“I always loved writing during my school years, especially about subjects close to my heart, like science and technology.
I kept many notebooks filled with drawings and short fiction stories that I would rewrite over and over until I was happy with the result.
However, I had so many other interests and hobbies, so I did not see writing as something I should pursue; instead, I considered it a pastime. I concentrated on my university degree, passion for software programming, and astronomy projects.
As the years passed, and I kept myself busy with my work and family life, working on software development, reading avidly, listening to music, travelling, learning new languages, sky-watching and joining astronomy-related events, the idea of writing a book never left my mind. I wondered, “What If I write about something I am passionate about?”; “What if I do it in a science-fiction setting and let my imagination flow without limits?” The prospect excited me, but then I realised that in order to write my book, I had to change my way of life and alter all my schedules and priorities. One thought kept me going during this transformation: “If writing is something you enjoy, then you should do it.”
On a blank page, I wrote a list of the advantages and disadvantages of spending my time writing a book, and I stuck it to the wall in my office at home so I could see it every day. I started to set myself small targets that I could achieve every weekend, and I congratulated myself when I did. The creation process was so enjoyable and satisfying that I had to write something every evening after dinner. It did not take long to take my writing seriously. I had a lot of ideas, and the more I thought about them, the more ideas came. Seeing all my ideas come to life in the form of written words on a document was such a relief. Then, after that, I could not stop.
Above: Omara Williams spent five years bringing her debut novel, The Space Traveller’s Lover, to market. Despite the hard work, her book hit the international bestselling charts and its publication changed Omara’s life.
Although I had already envisioned the book’s central theme when I started writing, some of the subplots and characters came to me as I developed the story. It was very satisfying to see the characters develop their unique personalities as the book progressed, to the point that they became indispensable to the whole drama. As I put the characters in dire situations, I imagined myself in their place and felt their emotions as they struggled to solve every problem that came their way.
I had so many characters and storylines that it was challenging to organise the entire book. I sketched every scene setting, every piece of machinery, and every characters’ physique. Then, I made a wall chart where I could place carton cards containing a summary of each chapter to set up a storyboard from the initial, middle and final scenes.
Once I completed the manuscript, I reviewed it multiple times for story consistency and fluency [See our guide to Developmental Book Editing for more information – Ed]. I spent long hours refining the sequence, dialogue and characters until everything fell into place, and I was satisfied with the storyline and the messages I wanted to convey to my readers. I worked with a professional illustrator who transcribed my drawings into beautiful pictures and submitted the final book version to a professional line editor who designed the interior and arranged the paragraphs. I also organised reading sessions with family and friends, who gave me valuable feedback.
I designed the book cover, ensuring it conveyed the story’s essence and showcased one of the events described in my book. After that, reviewing and submitting the final document proofs for printing was time-consuming and nerve-racking as I wanted everything to be perfect.
Seeing my book listed on all major online retailers worldwide gave me an immense sense of achievement. In one second, I could see all five years of hard work realised.
But then came the most difficult part: Marketing. I had no idea about it and had been warned early during the publishing stage of possible scams. That is why I thoroughly researched book marketing companies and talked to the shortlisted ones before committing to any project. As it turned out, deciding to work with Palamedes PR, with in-depth reviews and author interviews, was crucial for my book’s successful marketing campaign across the UK, increasing its visibility and appeal.
Let your imagination flow as you write, and enjoy every moment. Then, you can work on the storyline and the characters.
I am incredibly grateful to my readers, who have sent me many encouraging messages and posted fantastic reviews online. I am overwhelmed by the attention and praise that my book has attracted, and I am honoured after receiving the 2023 Book Excellence Awards and The Global Book Awards in the Science-Fiction Romance category.
Publishing my first book was an amazing challenge, as I had to do it while working full-time. It took me five years to see my book project finished, and I hope readers find it as fascinating as I do. Having self-published my book is a significant achievement for me. When I first started, it seemed an impossible task. Now that it’s complete, I am very proud to be an accomplished science-fiction author. It was definitely worth the effort, the time and the expense.
As much a romance as a science fiction thrilling adventure, The Space Traveller’s Lover is fast-paced, questioning, and ultimately a story of triumph against all odds. It is a journey of self-discovery and coming of age, as the central character has to fight for the values she holds dear while confronting unimaginable forces she never knew existed.
I definitely have some advice for aspiring authors. It may be daunting at the start when you have no idea whether your project will succeed, but don’t give up; don’t stop writing. Your ideas will flow one step at a time, and you will see them taking shape in your manuscript. What a joy! Let your imagination flow as you write, and enjoy every moment. Then, you can work on the storyline and the characters. Set your goals and celebrate every milestone that you achieve.