LGBT+,  The Flight Series,  Writing

Flight SQA016 and the journey into publishing by A.E. Radley

One of the questions I hear from people most frequently is; how did you get into writing? Or, the alternative; did you always want to be an author?

The answer to the second question is… no. I never wanted to be an author.

It feels weird to say that now that I am a full-time author and love my relatively new day job of being an independent writer. But I never had an aspirations to be an author. I’ve always worked in the business world, either in corporate finance, marketing, or running my own business. At the time of writing and editing Flight SQA016 I was the owner and managing director of a London-based digital marketing agency as well as a non-executive director of other businesses and very nearly said no to the whole idea of publishing.

But that’s the middle of the story. Let’s go back to the beginning.

I’ve been reading fan fiction for many years. For those who don’t know what fan fiction is, it’s basically where fans write about existing characters from books, movies, or TV series. Its popularity has boomed in recent years and there are literally hundreds of thousands of fan fiction stories available out there. The main draw of fan fiction is that anyone can post anything they like. So, if you’ve been watching a crime series and you really think there’s some amazing sexual tension between two of the characters… you can write a story about it. And the best part about it is that you usually find out that you are not alone. I remember scrolling through fan fiction platforms in the early days and being pleasantly surprised to find that other people were seeing the same things I’d been seeing.

Friends had told me for years that I needed to watch a American TV show called Once Upon A Time but funnily enough… I never had the time. Then one day my wife and I sat down and watched it and we immediately saw what people were talking about. Two of the female characters had incredible chemistry. I’d written some fan fiction before, and been involved in fandoms, so I decided to write something for the show.

The wonderful thing about fan fiction is that there are no rules. You can publish however much you like, whenever you like. At the time, I had a relatively long commute into my offices in London and decided to spend that train journey writing and publishing chapters of fan fiction. I didn’t worry about editing, or even proofreading, I just hammered out a chapter and then published it when my train crawled to somewhere with reasonable connectivity. I had a Facebook account dedicated to my fandom persona in order to speak with other fans and join groups. One day I received a Facebook message from someone who said they wanted to professionally publish my fan fiction Flight SQA016. I initially thought it was a scam but after some research realised it was a genuine message from the owner of a lesbian fiction publishing company.

My first thought was… nah. I had no interest in publishing. No interest in being an author. And I was busy, very busy. Did I even have time to edit this messy beast I’d been writing on the train? I didn’t know. More to the point, the story wasn’t even finished. I was around two thirds of the way through Flight SQA016 when the publisher got in touch. Now I had the pressure of finishing it knowing it would be a professionally published book which people were going to pay money for.

I chatted with my wife about it and she went through the potential pros and cons and then left the decision with me. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have a chat with the publisher and see what they said.

A few emails and phone calls took place and I surprised myself by saying yes.

And so I took the leap from writing to kill time on a train journey to publishing books professionally. No one was more surprised than me.

It’s been over two and a half years since Flight was released to the world and since then I have published another eight novels, seven of those in the last seventeen months when I really started to treat writing as my job rather than a hobby. As of today, I’m a full-time, independent author. I treat my writing as a business and I enjoy every day of it. It’s a strange feeling for someone who never wanted to be an author, but it goes to show that you never know where life will lead you.


This post is part of the WLW Author Blog Hop Series entitled Writing my first novel each blog post will link to another author so you can discover more about how they wrote their first novel.

Brey Willows didn’t mean to do it. But then she did, and now it’s done. But not over. Yet. Brey Willows is a fantasy and sci-fi author living in the Midlands with her wife. They have no pets, travel constantly, and she lives for the next cup of coffee. Click here to hop to Brey Willows blog.

Also

No one was more surprised when Survival Instincts was widely embraced by the lesfic-reading community than author May Dawney herself. Find out how the novel came to be and why Lynn and Dani didn’t end up on a sailing boat, like they did in the first draft. May Dawney writes genre fiction with kick-ass female protagonists who just so happen to like women. Click here to hop to May Dawney’s blog.

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