On returning home at the end of 2005 I secured a job as the Acquisitions Librarian at Waikato University. I happily did this job for almost five years (while also taking maternity leave twice).
Having two young children who were spending quite a few hours a week in daycare I dreamed of having a job where I could work from home. In 2011 I began the diploma in publishing, editing and proofreading. I had always done a bit of writing and anything to do with the English language always came naturally to me. I did the course while working 30 hours a week and having two children under four. It was a busy time but I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and learning and doing something I loved and was passionate about made the journey easier.
NZIBS and the way their courses are developed are very supportive. I found the NZIBS student forum very helpful (and five-plus years on, still do). My tutor Dick Ward was always easy to contact if I had any questions. I graduated in April 2012, and with my diploma and some very helpful tutorials towards the end, I set up my own freelance proofreading and copy editing business Crucial Corrections which is still going strong today.
Fast forward a few years, in 2015 I started the Creative Writing course. I had the idea for a book – a crime/thriller – but felt I definitely needed some guidance with regard to writing and everything that goes with it. My tutor Tina Shaw was amazing, her critique of my writing was always helpful and I came away from each tutorial with a little more knowledge of the craft.
Tina assessed part of my novel, and in doing so gently pushed me in the right direction, or put me back on track if I’d wandered off! Again the forum has been such a good way to share ideas with my fellow writers and I feel I know a lot of them just by our communication through the forum.
I have been working on my book Nothing Bad Happens Here, a crime/thriller set on the Coromandel Coast of New Zealand, for almost three years. After getting the manuscript assessed, edited and proofread (by two NZIBS graduates Carolyn McKenzie and Kathy Swailes) and getting a few rejection letters from NZ publishers (ouch!) I decided to publish the book myself. I had got enough positive feedback that I felt confident in doing this. And, as anyone who has self-published knows, you really have to back yourself. You’re the one who’s promoting the book and you need the confidence to sing the book’s praises (hard to do at times!). With regard to this I’ve had many ‘up’ and ‘down’ days.
It’s a real emotional roller coaster publishing your own work but I can say I feel very proud of myself, and the dream of becoming a published writer, one I’ve had ever since I was little, has finally come true.
Nothing Bad Happens Here
She looked away from his face and took in the clear spring night, full of stars. Her last thoughts were of her mother. Would she finally care, when one day they found her body, and a policeman came knocking at her door?
The body of missing tourist Bethany Haliwell is found in the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay, where nothing bad ever happens. News crews and journalists from all over the country descend on the small seaside town as old secrets are dragged up and gossip is taken as gospel.
Among them is Miller Hatcher, a journalist battling her own demons, who arrives intent on gaining a promotion by covering the grisly murder.
Following an anonymous tip, Miller begins to unravel the mystery of the small town. And when another woman goes missing, Miller finds herself getting closer to the truth. But at what cost?