For genre-jumping local author Mandy White, writing is about doing what she loves to do.
“I’ve always been interested in writing,” she said. “As a teenager I did a lot of writing, like short stories.”
Over the years, she’s held a number of different jobs, never focusing too much on her writing. That was, until she hit the age of 40 and decided that her years putting off a writing career should come to an end.
“When is ‘some day’ going to come?” she remembers asking herself.
Her writing career began with the ghost-writing of other peoples’ books, through freelancing over the internet. These were mainly self-help books of various subjects.
“It’s good enough for them to put their name on it and sell it,” she said, reasoning that she should do the same.
White completed her first book, The Jealousy Game, about a year ago. Much to her chagrin, it was an instant online success.
“I thought it was this horrible dark thing I’d never want to see again,” she said, adding that she’s since come to be proud of it.
The Jealousy Game is a loose non-fiction account of relationships she’s been a part of, blended with other people’s experiences.
“It’s all rooted in truth,” she said.
In addition to real-life accounts of things it includes relationship advice, such as how to identify the jealous type of boyfriend that women should avoid.
Although it’s received excellent reviews, White said that she didn’t aspire to become known as an author of such books.
So, for her second effort, The Immigrant, she switched gears and dug out an old sci-fi short story from her archives of work.
Re-writing the short work, she turned it into a novella. The book surrounds the adventures of an immigration officer who takes in aliens from other planets.
“The really good ones come from dreams,” she said, adding that The Immigrant was one of her many works to originate as a strange thought that came to her in her sleep.
“It developed until it was too long to be a short story.”
She describes the novella as strange, sprinkled with gross-outs and humour.
“And it makes you think,” she said.
For her third book, Avenging Annabelle, she switched gears again. This time around, she wrote in a style more akin to the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
The novel is set in Honeymoon Bay, where she lived before relocating to Youbou.
“It’s such a great little place to be, and to raise your kids,” she said. “They say draw on what you know, so I put it right here.”
Although the book reads favourably about Honeymoon Bay, there are some extremely dark undertones to the book.
Also inspired by a dream, the novel surrounds a father’s coping with his missing daughter, with his dreams hinting at who her murderer is.
“It’s no walk in the park,” White said, of the novel.
Chapter two is dedicated to the history of Honeymoon Bay, and Chapter 10 includes mention of the real-life disappearance of local man Darreld Rayner, who was last seen leave his Lake Cowichan home for a walk in May of 2007.
The story is used with permission from Rayner’s family.
Although Avenging Annabelle has yet to be released, there’s already some early buzz in the community of Honeymoon Bay. Once it’s released, by the end of July, it will be made available for purchase at the Honeymoon Bay Farmer’s Market.
White is self-releasing the book, using self-publishing company Lulu.
Self-publishing is a means of getting her books out there without dealing with publishing houses.
“A lot of really good novels go through the cracks,” she said.
Publishing houses tend to consider not only whether or not a book is good, but whether or not it can be sold.
For the most part, fiction novels don’t sell very well.
Although her first three self-published works jump between three different genres, there’s at least one thing that links them; sarcasm.
“I have a mildly sarcastic way of saying things at times that has a tendency to come out in my writing and a lot of people find it amusing,” she said.
As for future works, she doesn’t plan to stop writing any time soon, and has many ideas floating about her creative mind.
“I wish life were like writing, because with writing you can go back and edit and delete things if you make a mistake or say something stupid,” she said.
Some chapters of Avenging Annabelle are already available on the internet, at www.facebook.com, through a search of “Author Mandy White.”