I’m, Rebecca Howie, a nineteen-year-old from Scotland, and I’ve been writing for fun since I was about seven or eight.
Reading and writing have always been important to me, so it made sense that when the restaurant I worked in closed I turned to writing, and I self-published my first book in February last year.
When and why did you start writing?
I started writing for fun after a friend’s birthday party and we were all given notepads in our giftbags, but I never saw it as being more than a hobby because nobody else wanted to be a writer. Dentists and doctors and vets and astronauts were the careers everybody wanted, although that didn’t stop me from spending hours at my computer or filling countless pieces of paper with ideas I thought of at one in the morning.
By the time I lost my job two years ago, self-publishing was a popular alternative to trying to find a publishing house, so I did some research into it and when I finished a story I’d been working on, I decided to just go for it.
What inspires your writing?
It can be anything from an overheard conversation when I’m at the shops or out with friends, or by asking myself ‘what if’, or I just let my imagination run wild.
What has been your worst moment as a writer?
Getting a bad review from a beta reader. It was the first bad one I’d had and made me wonder if the others had been lying to me about what they thought, and kept me away from my laptop for a few weeks until I remembered the reviews I’d been given when I’d written fanfiction and pointed out that not all of those people would have been nice to spare my feelings.
Do you have any writing rituals to get you in the mood for writing?
I’ve started trying to imagine the scenes I’m going to write before I go anywhere near my laptop because it saves me from staring at a blinking cursor for hours, and can sometimes help me get over the parts I’m stuck at.
If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself as a writer starting out?
To be patient, and stop thinking I’d be a failure if I didn’t write the manuscript in record time.
What do you believe makes for great writing?
Passion for the story you’re telling, because if you don’t like it, it’s going to be obvious to your readers.
How do you measure success as a writer?
I would have said number of books sold if The Game Begins hadn’t reached 16th in its category on Amazon, or 1st when I put it on sale, because those achievements mean more to me than sales figures.
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
Describe your latest book to our readers
It’s set after Sam comes home, and shows her struggling to adjust to the changes in her life as she works with Detective Marshall and his CID team on the murder investigation of a therapist.
I knew when I finished the last book that I couldn’t just leave the story there, but it’s taken me far longer than I thought it would to decide on where it will start and what’s going to happen in it, so when I’ve finished, I’m hiding my laptop for a month.
What would you like readers to take away from your writing?
That whatever hell they’re going through, they’re not alone.
The Game Begins was a refuge for me when things were hard, and I had to edit the first draft and change so much of it because it was obvious I hadn’t been in a good place when I was writing it, and it was heavier than I wanted it to be. The main points of the story are still the same because I decided to keep them in since I never got the chance to talk about the things I was going through and I hate the thought of that happening to somebody else.
Being a teenager is hard enough.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write first, edit later. Seriously. You won’t get beyond the first paragraph if you try to make the first draft perfect.
What’s next for you?
Finished the sequel and moving on to something else. Or maybe taking a holiday. I don’t know yet, but I need a break.
It’s been four years since the car crash took away her father and Sam Beckett’s nightmares are back with a vengeance.
When her friend suggests she take a PI course to distract herself, Sam agrees, but she soon realises it won’t be as simple as she expected when her first case leads to a woman being killed, her husband accused of her murder, and a series of threatening text messages sent to her phone which lead Sam to believe that her father’s crash might not be the accident everyone thought it was.