Finding My Voice
When I’m pregnant I’m a champion vomiter. And this small fact led to my writing career.
True. I promise.
Back in mid 2005 I was pregnant with my younger daughter and desperately morning sick. Normally cheerful me had turned into a miserable, white faced, foul tempered troll!! Looking for a way to distract me, my husband suggested I write a ‘Mills and Boon,’ like I’d always talked about.
I liked that idea. A lot. And I jumped right in.
At nine months pregnant I sent the manuscript off to a new, innovative digital publisher – Samhain Publishing. Miss (now) 8 arrived, and a few days later, to my eternal amazement, so did a book contract.
And so I was launched into a writing career. With no clue. No rhyme or reason and a non-sleeping newborn to breastfeed. I chose the name Caitlyn Nicholas to write under.
Fast forward to 2014, I’ve now got seven stories published and the non-sleeping newborn never stops talking and wants to be a vet. The books published under the name Caitlyn Nicholas are a mix of lengths and sub-genres, from romantic suspense to sports fiction, some are explicitly sexy, some ‘shut the bedroom door.’ There’s a notable difference in my voice and quality of writing across the books. I’m published with three different publishers.
Consistency, as you can see, is non existent.
I think being published so quickly was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I got to learn the publishing industry in a very hands-on way. But a curse because I hadn’t found my voice, I hadn’t had time to muck about with my writing and find what suited me.
Earlier this year I made a big decision. I decided to retire Caitlyn Nicholas and write under my own name, Tory Crabtree.
Why? Because I’ve found my writing voice. I know what I want to write (romance and women’s fiction) and I know how I want to go about it.
It was time for a fresh start. To write as myself in the genres that suit me best.
Publishing has changed a lot in the last ten years. Where once being published was a nearly unattainable dream, it is now within reach of everyone. But this means that newbie writers need to be a lot more savvy about their career. They need to know themselves and their voice. They need to have a clear idea of what they are writing and who their audience will be. That is not to say they shouldn’t be writing genre bending stories, or thinking outside the box – authors that do this are often very successful – but as you can see from my scattered backlist, it’s a good idea to have a plan, and to plan for consistency.
A final word of advice from me… If you choose a pen name then keep your first name. My biggest mistake, pen name wise was to choose Caitlyn rather than stick with Tory – which is my actual name. At times its created fairly epic confusion, and got tired of it very quickly!
Tory Crabtree (previously writing as Caitlyn Nicholas)
Legendary hacker, Dimity Pond, is on the run from the law.
Her landlord’s sold her home, her money has disappeared along with her two-timing husband, a cyber-terrorist named Nemesis is forcing her to wreak havoc with a nasty virus and she’s developing a vile migraine.
Six years ago, Nemesis framed Dimity for the collapse of one of Europe’s biggest banks. The money was never found, and the bank’s failure caused untold damage to its customers. She’s been living under the radar ever since. The only way she can clear her name and live a normal life is to uncover Nemesis’s identity, but he’s always one step ahead.
Since Lord Richard Summerhayes left the Special Forces he’s built the best disaster-recovery network in the world, known as The Bunker. Banks, militaries, airports and other major systems around the world rely on him as the last unshakeable digital fortress in the face of disaster. Richard has been keeping an eye on his neighbor who has a dubious hacking past. He doesn’t like hackers, and when someone nukes his network with an intriguing new virus he knows exactly who to blame. But when he confronts her, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for.
When Nemesis commits an unthinkable act of terrorism, the last hope is an encrypted file that only Dimity can crack. Will Nemesis manipulate Dimity into helping him wipe out the world’s biggest financial center? Or can Richard and Dimity take Nemesis down once and for all?