I am very pleased to introduce author Lee Mather on my blog today. I have never met Lee personally, but had the pleasure of being introduced to him by Nerine Dorman, the editor of the Bloody Parchment: Hidden Things, Lost Things and other stories anthology.
Bloody Parchment is the literary component to the annual SOUTH AFRICAN HORRORFEST. Visit the links http://horrorfest.info and http://www.shadowrealminc.com/ for more information and news on their 2012 call for submissions.
“Fading Light” featuring Lee’s story, “Wrath”, will be available in September 2012 by Angelic Knight Press.
“First Kiss, Last Breath” will be available in October 2012 by Lyrical Press.
Lots of good thoughts here – visit his website at http://www.leemather.org.uk/ to get to know him better!
She Mostly Cries At Night…Mostly
GUEST POST BY: LEE MATHER
Youth is wasted on the young, is the saying.
I start to write this blog and I’ve been interrupted twice already. Firstly, I’ve rocked my ten week old daughter back to sleep, and secondly, I’ve answered a telephone call from my mother. These days, my time, it seems, is at a premium.
This is coupled with the fact that I’m pretty tired. My daughter is sleeping more, but not sleeping through. The tiredness feels ingrained in me at the moment.
I’ve wondered, recently, why I left it so late, well into my late twenties, before I tried to write and sell my stories. The younger me never had the same challenges around time. I had the opportunity and the energy to do whatever I wanted back then.
I read from an early age. I remember getting hooked on the adventure books of Willard Price and a whole host of Enid Blyton stories. I wanted to unravel a mystery in the jungle or to be the sixth member of the Famous Five, and I remember staring out of my bedroom window, watching the Manchester rain, and seeing myself in some far flung place, unravelling some far fetched mystery.
Writing came a little later, in my teens. I was reading Tolkien and Terry Brooks by then, Stephen King and James Herbert. I think adolescence was the perfect age to discover Fantasy and Horror. In growing up, I began to realise that maybe life wasn’t so easy. Maybe this is why darker stories resonated with me, because of how they worked in tandem with my own anxieties.
We got to write stories at school, in English lessons. I remember writing an alternate ending to “Lord Of The Flies” and a hybrid of fantasy and horror, “Blue Fire”, about New York cops that came across a magic stone from another dimension. I remember these stories being awesome, but I think time has helped this memory.
It started then, the notion that I could write someday for a living. People did it. Why not me?
I took English Literature at college as an A Level. Business Studies was a subject that came easily so I studied this too. And then I began to chase my dreams. Well, not quite.
Around this age I discovered I could get served alcohol in pubs. The world changed. If I wasn’t chasing down pints I was chasing after girls – unsuccessfully most of the time, I might add, which is surprising as I had all the wit and charm of a normal seventeen year old boy.
Back then, none of my friends read that much, unless the reading material belonged to a syllabus. Reading and writing became an occasional discussion over a beer.
“I’d like to write a book one day. I think I could.”
The dream of becoming a writer became less important to me as the subsequent years flew by. I aced Business Studies and I chose a degree in it. I was a fully pledged member of the real world. I would need a job some day, some marketable skills, so English got shelved. I thrived at university, but not academically.
I would write a book some day. But not any day soon. Maybe when I was older.
This carried on well into my twenties. I wasn’t challenging myself, but I was happy to let things drift on by. Life had a dream-like quality.
Then my dad got cancer.
It would be okay, I told myself. He was my dad. Bad things didn’t really happen to my family.
When he died, at forty five, one of the things that resulted during and after a long period of grieving was that I started to look at myself. One thing was certain, forty five was no age to die.
I could keep coasting, but if I did would I have regrets? I had a few skills up my sleeve but had I ever put them to real use?
Suddenly, growing up was hard once again.
And then it happened. I found my focus. I didn’t want to coast anymore. I wanted to challenge myself and I began to think more and more of the younger me and the notion of writing a book. In the most traumatic period of my life I had learned that fate had its own plans. It would certainly not wait for me.
So I wrote. And it was not good.
So I wrote some more and it was better. So I submitted it. And it got rejected.
So I learned more about writing.
I wrote shorter stories and enhanced my writing technique. I improved. “The Green Man” was published in December 2010. I became aware that there were thousands of writers out there, most capable, most with something to offer. If my voice was to be heard then I’d have to work harder than the next person, do everything I could to make myself better. I’m still trying.
Feedback for “The Green Man” was super, more positive than I could have expected. But I’d set myself higher standards. I had no other work to offer that I was happy with. This meant I had to go back to the drawing board and write some more.
I got married one year later. My daughter was born a year after that. Life, as ever, was moving fast.
And that brings us up to date.
My time is more precious than ever. My life is full of challenges. But I love it.
So, do I think youth is wasted on the young? Not at all. The younger me was a dreamer, and that’s how this all started. But back then I didn’t have much in my locker, certainly not enough to write with any credibility.
Life experience has helped me find a voice. In my thirties, I know more about pain and joy than I ever did in my early twenties. Growing up has also helped me find the focus to lock myself away and actually write.
And the writing itself? I’m progressing. I have three stories featuring in anthologies this year and one standalone novella. I’ve also gained entry into The Horror Writer’s Association.
“Fans of Stephen King are going to love this,” says author Karina Fabian of my forthcoming novella, “First Kiss, Last Breath”.
This made me smile. It reminded me of the teenager watching the rain from his bedroom window, a crumpled copy of “IT” on his bedside table.
Find out more about Lee and his writing at www.leemather.org.uk
Or follow Lee on Twitter
“Bloody Parchment“, featuring Lee’s story, “Masks”, is available now from Amazon.
“Fading Light“, featuring Lee’s story, “Wrath”, is available from September 1st from Angelic Knight Press.
“First Kiss, Last Breath” is available from October 8th from Lyrical Press.