Sunday, 27 October 2013

Guest Post: My Journey to Publication by Eve Rabi

“I’ve never heard of this author before, but after reading You Will Pay,
I just had to download all her books. She’s an awesome writer!”

Somebody once asked me how I managed to bring out 20 books in 24 months.
Did I have a team of elves working at night, helping me churn out books?
Did I sleep at all?
Was I real?
After all, I am a single mother with two school-going children and two demanding (and mainly disobedient) animals.
Well, it all started years ago, when, after reading an article in the paper about a POW in Iraq, an idea formed in my head. I loved the idea, but I didn’t quite know how to launch the idea into a book.
The question was; will people want to read this idea of mine, this book?
One night, while lying in bed with my husband, I ran an “article” by him – a US soldier (female) had been captured by Iraqi militants and had been held for more than a year by them.  
My husband (now ex-husband) had the attention span of a gnat, so I expected to hear him snore within thirty seconds or less.  
But, surprise, surprise, ol’husband of mine didn’t fall asleep.
Instead he propped himself up on an elbow and gave me his rapt attention.  
As I spoke, the words, “Wow!” and “Really” and best of all, “And then…?” buzzed around my head, and I found myself having to formulate answers to his questions on the spot.
“That would make a helluva movie,” he finally said, his voice full of awe.
“Well, there’s more,” I said, trying hard to keep from blurting out the truth,  “I’ll read more and fill you in on it.”
I lay in the dark with a huge grin on my face, excited about his rapt attention, his desire to know more about the soldier’s ordeal and my maximum smartness at being able to come up with answers on the spot.
Unable to contain myself anymore, I hit the light switch and turned to him. “You know the story I told you? It wasn’t an “article” in the paper; it’s a story I made up. I wanna write it. I wanna write a book! ”
His eyes bulged. “Serious?”
I nodded.
“Wow!” he said, “that story was brilliant, Eve!”
“Brilliant!” What an adjective. I snatch it and beamed.
“Can you turn off the light, please?” he asked in a polite voice.

Eve Rabi is my absolute favorite author (#1) and that
is really a compliment because I read ALL the time.”

The next day, my husband returned home with a hand-held voice recording device. “Every time you come up with an idea, record it,” he said.
(There was no Blackberry and iPhone then to record your thoughts.)
I was so moved by his faith in me, that I made a mental note to thank him in my acceptance speech at the Oscars. (After my book is made into a movie, which takes Movie of the Year.)   
Boy, did I use that recorder.
While hanging up washing, shopping, driving the kids to school, on the treadmill, in the loo – poor recorder never got a break and eventually fell apart.
But with two small kids, a home and a business (My husband and I ran a glossy magazine) to run, I had no time to write. But I desperately wanted to.
So, I got up at 3 AM most mornings and wrote till 7 AM. If it was cold, I didn’t notice. If I was tired and sleepy, I didn’t notice. I just wanted to write.
Within days, I completed my first draught of Captured, My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover.
I held my breath and handed it to my husband to read. He was one who would tell me the truth.
“I love it!” he said.  
My grin could have lit up all of Sydney.
After I started writing, I never stopped, because… I couldn’t stop.  
The ideas flowed like booze at a Geordie Shore party, and never once did I suffer that thing called writer’s block.  I would write a few novels, entirely different stories at the same time.
It was so much fun.  
My dreams had changed; I no longer coveted the three-storey, split-level home with German engineering parked in a triple garage in Sydney’s North Shore.
I wanted to simplify my life so I could write for a living. Be a struggling writer if that’s what it took, I didn’t care.
For that, I would need a small home, a tiny garden (didn’t want anything that would somehow cut into my writing time) and the ability to write uninterrupted for eight hours.  
I was the kind of mother who allowed her children to sleep with her, so often
I would lie in bed, a child on either side and my laptop in front of me. Sometimes my kids would watch TV in my bedroom, sometimes they’d just sleep. (Yes, I was the kind of mother who had a TV in her bedroom, though I might hasten to add, I seldom watched TV.)
When my kids complained about the light, I got them eye masks.
When they complained about the clacking of the keyboard, I gave them head phones and even ear plugs.  I seldom wrote in my study because I wanted to a visible at all times.
But writing consumed me to such a degree that I became frustrated and tearful when life came in the way of writing.
I whined and complained that at the rate I was going, I would never finish a novel within the year.  
So my husband sent me to a hotel for three days.
I never left the hotel room. I ordered room service and wrote and wrote. Night and day blurred into each other and at the end of three days, I had completed The Cheat, not the book I wanted to finish. Why? It just happened. The Cheat wouldn’t allow me to write anything else.
And thereafter, I was happy and contented.
No, not quite.
I wanted to write some more, all the time. I didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to break to prepare a nourishing salad for lunch, I just wanted to write. And my whining continued.
One day, during my complaining about not having enough time to write, my daughter turned to me and said, “Mum, why don’t you just put away your laptop and stop writing? We are really little right now and we need you. When we are older you can write all you want, Mum. Right now, we come first. We need you.”
Her exact words.

“Eve Rabi writes the best sexy, naughty,
laugh-out-loud literary mind candy. ”

I was divided: should I give her up for adoption to prevent an uprising in my household or should I stop writing? Stop being creative?  
As much as l loved writing, motherhood ruled. I switched off my laptop and didn’t open it for about a year.
But I felt like I had ended a love affair with a boyfriend my parents didn’t approve of. For a while, I was withdrawn and even …sad.
When I opened my laptop a year later, I felt alive and energized.
Over the years, I moved house three times, went through a painful divorce, re-started a real estate business with my sister to achieve my independence, and broke my wrist through a fall. (While cleaning the bathroom. Housework can kill, I tell you.)
A writer breaking her wrist? It can’t get any worse, believe me.
But through all of that, I persevered with my writing and when I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about it.
Eventually, I handed the real estate business to my sister, dumped a demanding boyfriend, and in October 2012, went into hibernation for almost a year, even all through summer.
Quietly, I hammered away at my modern-day typewriter.
It was the most wonderful year of my life. I missed nobody and nothing and I was selfish with my time. I even stopped shopping for clothes and shoes, something I could do for eight hours straight.

“I’ve planned my weekend. It’s going to be just me and
all Eve Rabi’s books. Can’t wait to start reading them.”

My first book Gringa was published in June 2011.
By 01 June 2013, my birthday, I had published a total of 18 books.
After a dinner with my kids and ex-husband (we are friends even though we both moved on) I checked out to see how my latest book was doing.  
To my utter surprise, four of my books had made it to’s top 100, at the same time!
What a birthday present that was.
I cranked up I Made It, by Kevin Lyttle and Li’l Wayne and jumped around to it.  
Sure, I wasn’t a New York Times’ Best Selling author or something (I’m not striving for that), and Gringa – A Modern-day Love Story had already reached no 1 on in 2012, but still, I was thrilled.
It had been a rough couple of years, yet somehow, by September 2013, I had published 20 books.
That was an accomplishment.
Even though I was exhausted, I was deliriously happy.
I write full time, I report to no one, I’m selfish with my time and since I’m an Indie writer, I do things my way.
That is priceless as I would hate to have to change anything about my ideas, my craft.
More importantly, my deadlines are my own.  I have nobody breathing down my neck.
Most important to me, a single mother, my writing pays way more than I ever thought it would.
I’m doing what I love and getting paid for it, what more could I want?
I’m still on my journey to publication, but I can truly say that Eve’s Rabi journey to publication is going great!

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