It’s exactly seven years ago today that my first ever short story was published, by an online magazine. The tax bill wasn’t an issue, as I was paid the princely sum of $3. But still, it was my first ever earnings from writing, and felt like a watershed. If I have known then that it would take nearly seven years to become a contracted published novelist, I wonder how I would have felt?
At that time I was more interested in developing my craft as a short story writer. 2013 had been a tough year. We moved from London to Somerset, which meant a considerable pause in my academic career; I had major surgery; and my mother had a car accident which ultimately proved to be fatal. Looking back, I think I took up writing fiction as an escape from difficult times. I even signed up for a course, A215 module in Creative Writing, with the Open University. The OU had been my learning home for twenty years by then, albeit in psychology and education rather than writing. So it felt like a comfort destination.
I blame the OU, and my tutor, the fabulous and talented novelist, Jane Elmor, for what happened next. I dived into a rabbit hole from which there was no escape. I wrote a historical short story, The Bath Curse, based on an artefact I found in the Museum of Somerset. That story gained a good mark as my final OU assignment, and I thought I’d forget all about it. I carried on writing short fiction.
But after a while the story niggled at me. Eventually my editor said, why not develop it into a novel? But get rid of these characters, and replace them with these older ones. Your heart clearly lies with them.
And the rest is literally history. Out of the ashes of The Bath Curse arose my RomanoBritish murder mystery The Governor’s Man, with two more mystery books to come. My heart has been stolen by a troubled Roman military detective, his truculent British sidekick, and his resentful former lover. That’s actually quite lot of trouble for anyone.
[To follow in the footsteps of Quintus, Tiro and Julia, go to my new YouTube channel, The Governor’s Man by Jacquie Rogers. We’ve travelled the West Country by motorbike to produce a series of very short videos, filmed in most of the locations featured in the book. The idea is to give my readers a bit of insight into the background history of the story. The channel goes live at 9pm UK time, 2nd July, with episodes streaming every week thereafter. They’re very short, but I hope will flesh out the journey of the Governor’s Man.]
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