Just been battling with a bio for the Authonomy website.  Really hard to write about yourself when you don’t think you done anything interesting in that “climbed Everest” or “crossed Antarctica” sort of way.

This is what it looks like:

I was born in London in a winter of big snow, but was raised in South Africa in a drought.  I decided to be a writer at the age of twelve, since I thought I was better at it than drawing, and proceeded to churn out terrible horror stories for the duration of my teens.  I wrote my first novel when I was nineteen which was utter garbage.  When I was twenty I returned to London and a life of abject poverty and misery.  Pride prevented by from returning to South Africa and I have been chained to London’s sidewalks for decades since.

My writing career lurched from one false start to another.  The first agent I had told me the most important thing in life was to spend all your money on flowers, not food.  The second agent lost my manuscript – a traumatic event since home PCs hadn’t been invented yet.  After that, I just wrote and wrote and wrote:  I wrote novels and short stories which got weirder and weirder and more and more violent until finally I received my millionth rejection slip for a novel I had thought, at the time, was quite good, but know now was just hopeless.

So I decided to study astrophysics instead.  By this time I was divorced, bitter and twisted and working in a bookshop, which is enough to turn anyone off writing forever.  Then, after a very brief moment of madness, my daughter was born in 2000 and my whole life changed.  Very corny, I know, but it allowed my viewpoint to change and passions to arise that had lain hidden.  After a failed attempt to continue my degree and a change of address, I had an “eureka” moment – while in the bath!  I wanted to CREATE.

The sci fi quintet that I’d held in my head for years, the one I was going to write “when I was a writer” suddenly exploded.  I wasn’t GOING to be a writer.  I WAS a writer.  And so I commenced.  All the short stories, every other novel I’d ever written, every book I’d ever read, were all forgotten.  I was moving into territory that had not yet been covered.  I was taking risks.  This wasn’t thinking outside the box inventively:  there was no box.  I taught myself about structure from a “how to write a screenplay” guide and I learnt how to tear out my soul.  I learnt to write until I was hollow.  I wrote until there was nothing left and then I wrote more because there was no going back.

I am unpublished, so far, but I remain prolific.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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2 Responses to Biography

  1. Roy says:

    Also read a good scriptwriting guide last year: Story from Robert McKee. Good luck with your publishing!

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