There are times in life when your life takes an unexpected path. In early 2009 I was a happily married man.
Life was going very well. Like many people, I worked in a job that I was good at but that I did not find fulfilling.
While I enjoyed writing fiction, I had never finished any of the stories I had written.
In March 2009 my wife suffered a major haemorrhagic stroke, leaving her severely disabled. She spent a year in hospital and was still unable to move the left hand side of her body when she returned home in 2010.
During this time I learnt the value of the experience of life – too often we drift in life (as I had been) and let minor setbacks or obstacles hold us back.
Often it takes something really bad for us to appreciate the opportunities and happiness we are normally blessed with everyday.
My wife Rachel fought hard and successfully regained the ability to speak and recovered beyond the initial pessimistic predictions of the doctors.
Sadly though, there was no happy ending. Due to the strain of the original stroke and unrelated long-term kidney problems, she passed away in February 2011.
My life had changed fundamentally in only a few years. I now value life so much more, and feel it is our responsibility to make the most of our lives.
With my new perspective on life, I could no longer could tolerate working in a normal office job, though it still took me two years to get the courage to resign.
Even after resigning I ended up working 3 days a week for another 4 months as the company I worked for needed me to help them finish a project I was working on. This gave me time to work out what I was going to do.
I knew that I wanted to start a business, originally just as an IT contractor. As time went on I felt just doing IT contract work was not enough. Then I discovered how much self-publishing had changed.
Like many people I still had the old ideas about self-publishing – that it was all vanity publishing and books in garages.
The introduction of the e-Book and Amazon’s Kindle has changed all that – something that can be published with very reasonable costs, doesn’t require any storage, on a platform where anyone
is allowed to publish, not just a select few “experts” in publishing companies.
So I got my computer out, planned a novel (which turned into a novella…) and wrote Timeshock: I Want My Life Back in February 2014.
After finally finishing work, I have gone through a long and time consuming process to get Stoneham Press Ltd set up and will publish the first two Timeshock novellas in June.
The more I have seen of the self-publishing movement the more energised I have become. In my opinion, this movement will hasten the end of the large publishing companies.
But this process will take time. One thing that is desperately required is better and more professional business skills by self-published authors.
The level of software support for self-publishers is to my mind (that of a long-term programmer and IT manager) pretty poor.
So my twin aim with publishing my own work is to also write software to help other self-published authors get better at what they do.