I never intended to write crime books or thrillers. Personally, I prefer fantasy and science fiction stories. Which might explain why there’s a hint of shamanism and spirits in my Greenland Missing Persons series, and some of the Maratse novellas, and, come to think of it, in Narkotika … and then there’s The Ice Circus, and of course, the new character introduced in North Star Bay has a touch of the shaman about him.
Maybe there’s quite a bit of fantasy in my writing.
However, before Christoffer Petersen there was Chris Paton, i.e. me.
He was supposed to forge a writing career with Steampunk novels. But it just didn’t turn out that way.
When I was done with my degree I was also really done with The Ice Star. I had written the whole book three times, changed so many things due to feedback from critique groups and lecturers – cue reason why I don’t use beta readers – it just wasn’t my book anymore. I chucked it to one side after graduation, and thought I would never pick it up again.
That’s when I wrote the first Steampunk book: Metal Emissary.
I loved it. It was so different, so fresh. I loved it so much I wrote three more books, and they got longer and longer. I bought covers, paid for marketing (can’t remember where), and posted about them all over Social Media. And I sold a whopping total of one book a month, sometimes two.
Unfortunately, it cost more to receive the payment in my bank account (don’t get me started on banks) than the royalties I earned from the book. I think every Steampunk book I have sold has cost me money, and they have not paid for their covers. Sigh.
Undeterred, I wrote more Steampunk books. I mean, it was going to happen? Right? It was just a matter of time.
Then, as I may have mentioned before, I quit my teaching job to go on an adventure. Jane and I joined our friends and their two kids for two months on the Yukon River, paddling from Whitehorse, Canada to Tanana, Alaska, USA. I was following in Jack London’s footsteps!
Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that on my return I launched a revamped version of The Ice Star, made my own cover, and chucked it onto Amazon while I returned to the serious business of finding another teaching job.
At this point I could tell you what happened next, but I’ll save that for later.
What I really want to say is the success of The Ice Star, and the books that followed, combined with a change in author attitude (okay, and genre) have allowed me to come full circle. While I’m not going to stop writing crime books and thrillers, I am carving out time for a side hustle – in other words, writing fantasy, science fiction, and yes, Steampunk!
In my latest newsletter to subscribers I mentioned I was making a shift to my blog, and the reason for that is to write posts like this one which are less crime book oriented, but more me. I don’t “me oriented”, although I’m sure it sounds like that. 🙂 And it is a blog about me, so I guess it is. But what I mean to say is the blog is for anything I want to write, whereas readers who signed up for the newsletter did so for more crime and Greenland stuff.
There will be plenty of that here, but today is about me thinking about how I started, and sharing a free* short story with you.
The Impossible Floret is a cute and perilous(ish) Steampunk story I wrote earlier this year, and it takes me back to the beginning.
*You will need to add an email address to grab the free story. Your email address is used to record the download only. I will not add you to a mailing list.