From physiotherapist to published novelist

Megan White loved to write during high school and university, but always in a wishful way. It was only after taking the course Creative Writing Stage 1 that she realised she could take her love of fiction further.

Creative Writing Stage 1 taught me how to write a scene which instantly changed the way I looked at writing,” Megan told us. “Having a little knowledge in craft meant I could begin to take writing a little more seriously. It meant that becoming a writer felt more attainable as something you could learn and practice and less about being a natural prodigy.”

Megan went on to complete the courses: Historical Fiction and Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers. As a result, her debut novel, The Anatomy of Songs, is out now with New Dawn Publishing.

“Integrating everything I had learnt, I began the manuscript that was eventually picked up by my publisher and I have continued writing from there.”

A passion for writing

Although she loved writing, it was something Megan kept separate from her life as a physiotherapist. “Studying a degree in physiotherapy was incredibly interesting but I found I was never as passionate about the career as those around me. This had been what they had been working towards for so long, while I was there – but dreaming about other things. They wanted this in the same way I wanted to write. I started thinking about how I could take steps toward that. I considered creative writing degrees or masters study. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the study – I love working now as a physio – and I didn’t want to give up. So I thought, is there a way for me to taste test what studying creative writing would be like?”

Megan enrolled in Creative Writing Stage 1, a step which finally allowed her to take her writing seriously.

“If you are putting time and income into a course then you are demonstrating some vested interest. If I could commit to something like a course, then that same discipline and commitment could be applied to writing an actual book.”

Megan continued to write in secret, but now she had the skills and the community to support her as she worked on the manuscript for The Anatomy of Songs.

“I spent evenings writing and editing, tucked away in my apartment,” she says. “There was no one in my life at that time that knew about my writing dreams. I used to sit up in my pillow-fort of a bed and type, weighed down by five blankets. It was the place most of the manuscript was written. Sending your manuscript was classically nerve wracking, but beta readers and the AWC courses served to encourage me to try the querying process.”

Combining her two loves

Not surprisingly, Megan’s novel is inspired by her love of physiology and anatomy. “The idea behind The Anatomy of Songs came about while studying physiotherapy. I loved the intricate way anatomy and physiology made life. And the idea that, if only one little thing didn’t work in the system, it can fail. Life can end. What immense power over humanity these facts bestow and there are hundreds of ways to use the information to both hurt and heal a person. So, there was my first main character: healer by day, assassin by night, and feeling morally balanced serving both the God of Life and of Death. Until she falls in love with her target.”

Although she loves to daydream, Megan is also very logical. Inspired by author Brandon Sanderson, she set herself a target to be published by her 12th manuscript.

The Anatomy of Songs was number four. I could lose hope but only one third of it. After six months of rejections I had truly put this book behind me and begun planning what was next.”

Megan decided to focus on a new story and a new start in the UK. Then came the call from New Dawn Publishing.

“New Dawn is an independent publishing house based in WA whose details I had been given by an author friend. They wanted to discuss the book further! After a meeting with New Dawn, who have since looked after me fabulously, I signed a contract with them. UK visa already in my hand, I did have to confess I would be leaving the country.”

After coming back to Australia to launch her book, Megan is travelling Europe while working on the sequel to The Anatomy of Songs. “Writing has been the dream for the past eleven years and no matter what happens after release I have learnt so much from the process. I’ve met people and been welcomed into the writing/book community with a fervour you don’t find in many other places.

“Creative Writing Stage 1 was the beginning of my writing career with all its valuable tools, tutors and feedback. Novels are a series of rich scenes with fleshed out characters in vivid settings. This course teaches you exactly that.”

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