An author talk at our local library had me putting on my going out togs and peeling myself away from the computer the other day.
Novelist Anna Jacobs is known worldwide for her romance and mystery novels, she’s written over 60 and she’s number 6 on the list of most borrowed authors of adult fiction in UK libraries.
I dabbled once with writing romance novels, but found I was totally useless at them. Maybe I’m not romantic enough, and I couldn’t keep any writing pace with heaving bosoms and dark handsome heroes clouding the storyline.
But I admire people who can write a good rollicking romance laced with mystery.
So seeing as Anna’s written a great many books I wondered what she’s like, how does she do it, and what could be gleaned from her life story as positive take-aways for us mere mortals.
Well, to start with, she’s bubbly, and funny, and down to earth. But her success in life? I think it comes down to a couple of Big P’s.
Take Away 1: Live your life with passion and perseverance
What I loved about this 72 year old writer was her passion. She still has it, even after a career that’s spanned so very many tomes, and she still writes 3 books a year. “I’d write four if I could, but I do need to sleep at night,” she jokes.
Aha, so there’s another take-away
Take Away 2: Be energetic in your pursuits.
She’s unassuming and witty, although you get the feeling that she and her husband are indeed a small business, because they’re slick and practiced in their speaking, and all due credit to them.
Anna writes and her hubby takes care of the business side of things, which these days includes getting her out-of- print-books up on Amazon using ‘create space’. It took him two days to figure out how to use the programme, Anna says, “But now he can get a book out in an hour.”
“I think Amazon is going to take over the world, don’t you?” she jokes in her soft Lancashire accent.
So many people say that they have a book in them, not many can say they have 60 or so in them! And it was Anna’s verve and stoicism in the face of adversity that kept on shining through during her talk. She’s suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, had many books rejected, changed publishers, and moved with the times.
Takeaway point 3 : Never give up
“I’m addicted to my computer. In fact I have two. One is my writing computer that nobody can hack into, thank you very much. I have another for my emails and everything else. I can write as fast as I can think, and you can’ do that with a pen and paper,” she says.
Takeaway Point 4 : Adapt to, and learn about, new technology
You’d think at 72 , that a little respite and R and R might be in order, but not for Anna who get ups at 5.20am and goes to her office where she looks at emails that have come in from the UK overnight. “ Then after breakfast at around six I start writing. It’s just me and all these lovely characters with me.”
Takeaway Point 5: If you want to get on, get up … early!
Anna and her husband are clearly a bonded team. They speak fondly of each other all the time. She calls him her”Darling Husband”, he calls her “The Boss”.
“I never want to waste a minute of my life, and that means telling stories. Don’t ask me about ironing. I don’t do it!” She states vehemently. “I brought an iron once and it wasn’t taken out of its box for six years. I come out from my office grudgingly to cook, and we share the cooking, but writing is what I do and love.”
Take away Point 6: Time’s precious: Don’t waste a minute, focus on what’s important
It’s lovely to see two people who would in normal life jobs probably be retired, but they are instead filling their later years with meaning, and passion and continued perseverance to earn a living from writing and publishing books.
What do you hope you’re doing in your later years? Still working? Traveling? Writing? Gardening? Voluntary work? Hiking? Why not tell us in the comments?
Until next time,