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Why Dark Legacy Was Almost Never Published

I started writing Dark Legacy (formerly titled 'Inherited Darkness') in 2000. It was my first attempt at writing anything for quite a number of years. Back then, vampire movies and books were scarce, but on the rise with authors like Anne Rice (who I've never read, believe it or not) and Laurell K Hamilton making their mark in the dark fantasy reader market. 

As my children were at an age where they didn't need me to do everything for them any longer, and I was still, at that time, a stay at home mum, I was able to devote many hours sitting humbly in front of my, then, typewriter and pounding away at the keys hoping to produce something that was, at least, half readable (to begin with). My imagination ran rampant, and in eight months I had the plot laid out and ready to transfer to our new computer (Ah, the joys of a backspace button). 

I worked diligently getting everything I'd typed on paper onto the pristine, white sheets on the computer screen and in a few weeks had my now electronic version ready to revise. At the time (it was now late 2001), my story sat at 120,000 words and almost 600 pages. There was a lot to be done to get it up to standard.

Because it's important to backup your work, I conscientiously copied my novel onto a 3 inch floppy disk (no USBs to store electronic material onto back then), and as my story progressed I found that I was running out of space. I really wanted to keep my MS on one disk, so my eldest daughter showed me how to compress my work onto the disk to make more space.

In June of 2002, we were robbed. It was a bleak, rainy Tuesday, and I was helping my brother (for love) by working in his used bookstore for the day. My girls were at school and no one, but our cat, was at home. The robbers leavered my back door, which has a screen door with three locks and a solid wood door with deadlock and a key lock, out of the jamb and laid it in the wet yard. They took everything -- even the blender from under the kitchen sink. 

The only copy I had of my story was on the compressed floppy disk, and a partially printed hard copy. 

It took several weeks to finalise the insurance claim, and while I waited and stressed, I hoped the thieves had wiped the harddrive rather than go through the files to see what was there. What if they found my story and decided to do something with it? It was highly unlikely, I know, but I couldn't help wonder. My baby had been stolen! 

When we finally set up our new computer (with an updated version of Windows) it wouldn't read the floppy disk. Computer jargon appeared on the screen in place of my novel. I was beside myself. Apart from being robbed, and worrying about the fact that my story was in the hands of unscrupulous criminals (perhaps a little dramatic), now I couldn't read the version I had, nor transfer it to the new computer. What was I going to do?

My daughter suggested we go to my brother's, as he had the older version operating system on his computer. Because the disk had been compressed, my brother's computer couldn't read it properly either. What I ended up with was part story in text and part in computer jargon. I was almost ready to give up in defeat. Almost. I'd worked long and hard on that story, burning the midnight oil as they say, and I wasn't about to let some minor set back (well, perhaps not so minor) stop me now. With what I had in hard copy and the rest on a new floppy disk, I was able to painstakingly piece together the whole story and transfer it onto our new computer.

Yes, it was eleven years in the making (due to the robbery and work commitments) by the time it was published, but it was worth it the day I actually got to hold my book in my hands, with some tears of joy. 

The bottom line ― NEVER give up your dreams!


©  2014 M. A. Anderson
Brisbane, Australia

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Comment by Maggie Anderson on April 16, 2014 at 12:16am

Thank you, 4-LAN and Dormaine G for your kind comments and support. It is greatly appreciated. I'm glad I didn't give up. I had thought about it after everything that happened. Have a great week!

Comment by 4-LAN on April 15, 2014 at 10:18am

Glad you were determined to see your endeavors through their fruition :-)

Comment by Dormaine G on April 13, 2014 at 10:46pm

What a sad but wonderful story to share. Floppy disk, that goes way back. I'm glad you never gave up on your dreams.

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