I’ve always had an attitude problem. I’m not bothered by that, just stating a fact. My mother is always telling me I’m a natural-born rebel, and that I’m a hard bitch – affectionately speaking, of course. I think she sometimes regrets just how hard I’ve become, although she would never say it. But it’s how I’ve survived being so out of step with the rest of my generation; how I’ve coped with always disagreeing with the norm, with liking underground stuff that most people have never heard of and, for the most part, eschewing the mainstream. It can be lonely, and it makes you have to stand up for yourself and your beliefs on an alarmingly regular basis.
I stopped visiting forums for indie authors for much the same reason. I couldn’t suffer fools gladly; I wouldn’t let someone that arrogantly insisted on being right get away with it when they were patently wrong about something. And worst of all, I wouldn’t tolerate bullies. Pretty soon I was getting in scraps with people on a day-to-day basis. I had to call it quits or go insane. But I still felt that I had been right to do it; I’ve never been one to look for an easy life.
What’s the point of this self-analysis, you might ask? Well, it’s been very much the same for me in the world of fiction as anywhere else. When I look at what the majority of my peers are writing and reading I realise just how far from my own sphere of interest it is. I see the same book turned out over and over again; because Twilight was a success there are writers churning out hundreds of knock-offs every week. There are Fifty Shades of Grey copies littering the internet. But I’ve never been able to accept copies of anything. I always want to hunt out the original, the first time a thing was done, and cling to it obsessively as the reproductions grow in volume. And it was the same when I set out to write a vampire series – I always swore it was a genre I wouldn’t touch unless something really unusual hit me, unless I could really add something new or different. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Well, I hope I found that something different. I’m happy with it, anyway. But still the fashion is for the same few stories over and over again; still I’m going against the grain just by existing. And finally, I’m okay with that. My favourite band recently came out and said that as soon as they heard a DJ declare that “Rock was dead” they went out of their way to create the most loud, raucous, raw rock record that they’ve ever done, just because no-one else was doing it at this point. I love that attitude and I love them for it. I’m not pretending to be anywhere as good at my job as they are at theirs, but that attitude: well, if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me. And I’ll keep going against the grain as long as I have eyes to see the paper with and a hand to hold the pen.