“I’ve Been Doing This Thing” – H.P. Munro Guest Blog

3 Jun

hp munroToday’s guest blog comes from Edinburgh-based author, H.P. Munro, who’s been having rather a good year so far. Her début novel Silver Wings made the shortlist for the Goldies in the Historical Fiction category, while her third novel Stars Collide (released at the end of May) is currently sitting pretty in the number one spot on the UK and US LesFic Amazon charts.

H.P. is a relative newcomer to the site, and she has a bit of a confession to make…

~ ~ ~

“I have something to tell you, I’ve been doing this thing.”

As it turns out, this is not the opening gambit you should adopt when trying to tell your wife that for the past year you’ve been moonlighting as a fanfiction writer and have created a bit of a following.

silver-wings-h-p-munro-paperback-cover-artFor years, friends and I would lament that there weren’t enough romcom-type lesbian fiction books out there. In my twenties I giggled along with the rest of the planet at the escapades of Bridget Jones and had people move seats away from me on the bus while I guffawed happily at one of Catherine Alliot’s hapless characters. However, when I started to read lesbian fiction it seemed every book I read had either dark undercurrents or characters with damaged pasts. I like a good drama as much as anyone, but it’s nice to balance it off with a bit of light relief now and again.

At one point during one of these such conversations I boldly announced, “I reckon I could have a bash at that.” Once sober, I realised that despite having an often overactive imagination (and one failed attempt at a fantasy novel during my teens) I had no experience of writing anything other than reports for work and the odd cheque.

A while later I stumbled across fanfiction by accident. Now, I like to think of it as a bit like a speakeasy club that you need to follow clues to find and know the knock sequence to get in, or perhaps like the Masons (I’m totally going to invent a handshake now).

It wasn’t until I read a few that my previous declaration came back to me, and so, with tentative steps, I wrote my first fic.
I know a number of authors have started out in a similar vein, and I guess – a bit like comedians working the clubs – you really learn your craft, as your audience responds very quickly, and quite often rather vocally, about what you’re doing right or wrong. In those early days I took on every bit of advice I was given, I found a network of incredibly talented writers to chat to and, bit by bit, my confidence built.

grace fallsAt the time I was spending a lot of time travelling, I was miserable away from home and my only salvation was immersing myself in the little fictional worlds that I created. It was only when I stopped travelling but realized I wanted to continue writing that I thought I should perhaps share what I’d been doing with my wife…why keep it a secret, I hear you cry….to be honest, at the start I was embarrassed, and then as things progressed I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick at it (two guitars, a gym ball, Wii fit and countless other remnants of passing interests are evidenced in our house). I’m incredibly lucky to have an understanding and supportive wife, who didn’t cuff me around the ear but simply asked to read what I’d written and also whether there was anything else she should know, like was I also masquerading as Batgirl (totally am).

It was only after my wife asked what I was going to do with the stories that I’d written that I considered doing something else with them. I’d always gone down the AU route simply because, although I used the characters, I sort of liked to play with them in different eras and scenarios (similar to when, as a child, my Sindy doll had a crew-cut, wore Action Man’s clothes and spoke with a Russian accent). And so began my journey to remove both the traces of their origins and the self-imposed shackles of working with existing characters. I was able to breathe new life into characters I created, give them a different voice and mould them into the people I wanted them to be.

stars collideAnd so here I am today. I have stepped out fully from the shadows. When I say fully, I mean that I still go bright red and umm and ahh when my wife proudly announces to friends and family that I have a new book out. But my eighty-one-year-old mum has read them (that made for an interesting lunch the day after, I can tell you!), as have both my sisters, straight and gay friends, and only this week I was asked by my head of department how my books were going.

Four years on, and it would appear I’m still doing this thing.

~ ~ ~

To keep up with all the news on H.P. and her books, head to her blog, or her Facebook page.

 

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