First Words…

Hi, I’m Nina Croft and for my first post on Through Heart-Shaped Glasses, I thought I would say a little about how I first started writing and my first book.

I didn’t write when I was younger; probably because I was too busy reading. Then, at the age of twenty-seven, I found myself living in a remote village on the banks of Lake Kariba in Zambia. And almost totally bookless.Lake Kariba at sunset

For the previous few years, I’d been working in London as an accountant. I was bored and restless (I wanted life to be more like the books I read!) and in desperate need of some sun and some excitement. So together with my brand new husband, I signed on with a charitable organization sending volunteers all over the world.

img016Lake Kariba is a man-made lake formed when the Zambezi River was dammed in the 1950s. We were working for a charity helping the people displaced when the dam was built and their homes flooded. They were subsistence farmers and fishermen, living in villages dotted along the edge of the lake, and much of my time was spent whizzing around in boats (dodging hippos and crocodiles!)

It was a stunningly beautiful place, but very remote, with no electricity, no TV, no internet and very limited access to books (and this was way before kindles!). For someone used to reading a book a day, it wasn’t long before I was suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Even food was a logistical nightmare. A boat ride away was a small supermarket. Unfortunately, it rarely stocked food; on a good day you could buy toilet rolls and toothpaste. We could order beef locally, but it tended to arrive still warm and with the hoof still attached—a little off-putting. Then there was the local dried fish—kapenta—the most disgustingly smelly stuff to ever come out of the water…

Obviously, I needed something to take my mind off the lack of food and books. What I did have was an extremely large laptop provided by the charity (and powered by a solar panel) and it occurred to me that my only solution was to write my own stories. And that started my first venture into writing and resulted in my first partial submission to Harlequin (several years later) called, The Best of Intentions. Sadly (but not surprisingly) it was rejected but with a very positive letter and a compliment slip for if I wanted to try again.

That was my first attempt at writing, but definitely not my last. So are there any major changes in your life that have made you take up something for the very first time?

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About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

14 Responses to First Words…

  1. Annah Schoonover says:

    It looks and sounds like a beautiful place to find inspiration.

  2. Moira says:

    Very inspiring Nina. My life changes that inspired me to write seem to be the very things that make it difficult to find time to keep up with it.

  3. Fascinating story! My tale on how I started writing is quite dull in comparison.

  4. Bethanne says:

    …hmmm. A change. There’s always a change, I guess, even if it’s mental. 🙂 I did study English Lit in college and after three years of lots of stuff that was fun to study, but not exactly leisure reading–like Greek Mythology, I just wanted something fun. So I started reading romance.

    It wasn’t too long after that when I decided to try my hand at writing. Oh! And my husband had gone and started his own accounting business and bought a computer. 😀 The change that started it all, you could say.

  5. Such a cool story! I went to school for writing, but I wanted to write non-fiction. When my professor assigned us to write a short story, I wasn’t happy. I wrote the story. It was terrible, but she the professor scribbled, “Hang on to this story” across the top of it. A few years later, I turned it into a novel. I never tried to sell that first book, but I learned so much from writing it, and I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

  6. Very interesting!

    I actually first took up writing when I quit my job and became a stay-at-home mom.

  7. Sutton Fox says:

    What a fascinating journey you’ve had, Nina. Very cool. 🙂

  8. Crocodiles? Oh my…Since I am so not a water person, I can’t imagine even contemplating doing anything involving crocodiles…I’d definitely need to escape in a good fantasy too. What an inspiring story and proof that if those stories need to get out, they’ll find a way! 🙂

  9. I just love it when you talk about your journey. It’s just fascinating to me considering I’ve done little traveling and what I have done was tame compared to your adventures. Especially where you are now. *dreamy sigh*

  10. Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

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