dad.
We didn't have a lot, but then we didn't really need a lot. We lived in rural New Zealand, as picturesque as anything you might have seen on screen as Middle Earth or in magazines, and the best times I can remember from my childhood was when the five of us were together. This sense of family comes first and ensuring we get the quality time we deserve is an ethos I live by today with my own two kids.
I moved away, as we all do at some stage, and began to learn who I was as an individual. I was lucky to have a supportive family who challenged me and pushed me to be whoever I wanted to be and that support saw me heading off shore and seeing the world. I worked in a role for almost ten years that allowed me to travel the world, talking to people about New Zealand and tell a tale or two. Nothing like the stories I write now, but it highlighted my love of meeting people and talking. Which to be honest has led to a fairly successful day job career outside of my writing.
I was living in the North Island, when it came. The call that made all of that seem pointless. My dad called me on September 15, 2009 to tell me he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Cue world stopping and tilting on it's axis, dropping Maia on her abundant ass. My son was less than a year old, both my hubby and I were working high level jobs with a mortgage and plans that included moving for work to the states, and all I wanted to do was go home.
We changed our lives in that moment, and the plan became get back home as soon as we can. Permanently. Now, I am sure you can all appreciate, this is not something that can happen over night, but if you are determined enough, you can make it happen. And we did eight months later. Packing up our lives in the North Island and moving to the South Island. New jobs, new lives, and living in a large house with my parents and my oldest sister so my parents could see and spend as much time as possible with our son.
I will always be thankful to my gorgeous hubby who supported this move. It takes a strong man to want to move his life, change his career and move in with his in-laws am I right?! We eventually moved into a larger home, and we welcomed our daughter into the fold in 2011. She quickly became the apple of my dad's eye and could do no wrong as far as he was concerned.
Everything was moving along nicely. Then we got the news that dad's cancer was back. In two places, one of which was bone cancer, and he had it all through his shoulders, his back and his hips. Not something easily fixed.
He fought it though. Hard. He lived with it for another two years and all of us, my mum, my sisters, my kids, my hubby and my brother-in-law were all there for every day and every struggle. I had to be strong for my kids. I had to be strong for my mum. But I had to find a way to recharge and find a balance within myself to do that. I found that in reading. I consumed books, and started reading menage and LGBT romances and fell in love with those genre.
On a flight to the US for work one evening, I was struck with the inspiration for Grey River, and I started writing Lost Faith. When I returned home, writing became my haven, the place I could retreat to, to forget the horrors of watching my hero waste away to a disease I couldn't fight for him.
When my hubby suggested I submitted it for publishing I thought he was crazy! Then, because he knows me better than anyone else on earth, he dared me not to. I submitted it to Siren the next day. When I got the acceptance letter, I nearly swooned. And I am not a swooner, of that I can assure you, but damn near did that day!
And that's where we all were, by his bedside two weeks later when dad slipped away from us and into the arms of his ancestors. Then writing became my way to cope with his loss. Something a daughter knows she will have to face at some point, but never truly acknowledges it until faced with that cold reality. Even now, two years, three months, seven days after his passing, I expect to see him when I get home, get a call from him during the day asking me to pick something up on my way home, and to hug and kiss him goodnight before I go to sleep.
I told my dad about my writing before he passed. I know he was proud of me no matter what my choices in life might have been. But I was thankful that I was able to show him that part of my life that has now come to mean a lot to me, and something I do for fun and because I have a passion to tell these stories that hopefully people get some enjoyment out of. I have met some fantastic people and been awed by their creativity, their strength of purpose and their ability to embrace a stranger on the other side of the world from them.
Writing is no longer my escape. Although, I do get very much involved in the worlds that I create and the scenes I enjoy in the books I still consume like crazy. Writing is something I do now for me. And for my readers. And because it keeps me grounded and sane in a world that sometimes seems more weighted towards the insane.
So, Romance Lovers, if you've ever wondered why I started writing... now you know. And I will sign off my first non-promotional blog by saying this. Find something that you can be passionate about, and give yourself permission to do it. No one can do that for you, and the rewards can be huge.
Hugs and be kind to one another, because life's too damn short not to be.