MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY
By Paula R C Readman
It is a pleasure to welcome Paula R C Readman of For Writer's Only Clubhouse fame to the Writer's Journey Blog this week. Thanks for being with us Paula!
Hello Elaine and thank you for this opportunity to write about my publishing journey. It is a journey of self-improvement as I left school with no qualifications because of dyslexia. It made certain aspects of writing and reading difficult for me. After being diagnosed in my junior school when I moved up into a new senior school my lack of understanding and difficulties was seen as slow of learning. This was very frustrating for me, as I couldn’t put into words what I want to say when doing my schoolwork. It held me back. On leaving school, I worked mainly low-paying jobs because I was embarrassed to let people know of my difficulties.
I’ve always been in awe of third-world countries where citizens against all odds educate themselves from books. The Victorians were big on self-education and invested in building free-libraries to give the poor access to books. To them, it was the key for the poor to escape poverty. My mother was uneducated, though my father instilled in me my love of reading and books. Once he had finished a book, he would share it with me. His choice of books influenced my teenage years as I read mainly sci-fi and crime.
At sixteen when I started work I began buying my own books and started reading romance, mainly Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart as I enjoyed the mixture of mystery and romance.
As a small child, I saw books as magical and beyond my reach as my earliest experience in a library wasn’t a good one. In the village where I grew up, a new library had opened. My mother took me in and allowed me to select a few books to take home. A lady came over to ask if she could help, and asked my mother if she had a ticket.
Mum said, ‘no’. The lady explained that she needed to fill in a form. Mum snatched the books from me and dragged me out as she couldn’t fill in the form, something she dreaded doing all her life. For years, I carried a piece of paper in my purse on which I had all the details I needed if asked to fill in a form. I didn’t want to feel as Mum must have felt knowing she couldn’t do it. When my son was old enough to start enjoying books I took him to a library, allowed him to select his books which we brought home.
After working for years in low-paying jobs, I decided to change the direction of my life. I didn’t have the money for writing courses, nor the free time as my son was young so I decided to teach myself from books. My husband allowed me to select a wide range of second-hand ‘how to’ books on writing to be published from Ebay until he said ‘no more, time to get on with the writing’.
I read the books at work during lunch and tea breaks. A few of my work colleagues thought it was highly amusing the idea that I would become a writer, but I just smiled and carried on. To start with, I wrote a few nonfiction articles for a Family History magazine and to my surprise, I received payments. After running out of nonfiction ideas, I decided to write a novel. I had no idea where to begin or how chapters worked. I just wrote and learned as I went along.
My friend Bex helped with the punctuation so I learned as I went. My neighbour Joan who is an avid reader became my proofreader and is brilliant at highlighting areas, which don’t work. After submitting my first attempt at writing a novel and receiving rejections, I put it on the back burner and turned to writing short stories to build a writing CV of published works to improve my confidence, and to impress a publisher. I wrote a few stories for People’s Friend magazine. They like them but wanted me to make changes to my submissions. I didn’t understand what they were after so give after making several changes to them and still getting rejections I gave up.
In 2010, I wrote a story for a competition run by English Heritage and was lucky enough to have my first story published. In 2012, my short story, ‘Roofscapes’ was selected to be the overall winner in Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and Writing Magazine short crime story competition. This win gave me the confidence I needed to continue submitting short stories to smaller publishing companies while working on my next novel. Once again, rejection followed rejection on my second novel a sci-fi time-slip.
As Roofscapes received such great reviews when the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival posted it on their site, I decided to write a crime novel next. After two years of trying to work out how to tell artist, James Ravencroft’s story, Stone Angels began to take shape. For a while, life got in the way, but I have always believed anything is possible if I stay focused on my goal. In 2019, I started writing for an Australian publisher, Black Hare Press who published horror stories.
I made contact with a writer who lives in America. Dawn told me about a new publishing company that was going to publish women-only horror stories, so I began submitting to Kandisha Press and have had three stories published by them.
In 2020, my crime novella The Funeral Birds was published by Damain Publishing, my collection of dark tales Days Pass Like A Shadow was published by Bridge House Publishing, and my gothic whydunnit Stone Angels was published by Darkstoke.
I’m now working on my fifth book, a supernatural crime novel. It has three timelines, the 16th century, WW2, and the present day.
Bio: Paula R. C. Readman, writer, and photographer, is married, with a grown-up son. Mother to two cats, Willow and Brutus, who adopted her along with her husband, Russell against their will. She lives in an English village in the rolling Essex countryside and is about to unleash murder, mystery, and mayhem on her unsuspecting villagers.
Find her here:
Paula R.C.Readman Amazon Author’s Page
Twitter: Paula R C Readman @Darkfantasy13
Books: Stone Angels: https://mybook.to/stoneangels
Days Pass Like A Shadow: https://mybook.to/dayspasslikeashadow
The Funeral Birds: https://mybook.to/thefuneralbirds
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