I started writing the first book in my Dark Legacy series, Dark Legacy (formerly titled Inherited Darkness), toward the end of 1999. It was my first attempt at writing anything for quite a number of years. Back then, vampire movies and books were scarce, but on the rise with authors like Anne Rice and Laurell K Hamilton making their mark in the dark fantasy reader market.
As my children were at an age where they were more self-sufficient, and I was still, at that time, a stay at home mom, I was able to devote many hours sitting humbly in front of my, then, typewriter and pounding away at the keys hoping to produce something that was, at least, half readable. My imagination ran wild, and in eight months I had the plot laid out and ready to transfer to our new computer (Ah, the joys of a backspace key).
I worked diligently getting everything I'd typed on paper onto the pristine, white sheets of the computer screen and in a few weeks had my electronic version ready to revise. At the time (it was now late 2000), my story sat at 120,000 words and almost 600 pages. There was a lot to be done to bring it up to a publishable standard.
I conscientiously backed up my novel onto a 3 inch floppy disk (no USBs to store electronic material onto back then), and as my story progressed I found that I was running out of space. I really wanted to keep my MS on one disk, so my eldest daughter showed me how to compress my work onto the disk to make more space.
In June of 2002, we were robbed.
It was a bleak, rainy Tuesday, and I was working at my brother’s used bookstore for the day. My girls were at school and no one, but our cat, was at home. The robbers levered the back door, which had a locked screen door with three locks and a solid wood door with deadlock and a key lock, out of the jamb and dropped it in the wet yard. They took everything – even the blender from under the kitchen sink.
The only copy I had of my story was on the compressed floppy disk, and a partially printed hard copy.
It took several weeks to finalize the insurance claim, and while I waited and stressed, I hoped the thieves had wiped the hard drive rather than go through the files to see what was there. What if they found my story and decided to do something with it? It was highly unlikely, I know, but I couldn't help wonder. My baby had been stolen!
When we finally set up our new computer (with an updated version of Windows) it wouldn't read the floppy disk. Computer jargon appeared on the screen in place of pages of text. I was beside myself. Apart from being robbed, and worrying about the fact that my story was in the hands of unscrupulous criminals (perhaps a little dramatic), now I couldn't read the version I had, nor transfer it to the new computer.
My eldest daughter suggested we go over to my brother's, as he had the older version operating system on his computer, and see if it would work. Because the disk had been compressed, my brother's computer couldn't properly read it either. What I ended up with was part story in text and part in computer jargon. I was almost ready to give up in defeat. Almost. I'd worked long and hard on that story, burning the midnight oil as they say, and I wasn't about to let some minor set back (well, perhaps not so minor) stop me now.
With what I had in hard copy and the rest on a new floppy disk, I was able to painstakingly piece together the whole story and transfer it onto our new computer.
Yes, it was eleven years in the making (due to the robbery, work commitments, and life) by the time it was published, but it was worth it the day I actually got to hold my book in my hands, with some tears of joy.
The bottom line – NEVER give up on your dreams.