Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fantasy Writer Says, "I Need To Return To Reality"

Fantasy writer Steph Swainston asks out of her contract with her publisher, to become a teacher. It's usually the teacher who's trying to become a full-time writer, right? An excerpt from the article:

"There's just too much stress on authors," says the 37-year-old Swainston. She lives near Reading now, but grew up in West Yorkshire and she hasn't lost her gentle accent. "The business model seems to be that publishers want a book a year. I wanted to spend time on my novels, but that isn't economically viable."

Swainston says: "Writers have to have something as well as writing, something which feeds back into their work and makes it meaningful." She references the 19th-century Scottish writer and reformer Samuel Smiles. "He said that if you are going to be an artist, you should have a job as well, so that you're not relying on your art to pay your bills. If we don't have external influences ..." she pauses, "well, look at Stephen King. All his characters seem to be writers."

Then there's the lack of human interaction: "I suffer terribly from isolation while writing. I really need a job where I can be around people and learn to speak again. It's much, much healthier to be around people. Human beings are social animals."

"I don't have a problem with fandom," she says. "But I don't think fans realise the pressure they put on authors. The very vocal ones can change an author's next book, even an author's career, by what they say on the internet. And writers are expected to engage and respond." She pauses. "The internet is poison to authors."


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