I’ve always been a writer.

It isn’t a career option or a lifestyle choice; it’s just there.

I actually once thought that I was insane (and some people will probably back me up here…) until I realised that the voices in my head were characters, people. People asking me to tell their stories. Once I had that down, I was kind’a relieved.

But any writer lucky (?) enough to be equally cursed and blessed will tell you that once you have the basics figured out, it’s something to love. Putting words down on paper…

Hey, my name is Saffina and I am a writer. A.. *screeches to an abrupt halt, narrowly missing the car in front* … a what writer? What do I write?  What is my passion? Where does my allegiance lie?

Sugar & Spice is a crime thriller; and a damn good one at that. (Hey, I’ve gotten over modesty, we’re number 4 in the Amazon chart peeps!)

And my bookcase will tell you that I LURVE James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and anything remotely criminal (not something that looks good on a school report or C.V) but if you slide your peepers across the way, you’ll see a whole host of other writers on there too.

Everyone asks writers in interviews what their favourite book is and what/who inspired them – I get it all the time. I usually lie.

I want to sound witty and intelligent, right? I usually say ‘To kill a mocking bird‘ by Harper Lee and that isn’t a lie. It is a wonderful book and has many great memories for me. I even called my cat Scout.

But it isn’t my favourite book and it isn’t why I wanted to be a writer.

Do you want to know what is?

Imagine this:

My ma and pa weren’t rich. They were (and still are) decent, honest, hard-working, young parents, with three daughters to clothe and feed, all under the age of 10.

Me being me (and anyone who knows me, especially my little sis and better half, will vouch for this) wanted everything that I saw – there and then. Tomorrow wasn’t good enough. Never has been, never will be,. After all, tomorrow never comes, right?

So when my primary school teacher (who eventually got convicted of a sex crime against his charges. Imagine that?) came in and gave us a Book Club form, I was beside myself.

That glossy, fabulously smelling list of paperbacks was where it all began.

Seventy pence! 70p for a whole book! I filled it in with my new, blue (fat? what was al that about?) Biro and ticked the box against the book that had the scariest cover. I shakily completed my address and confirmed that yes, my father would pay the money and handed it to the teacher.

Six weeks! I had to wait six-effing-weeks for that book! In that time, I managed to get grounded twice (once for robbing my hard-up parents of a much-needed 70p and another time for scaring a kid on my estate with a story about aliens coming out of the drain covers – you know who you are, Cooky!) and remove the skin from my knees more than once, but it was the longest six weeks of my life.

I will never forget the teacher walking into the classroom with that box of books. And the excitement I felt when it landed on my desk. Before I even read it, I knew that I would be a writer and one day, my book would change a person’s life (maybe not Sugar & Spice eh?) forever.

The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost by Phyllis A.Whitney.

The cover’s changed, but the feeling I got when I saw it, hasn’t. I read that book over a hundred times. It scared me to death. If I could hold it in my hands right now, my Kindle would go out of the window.

I get why people are reluctant to swap real books for e-books. The smell, the feel of the pages, the sound of them turning, the way you can’t wait to come home and pick it up…that stays with you forever.

I never knew how much it meant to my parents to have to scrape the money together to get me that book, I probably never will, but it made me who I am today; and it made me a writer.

I couldn’t believe it when I found it on line. I will be sending the author an email and telling her how she is responsible for my downfall.

But, I digress. I am blathering. The point of this post? Where the heart is.

I have had a book in my head and in my desk drawer for nigh on thirteen, maybe fourteen years. Hell, it’s probably been there as long as I have!

Equilibrium: First blood is a dark, urban fantasy novel; for grown-ups. It isn’t Twilight and it isn’t Interview with a vampire. Hopefully, it is something that no-one was expecting. It is a tale of love, obsession and the price you pay for both. It has vampires (although they don’t sparkle), angels and everything in-between.

My co-author tells me that it is what will make me famous. He also tells me that it will be out before Halloween this year. On both counts, he is hugely optimistic.

But what he is right about, is that it is MY book. If it’s true that everyone has a book in them, then this is mine.

Until I finish it, it won’t let me rest. It won’t let me sleep. Or should I say, Gabrielle and Jess, won’t stop nattering in my brain! It has to be written and I hope, read.

Which actually leads me to the point of this rambling blog.

I have made lots of confessions in the last year.

This one is just another in a looooong line of them to come.

I write fantasy.

I love crime and thrillers and I can’t wait to do the sequel to Sugar & Spice, Puppy Dogs’ tails, with Mark; but the Equilibrium trilogy is what will make me believe that I am truly a writer.

So, how are our readers going to take the news? Will the thousands of people who have bought Sugar & Spice, want to read Eq? Most people stick to a genre. Unless you’re James Patterson and have a licence to print the green stuff, can you cross over to the other side and will loyal followers buy it?

If I had a quid for every time someone had emailed or commented “You need to write another book”, I could retire today. My brother-in-law sat on my lounge floor yesterday and told me that I “need to get my pen out!”

But what will come out when I do? And will everyone like it? Can a writer cross genres successfully?

Who knows? I guess we’ll find out. But d’ya know what? If I see Equilibrium out there and ONE person tells me that it made them feel the way I felt about The Crimson Ghost – I won’t care.


*annnnnd breathe* 😉

Leave a comment


  1. jake barton

     /  March 27, 2011

    This piece convinced me, as if I needed convincing, of your credentials as a writer. If asked directly what I do, I never say ‘writer’ – I just mumble, ‘nothing much’ and change the subject. You should say ‘I’m a writer’ with pride, never mind any other means of paying the bills, they’re just jobs. What you are is a ‘writer.’ Say it loud, say it proud, say it often.
    I’ve got three books out now, all doing well, all crime fiction. The book I ‘want’ to write is a Historical, the research being 95% of the pleasure. I’ll write it, one day. Saffi, go with what the voices in your head are saying. I’ll want to read it, there that’s one sale already!
    Good blog this. I use my own blog to try out different ideas, potential books. I have those voices in my head too.

    • Well said, Jake.

      I’m determined to stretch Saffi’s skills way beyond mere thriller and fantasy genres before our partnership ends!

      For the record, Equilibrium will be launching on Kindle on September 30th, in the hope of grabbing the Halloween and Christmas market. and giving all those new Kindle owners something fresh to download in the new year.

      And before that we have the first of the Rose Red series due on Kindle this summer.

      You’re absolutely right, researching for historical novels is 95% of the pleasure. I have several on the go and one almost finished, but would dearly love to bring Saffi’s magic touch to them.

      Unfortunately she’s not yet convinced, but ‘m working on her.

      As for other genres – lit fiction, romance, sci-fi, children’s, you name it, I’m up for it, and I’m determined to use Saffi’s skills to best advantage over countless genres in the future. Whether she likes it or not!

      We’re writers. We write because we have stories to tell.

      There’s no rule book that says we have to stick to one genre.

      But until now there have been agents and publishers who have stipulated just that, for sound commercial reasons.

      Play safe, write what will sell on your name. There’s no room on the shelves in Watersone’s for writers to experiment, and the cost of publishing a book is just too high to justify the risk.

      But in the brave new world of e-publishing the e-shelves have room for an infinite number of books, and the cost of experimenting is just the writer’s time.

      At this stage we anyway don’t even have an agent, let alone a publisher.

      But if and when one or both ever come along and the small matter of contracts arises, our freedom to write what we want to give our readers will be non-negotiable.

    • Don’t we all, Jake… 😉 Some are louder and shoutier than others. Listen to them. 😉

  2. Thanks for sharing, Saffina!


  3. Well Saffi I reckon you could do almost anything! Remember my favourite phrase 😀

    The thing about being a writer, is that your imagination never stops. We are just vessels along for the ride, just mechanisms for our thoughts to come out of.

    All the best with what ever you do

  4. Update to the above post: Sadly, Phyllis A Whitney passed away in 2008 at the grand old age of 104!

    I was going to write and tell her what an inspiration she had been, now I guess she’ll never know. Maybe I will mention her in a book one day.

    R.I.P x

  5. Hi nice reading yyour blog


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