My Life As A Secret Author

Since I was a little kid, my ambition in life was always to be an author. Whereas other kids wanted to be firemen or train drivers or astronauts, I just wanted to write. I was always losing myself in the fantasy worlds of Tolkien and Rowling and wanted to make one of my own. Through my teenage years playing video games such as GTA and watching mafia films like The Godfather convinced me that I wanted to write in the genre of crime. Slowly the basic plot and characters started to form in my head but I was hesitant to put them into solid form. I was always putting it off, promising to start it after I’d finished my education, or after I was in a solid job, or until I had a family. Then, in my first year of university, I decided to bite the bullet and finally bring my ideas to life.

It was a thrilling experience; watching the words come to life before me and seeing the chapters slowly build up in My Documents. Naturally I didn’t tell anyone other than my parents about my secret project, worried about the reaction such a revelation would generate. Yet that served to increase the thrill, knowing that it was a little secret that I could immerse myself in to escape the stresses of real life.

So by the end of first year I had finished the first draft and gave it to my agent and editor (my dad) to read. We reflected on it and agreed that it was a little shallow and the story slightly unbelievable but the basic elements of a good story were present. The problem was that as I was writing I was developing my skills and experience ‘on the job’ as it were and my final chapters were of noticeably higher quality than the first. So, undaunted, I entered my second year of uni’ and decided to rewrite it.

I had intended just to redo the inferior first half but naturally this developed into a full rewrite and by the end of my second year I had finished the second draft. So once again I presented to my dad for revaluation and he was far more pleased with the finished product. Together we proof-read and re-proofed until we were as satisfied as we could be with the finished product and I decided to take the plunge and publish it.

Earlier in the year I had confessed my secret to one of my lecturers who was also an author, asking her for advice on publishing. She recommended self-publishing through Amazon, a free service that has launched the careers of authors such as Hugh Howley of Wool fame and E.L James the creator of 50 Shades of Grey.

So, with one mass Facebook event, I made my secret life public. All that secrecy was worth the reactions I received on the day of publication, a notable favourite being: ‘David I didn’t even know you could read, let alone write’.

Another common question was how I had found the time to write a 155,000 word novel, and the answer is time management and determination. I found the evenings after dinner to be a productive time for me, allowing me to complete my chores and academic work during the day and then using my writing as a relief from these. Strangely enough I also found exam times to also be very productive. I would do my revision during the day and once again devote the evenings to writing. That way writing was not a chore but a tonic to the rigours of revision, an escape that I could look forward to all day. You also need to set small manageable targets. Having a goal of writing a book is daunting so you need to break it down into manageable chunks. When the ideas are flowing I can write around 500 words an hour so I set a target of 1,000 words a day. That’s around two hours that instead of sitting in front of Facebook or the television I’m being productive and living my dream. If you really want something you have to try and find time for it. Life sure doesn’t make it easy but the feeling of achievement I experienced after clicking ‘Save and Publish’ on Amazon was like nothing else. I enjoyed good sales over the summer and I am very proud to announce that I have recently reached an agreement with Authorhouse Publishing to publish the book in paperback.

So I suppose I should tell you a little bit about the book itself! The title is Innocence Lost and is the first part of a trilogy. It’s a crime/thriller about a Dutch crime family called the Sneijders living in London. The story follows two characters in particular: Matthias, who is head of the family and his nephew, Oscar. The story follows their individual trials and challenges, bringing them all together in what I hope you’ll find to be a very dramatic and shocking ending. I’d like to think there is something for everyone in the book, although naturally writing as a guy and the subject matter do give it a masculine slant but I have had some of my most positive feedback from my female readers. It costs £3.05 which is less than the price of a pint nowadays and will last you a lot longer too. I would love it if you could check it out. You can find it by typing in ‘David McCrae, Innocence Lost’ into Amazon or by searching this link:

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully my book as well!

-David McCrae

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