Lizzie Harwood: Why I write
Lizzie Harwood originates from New Zealand and has lived in/near Paris for the past 15 years. As an editor and writing coach at www.editordeluxe.com, she helps writers finish their books and see them published! Her books include Triumph: Collected Stories, her memoir, Xamnesia: Everything I Forgot in My Search for an Unreal Life, and she has contributed to multiple anthologies. She’s currently writing a 7-part book suspense series, Polaroids. Check out www.lizzieharwoodbooks.com for book news.
Why do I write? I started listening to this inner need to write when I was a teenager but to be honest, it was only at the end of 2014 that I decided to put what I’ve written out there. For some of the intervening 30 years it was more of a refuge or place I could go to figure things out and express things.
After 18 years of writing and submitting to agents, of having an agent but then parting ways with my agent, of waiting for external approval, I changed my mindset and became an indie author. Best decision ever.
I published a collection of short stories first – to test the waters – called Triumph. As Rudyard Kipling said, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same.” It went on to being an Amazon bestseller for a few days. It’s reached the Kindles of over 20,000 readers.
Then came the big one, Xamnesia, a memoir I’d sweated over for 7 years and 10 rewrites that scared me silly – I worried publishing it would destroy me – but I did it and guess what? I didn’t die. Nobody died. It is being read by people around the world, and I’m so happy to hear readers’ reactions to it… because it’s a memoir about how it’s okay if you don’t have it all together. That taking a risk won’t kill you. It’s a positive journey in the end even if parts of it read like a trial by fire. (It’s a travel memoir of working for the rich and infamous throughout my twenties until eventually emerging in Paris and locating my sense of self.)
Next I’m working on a series of suspense thrillers, some women’s fiction, a time travel romance series, a children’s chapter book series, and figuring out how to package a bunch of murder mystery dinner parties I have sitting around. And another memoir to follow Xamnesia, about my past 15 years in/near Paris. I am that author who writes in about 6 different genres because I can’t restrict myself to just one. The book I started writing as a teenager was actually a science fiction fantasy called Arealmia. (But it was pretty bad. It’s not launching anytime soon!)
I love reading and helping others by reviewing and sharing their news. What used to be a very solitary industry has transformed into the biggest best non-stop party. I love that about how book publishing has radically shifted.