When someone suddenly asks me without warning to tell them about myself, I'm often left at a loss for what to say. But if they ask me to write about myself, I can generally come up with what they have in mind.
I was born in County Durham, on the island some refer to as "Britain", some "England", and the rest simply as "the UK". I can honestly say that from the start I was creative, with a three legged cat I drew when I was three having graced my grandmother's living room wall for many a year until her passing (It now graces mine).
Throughout my school career, one dominant thing that has remained constant through all that was my love of drawing, reading, and music. These were often my only solace during my teenage years, where my love of reading and quiet nature made me a constant target for bullies. One bully might be stopped by the teachers, but another was always around the corner. I quickly learned to ignore the taunts and abuse, mostly verbal but sometime physical, and got on with my work. It paid off, and I eventually left school with thirteen GCSEs, an AS, and four A-Levels.
My life has been rather quiet since then, with learning to drive being the main interesting point of the last few years. Despite my good grades I've come across one rather dissapointing lesson in that time... Being good on an academic level doesn't necessarily make it easy to get a job. Something especially true in the current economic climate. The vast majority of good jobs available, require skills or experience I unfortunately do not possess. It's the classic "catch 22", you need experience, but you can't get the job to gain it.
In the end I've worked part time as an office cleaner, a Post Office clerk, and presently a retail assistant. However, my current goal is to certify as a BSL Interpreter, although as yet I still have some years of training to go before I can achieve that.
Now, you might be wondering now where writing books came into all this. Well in truth I've been doing it in some form or other since I first began learning to write, with a number of my teachers in those early years commenting on my love of stories and my creativity. Later I took to thinking stories through in my head, though I never wrote them down. It wasn't until the start of 2005 that I discovered a possible outlet for my imagination, and that was a website called Fanfiction.net. I read stories based on games I'd played, and tv shows I'd watched, for well over a year before the maelstrom of ideas in my own head spurred me into action. I joined the site in mid 2006, putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, for the first time in a setting where my writing would be seen by others.
And so the fanfic writer Alaia Skyhawk was born. Now, seven years later, I have twenty-five stories on the site, some complete and others not, with my total for archived words at now over three million. I owe a great deal to that site, and to the people who have read my stories and given me support through their reviews during these past years. Three of those have become good friends of mine who I talk to regularly, of whom one especially close friend has a character of her devising included in my book, First Strike.
Those years have refined my abilities a great deal and taught me a lot about creative writing... as evidenced by comparing my first work, the early chapters of "Prequel to a Restoration", to my most recent updates on my Merlin stories "A Question of Unity" and "Secret of Frost and Moon".
Today, I look back at that early work and I realise something. It wasn't just my writing that the site and the people who use it had changed, it was myself. Years of bullying had shattered my confidence, but the years of support and stories since then have given it back to me. That brings me to where I am now, at the completion of my first book and the start of several others... Putting pen to paper, to bring to the world the lands that live in my imagination.