Scaramouche, the author of A Night Visitor, shares some details as to what its like to be a new author!
Did you always dream of becoming an author?
Strangely enough, story writing was my favourite subject all through school, and I managed to get a few short stories on radio before life took over and my writing went on the back burner, but I always enjoyed telling stories to my children and grandchildren.
What was your first job?
My very first job was being a barker at the local Agricultural and Produce Show. I was put in charge of the stall that had clowns with moving heads, where you put balls in their mouths. I was 12. Unfortunately, the Show only lasted for a weekend. After that, I did what all the local kids did.
I took a summer job picking raspberries and Boysenberries. We were told we had to whistle while we worked so that we didn’t eat too much fruit.
How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
My son and his children had gone over to China, where my son was running an International School. My wife had taken a two-year engagement to teach English as a Second Language in China, while I held the fort back in New Zealand. To keep the family informed as to what was happening back in New Zealand, I started writing emails to my grandchildren about the sometimes strange things that happened on the farm. These emails sort of evolved into short stories, which I ‘road-tested’ on my, then, 9-year-old grandson. A Night Visitor is the first of several tales from the farm.
What was your life like before you became an author?
I was always involved in wordsmithing. Before I retired from paid work, I had a job with the lovely title of “Educational Designer”, which involved working with writers and tutors in tertiary-level correspondence and then online education, making sure that the teaching could be understood by beginner-level students.
However, this work involved factual, rather than fictional, writing.
Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
Once I had written my wee stories and found, rather to my surprise, that they were quite popular, I asked around and found that the world was full of wannabe authors. It was quite difficult trying to get a foot in the door and to realise that a polite rejection simply meant that I was looking at the wrong publisher. I am grateful to pegasus for taking a risk with my writing.
Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
It’s a bit early to say, yet, as I have only been a published author for a very short time, and my first book is a very modest little one.
Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
I live next door to my daughter and son-in-law’s vineyard, and I have become a seasonal vineyard worker, cultivating and pruning vines and picking grapes in season. It is a very serene life – except when a howling gale is blowing the bird-nets off the vines. I also receive daily visits from my two grandchildren, Atticus and Constance, who come over to visit my strawberry patch and to have stories read to them.
What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
I would have to claim a few memorable moments. It is always fun when something happens that has potential to become a story – and this happens quite often in the country – a rabbit visits your kitchen, or your walnuts start mysteriously disappearing. The memorable moment occurs when you realize, “Aha! I know what is going on here!” and a story emerges, fully grown!
In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
In my job as an Educational Designer, I was reasonably aware of what went on in a publishing house, but I must say, I was most impressed with the peer review process that Pegasus uses. I felt confident, once my script was accepted, that I had a saleable product. Like all authors, of course, I would occasionally wonder what was taking so long and whether I could queue-jump, but like all authors, I learnt the virtue of patience.
Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
I am a writer, not a marketer, nor am I particularly adept at the processes and legalisms involved in publishing. So I looked for a reputable publisher who would be able to take my manuscript, wave a very clever magic wand over it, and turn it into a published book, distributed to bookstores. In this, Pegasus has more than exceeded my expectations
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