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How I Became A Fiction Writer
A lifelong business writer who dabbled in creative writing on the side, I have two health crises to thank for giving me the opportunity to write fiction in earnest.
First, I broke my pelvis in three places in a horseback riding fall when my beloved Connemara pony Elphin spooked and tossed me onto the pavement like nobody’s business. On crutches for three months and unable to commute to work, cook, clean or shuttle kids to activities, I turned to writing to stay sane. The result was Shannon’s Odyssey, a middle-grade novel written for my animal-loving younger daughter.
Almost a year to the day later, I found out I had ovarian cancer, which was treated with surgery and five months of chemotherapy. During this recovery, I wrote Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers for my older daughter and all musical theatre-loving teens. The idea was to fill the void in fiction for fans of performance shows like the Glee TV series and the High School Musical movies.
While I don’t recommend this crisis-driven approach to starting a writing career, it worked for me, especially those 8-hour chemo sessions, captive in my padded hospital lounge chair, a warm laptop on my knees. Back to work after the cancer, I squeezed in two additional Bit Players novels because I couldn’t leave my characters behind.
(For more on the Bit Players series, visit www.bitplayers.me.)
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is my first adult novel, prompted by the #metoo movement. As I watched and read the media coverage about Harvey Weinstein, I kept noticing parallels between workplace sexual harassment and childhood incest, specifically how society asks many of the same questions of both types of victim: Was it partly your fault? Why didn’t you say something sooner? How severe was it really? Was it severe enough to even matter?
Thus was born the dual narrative of Shelby and Astrid, two women starting their careers in 1980s Boston while struggling with past and present demons. I hope their story entertains you and gets you thinking about those questions and the right answers to them.
My Business Life
I’ve enjoyed a business career that has included executive positions at Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. On the corporate side, I helped list a company on the New York Stock Exchange and managed communications for multiple mergers. On the nonprofit side, I have worked on amazingly fun projects like the grand opening of a rainforest exhibit that took Franklin Park Zoo in Boston from doldrums to world-class attraction, and the first “drydocking” repair of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) in 20 years.
I have written more articles than I can count, mostly ghost-written for clients or colleagues. A few articles and columns have run over variations of my name, in publications including the Boston Sunday Globe, Bay State Parent, Bay State Realtor, Strategic Communications Magazine and Guitar & Bass Magazine.
A long-time New Englander with stints in New York, London and Italy, I live in Washington, N.H.
I still consult and provide marketing and public relations services to causes near and dear to my heart, including solar energy.
What’s Up with the Photos
Several people have asked me the point of the photos used at the top of this website’s pages. I didn’t want to use typical author images like pens and paper and typewriters and computers, so I pulled some of my own photos. The images I chose show the beauty of nature when looked at from a slightly different perspective — the sunflower just as it starts to unfold, the berries encased in ice from an early storm.I like to think literature is the same, taking us into aspects of life where we normally wouldn’t venture, or showing us a completely different view of the familiar and challenging our assumptions. In other words, if you delve deeply enough, sometimes you are rewarded with something very special.
Contact S.M. Stevens
I’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy about getting in touch. Use the form below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.