My Life as a writer
When did you first realise you wanted to write for a living?
Actually I have always written but did not know I was a writer. How can you miss something like that? As a young wife and mother I would write short funny anecdotes about my friends and then I would let all my friends read my silly stories and ask if they knew who the story was about. We all laughed about them and friends often suggested that I should write a book but that was something other people did.
When I think back I have always been the first to have a typewriter, word processor and PC and now I wonder what on earth I was doing, or more to the point not doing. My opportunity sneaked in without me even noticing. I had been working as a professional psychic touring the UK when I received a call from the then editor of The Sunday Post asking me to go to Dundee for a meeting. I thought I was going to read cards for some of the staff.
We had been chatting for a couple of hours and still no mention of reading for anyone when the editor asked, “So would you be interested in being our resident astrologer?” I can almost hear you saying “You should have seen that coming”, but I didn’t. I spent several years as the resident astrologer and they recommended me to publishers who invited me to write a series of Wiccan reference books.
My understanding is that most writers begin as indies and then win a contract. As usual I do things differently, not necessarily right but definitely differently. As soon as I started writing reference books I woke up to the fact that all I wanted to do was write and I began putting various fictional stories together.
In today’s modern technological society ‘print on demand’ makes life so much easier for authors like myself to write what they want to write about and see it in print rather than waiting for the usual extended period for books to hit the shelves.
Which writer, past or present, do you most admire?
There are so many writes that I admire, probably the first was Catherine Cookson and more recently Robert B Parker, creator of the Jesse Stone series. More than anything I love books that have developing characters and continuing storylines. When I find books that I enjoy I buy the whole series and read them several times over. Of course that could be because I am dyslexic but I think it’s just because I love them.
What was your first published (or performed) credit as a writer?
My first book, which has been reprinted and reissued over and over again, is my Book of Spells.
Which piece of writing work are you most proud of?
That’s an easy answer, I am most proud of my first novel (and latest book) The Wooden Rose. Writing it was an adventure for me and to be honest I often wonder where on earth it came from.
Who or what inspires you to write?
A sentence inspires me. Sometimes in conversation someone will say something and I immediately think ‘What a great title for a book’, and then a story begins in my head.
How do you switch off when you’re not writing?
Tidy the house, cook delicious meals for my hubby, mess around with my idiot greyhound Sasha Diva and have coffee with my friends. But I don’t actually switch off because I am always seeing stimulating storylines even as I drift off to sleep.
Which one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just do it.
Why are you a member of WGGB?
As a solitary professional I personally feel that I need to know there is a support network out there that I can contact to share with or to ask for help.
Soraya has made TV appearances and has written for newspapers and magazines and is the resident psychic astrologer for My Weekly magazine. She has had 10 Wiccan reference books published and as an indie author has published a Reiki Training Manual, Psychic Guidance, and her first novel The Wooden Rose. Soraya is currently writing the prequel Before the Rose, the Gypsy’s Curse, to be followed by After the Rose.