My Journey to Publication – J.A. Dowsett

This month I’ve asked a number of our authors to share their writing and publishing journeys with you, so I thought I should also share my own. The story of how Mirror World Publishing came to be is fairly well known at this point, so I’ve decided instead to write about my publishing dream and the road I’ve been on since I first learned to write:

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve told this story on this blog before, but I remember visiting bookstores and libraries when I was young and taking the time to pinpoint the exact spot on the shelves of the science fiction/fantasy section that my name would one day appear. Being published was my dream. It still is. 

I started writing with any seriousness in elementary school. Grade 7, I think. The first project I can remember was a soap opera style script whose characters took inspiration from every kid in my class at the time. The next one that really took off was a middle grade series I started writing in Grade 9 called ‘The Forest Temple Chronicles’ about a group of anthropomorphic cat people living in a castle together. Sounds somewhat silly now, but I finished the first two novels before moving on to other things and I honestly had a lot of fun writing them and learned a lot. 

I have a few other ‘failed’ novels and a bunch of shorter stories which I wrote just for fun or to practice writing, or some because I hoped they would become finished books worth publishing. Conversely my first book, Neo Central, I didn’t intend to be a book at all. It was originally a written roleplaying game on a forum a friend invited me to and something my sister and I did to pass the time. 

Crimson Winter, my science fiction trilogy, was written because I wanted to preserve the memory of the story of another roleplaying game my friend Adam Giles ran for us. However, among other lessons, writing it taught me that I do indeed have what it takes to be an author and gave me the motivation I needed to pursue publication for real. 

I self published Crimson Winter after a number of rejections from traditional publishing houses and only a few nibbles from agents because I concluded that the story was perhaps a little too niche, being an anime-style novel. At the time, I liked to attend anime conventions and I thought I could sell the books there, along with Neo Central, which I had rewritten and edited. 

A few years later, Murandy and I teamed up again to write the Mirror Worlds series, which you can read all about here.

Mirror’s Hope was the first book we published as Mirror World Publishing, followed by The Watcher series by Joshua Pantalleresco, Forbidden by Matthew Freake, and our own Mirror’s Heart. From there, things expanded quickly and we went on to write several more fantasy romance novels and even some short stories and novellas. 

It’s been a long road so far and certainly not always an easy one, but I’m glad I can say that I followed my dream and I’m lucky enough to get to live it every single day.

Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of ten novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

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