This guest post is part of the Turning Points blog series here on distraction no. 99—in which I asked authors the question: What was your turning point as a writer? Here is Laura Lam, debut author of Pantomime and one of my Anticipated Debuts for February 2013, sharing hers…
Guest post by Laura Lam
The turning point for me, the “someday,” was my first job after university, when I realized that writing was really what I wanted to do and so there was really no point in putting it off any longer out of fear.
At the time, I was an admin assistant, and that consisted of about 80% filing and photocopying and 20% covering reception. I was bored. I listened to audiobooks or music as I worked, which helped, but I kept dreaming of writing.
I had a character and a world and I’d started a book starring someone called Micah Grey, but I kept getting stuck on it. So I thought I would write a short story about my character as a teenager joining the circus. I thought it’d be a fun little thing that I wrote just for me and it’d help me write the other book.
I remember writing the first page of it during my lunch break at that job. And by the end of that chapter, I had found that character’s voice.
As I wrote, I thought maybe it’d be a long short story. And then I thought: maybe a novelette. And then: a novella? And then I stopped fighting it: yes, this story about a girl trapped in the eschelons of society and this boy joining R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic was going to be a novel.
I left that boring job after three months because it wasn’t for me. For months, I temped at other admin jobs, and then I worked at the library, and now I work in corporate librarianship, which suits me fine. But throughout these various day jobs, I kept writing. The fire that had started as I my fingers filed and my mind daydreamed was still there.
Sometimes I wrote the book with the adult Micah Grey, and sometimes the teen one. But the one with the younger Micah Grey was the one I finished, the one I submitted, the one that got me the agent, and the book deal, and the cover, and now it’s the one out on the shelves.
So thank you, boring admin assistant job. You got me started.
Laura’s debut novel, Pantomime, was just published this month by Strange Chemistry!
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.
Visit her at www.lauralam.co.uk to find out more.