Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Guest post by Jack Dowd

picture of author Jack Dowd
Jack Dowd
This week on the blog, I have a guest post by Jack Dowd to share with you. Jack's debut novel Empty Nights will be released in September.

Empty Nights
Henry Andrews, enduring his final year in Norcrest Academy, discovers that his childhood crush and fellow sixth form student Yasmin Rivers is pregnant. Henry agrees to help Yasmin hide her secret while also dealing with his parent’s divorce, revising for his A Level exams, suffering his own mental health issues and preparing for the void in his life that comes after sixth form. When tragedy strikes, nothing will be the same again.

Jack Dowd
I started writing as a hobby in 2005 while bored in the back row of a classroom. This hobby grew over the years and in 2013 I enrolled as a student on the Creative Writing Degree course at London South Bank University. During this time, my play Captured was performed at the Chelsea Theatre to positive reviews and I was the assistant producer on a radio play called The Minister’s Secret. In 2015 I created jackdowd’swritingblog, my official writing website and I graduated with a 2:1. Since leaving university I have found publication with an Indie publishing company called Mommashark press and my debut novel Empty Nights is due for release in September.


Perseverance

I don’t think anyone chooses to be a writer, I think it’s something that happens naturally. All I remember, from a very young age, was writing. I remember wanting to write a novel.

There were several problems with this idea. The first was that I was dyslexic. Dyslexia affects everyone differently, for me it affects my spelling something that is rather important when writing a book. For example it took me five attempts to spell dyslexia in the previous sentence. However being dyslexic does have its advantages in terms of being an writer. Dyslexics are generally more creative than non-dyslexics and we can more easily see patterns where others can’t. This helps a great deal when I’m world building. My age and experience was also an issue. I approached the publishing industry as a young man with very little experience of publishing other than having a few magazine wins and short listings. The third problem was that I had yet to write a novel.

It took me ten years of working, on and off, before I discarded my first novel. I don’t count this as a failure I called it a false start albeit a long false start. I learnt a lot from the experience. I learnt first drafts are allowed to be rubbish and they are certainly not set in stone, I learnt that I had the energy to write and the creativity to form a coherent story and I learnt that re-writing and editing is ninety percent of the writing process. The goal of being a published novelist still lingered in my mind.

I graduated from London South Bank University in 2015 with a degree in Creative Writing. I’d learnt a lot earning my degree, including the ins and outs of the publishing industry and I’d explored other mediums and genres I normally wouldn’t wander into. It was in my final year that I created my writing website and fully embraced the writer label that I had created for myself at school whilst writing that first novel. On New’s Year’s Eve of 2015 while I sat in my classmate’s flat watching the fireworks I decided that this was the year I was going to complete a first novel. The characters and their stories popped into my head and I was scribbling away until the early hours.

There were many more false starts and it took me two and a half years, not one, to complete Empty Nights. There were moments where I questioned if it was worth it, if anyone would read it, let alone like it and there were moments when I thought, ‘is it even was worth going on?’ But I did.

And here we are. I’m terrified as most authors are at this point, I’m sad because soon the novel won’t be exclusively mine anymore it’ll belong to the readers but I’m also proud. Proud that I have achieved the childhood goal I set for myself.
__________

Thanks Jack! You can keep up to date with Jack at any or all of the following places:

Website: https://jackdowdswritingblog.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackdowdswritingblog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stforce1
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-dowd-149b47b5/

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