Eva Verde has always enjoyed writing but kept her dream of being an author a secret, until studying Creative Writing at The Open University (OU) made her dreams a reality. Eva tells us about her journey from OU student to published author.
I’ve been writing since I can remember, but it wasn’t until I started studying Creative Writing at the OU when I was 35, that I had the urge to take my hobby more seriously. I had incredibly supportive tutors, who inspired me to push my skills further and see how far I could take them. My confidence grew along the way, and in the end, I was like a dog with a bone, I had a great idea for a book and just had to give it my best shot.
Before I became an author, I’d worked various jobs including being a secretary, but it was just work really, it wasn’t a career. I had my family and was a stay-at-home mum, putting all my time and energy into being the best parent I could. It was a wonderful time in my life, as they became my world. However, when they went to school, I felt lost and wasn’t sure who I was beyond my children. So, my children went to school and so did I – I needed another shot at re-educating myself.
Never give up on your dreams
I’d always loved writing, but it had been my secret – it was frightening to enrol and make my first step official; I feared that I wouldn’t be good enough. Yet, it didn’t take me long to realise that it was the right path for me and lifted my confidence. I didn’t envisage that I’d become a published author, I just knew that it was a world I wanted to be part of.
I did a short story for one of my assignments. The voice, the character, she just wouldn’t leave. I found myself constantly scribbling about other parts of her character and thinking about what her life could be like. It was very scrappy until the Brexit referendum. I found myself angry, and it was a great way to channel my frustration into something more positive.
I had many knocks and rejections along the way, but as I said, I was like a dog with a bone, and wouldn’t give up. I really believed in my story, so I pushed it and pushed it. Every time I got a rejection, I’d cry and lick my wounds, then it would be right how do I make this better?
I was fortunate enough to eventually get a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster, and my debut novel ‘Lives Like Mine’ is out now. It’s very exciting, it’s gone from a story that has been just mine, to a story I can now share with others. It’s a wonderful thing – I feel very lucky.
It’s a dream come true and one that the OU has made a reality. It’s no underestimation to say that it’s been truly life-changing and my qualification has opened so many doors. I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of studying with the OU.
My advice for other budding authors is to go for it, don’t worry about failure, it doesn’t matter, it’s all about you and your own journey. Give yourself the chance to succeed and fly, because you never know what your journey could become. You’ve got to be brave enough to start it.
Eva’s debut novel, ‘Live Like Mine’ is available to buy now: https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Lives-Like-Mine/Eva-Verde/9781398502826
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About studying Creative Writing at the OU