Jonathan Lee, tax and trust departmental manager at Pearson Jones in Leeds, on his passion for writing.
I HAVE always wanted to be a writer. For a very long time.
At the tender age of nine, myself and a friend put together a self-published magazine about Adventure Games Books.
You may remember the books, where at the end of each chapter you had a decision to make and turned to the corresponding page to find you had been killed by a wizard, or something equally grisly. The magazine lasted for six issues and sold more than 500 copies. Throughout my teens and early twenties I continued to write short stories, each time filing them away in an old blue folder.
Then, as so often happens, life took over and marriage and my three beautiful children (which included twin boy and girl) came along. I still continued to collect interesting newspaper cuttings and filled journal after journal with ideas but never seemed to have the time to put pen to paper. Coupled with the family, a busy working life conspired to ensure that I had simply had no time left to progress my passion.
As the children got older I found the time I had was beginning to increase. And so, a few years ago I pulled out all my old scribblings, journals and cutting sand spread them out on the lounge floor.
I decided at that moment that I was going to make the time to pursue my dream, whatever it took. I burned the midnight oil night after night and used every second of free time to write. After 20 months filled with edit after edit and bouts of self-doubt, I finally finished my first novel, a black comedy entitled The Radio in October 2012.
My novel focuses on elements of my own life experiences and also a mixture of personalities and caricatures of the diverse people I have been lucky enough to meet during my life and career.
The novel is funny yet poignant at the same time and deals directly with suicide and how those left behind react.
In the vein of one of my favourite authors, Roald Dahl it also has the obligatory twist!
My novel was submitted to numerous agents and publishers and for nearly a year a received the expected weekly thanks-but-no-thanks response. I realised from extensive reading that everyone including the world’s best-selling authors had received constant rejections until their break. This gave me a little glimmer of hope.
And so with no little trepidation, in May this year I entered The Radio into the Novel Prize for New Authors 2012 and managed to make the shortlist from around 2,800 entries. Although, I didn’t win I was offered a publishing deal and my novel is released in Spring 2013.
I am acutely aware it is a very long road from here to make any impact in the publishing world, but I am so pleased that I dusted down all my old journals and actually made a decision to seriously pursue my passion.