Sweden is a small country where about ten million people live. It’s a cold country with temperatures rarely climbing over 85 F (25 C) during the summer, and the winters can last up to six months, depending on where in Sweden you live. I moved here from Poland in 1985 with my mother and younger brother. I spent my summer holidays in Poland, but I grew up and went to school in Sweden. Swedish quickly became my main language.

 

All children in Sweden learn English in school. I started in fourth grade, and I’ve never had any big issues with it. I’m fluent in Polish, Swedish, and English, but I’ve also studied German, Sign Language, and Japanese. Today, I’m studying Korean, mostly for the fun of it, but also because I’ve always wanted to be fluent in at least one more language. I’ve always had my eyes set on Asian languages because Asia has always fascinated and interested me.

 

 

My dream of becoming an author
Becoming an author has always been my big dream. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and my head has always been filled with stories. My imagination has always been great and coming up with stories has never been an issue, instead, I have the issue of having too many books to write and too little time. Even if my imagination has always been on top, my writing skills required a lot of work. When I look back today, I can only laugh at how bad my writing used to be, but at the same time, it’s exciting to see how I’ve evolved and to see how I’m still evolving.

 

Author school
When I was a child, I just wrote, without any thoughts on grammar, spelling, and so on. The important thing was that writing was fun. The rest would come with time, and it did. When I became a teenager, I reached a level where I wanted to learn more.

 

The answer? An author school.

 

In the late 90’s, the school cost about 9000 SEK, which is about 1000 US dollars today. Back then, that was a lot of money, but I was determined and decided to do it. Even though I didn’t get what I expected from the school, I’m still happy I took the course. It showed me what I could become, but English was still not on my list. It wasn’t until my early thirties that writing in English became interesting when Amazon and self-publishing came into the picture. Back then, my mind was set on becoming published traditionally because there was no other option.

 

Doomed to fail from the start?
Even if I wanted to be traditionally published, I honestly never really tried. Sure, I sent my scripts to a few publishing houses and hoped for a miracle, but I mostly felt out of place every time I sent them in. Mostly because I wrote fantasy, a genre that was extremely small in Sweden back then. You’d find authors like Robert Jordan. J.R.R Tolkien, and so on, on the bookshelves but barely any Swedish fantasy authors. There were only a handful of them and it was obvious my chances of success were slim, very slim. Then there also was the issue that hardly any publishing houses even focused on fantasy. Those who did usually had another genre as their main genre.

 

Even today, fantasy, and genres like romance, science fiction, and so on, are still small, but they are slowly growing. Ebooks are still not on most peoples to-read-lists. Most people still prefer printed books. Traditional publishing is also still the way to go here, but self-publishing is spreading, and more and more people start their own publishing houses to be able to self-publish. It’s a popular way to go for authors who write fantasy, romance, and so on in Sweden.

 

 

English coming into the picture
Writing in English hasn’t always been obvious to me. For a long time, I was against it, and my mind was set on becoming a Swedish author, but when I realized how difficult that was going to be and when I heard of Amazon and self-publishing, I became interested in improving my English. It was obvious my chances of becoming traditionally published were non-existent back then, and since I no longer write in Swedish, I guess I’d never find out if the chance is still there or not.

 

I realized English was the language I had to know to achieve my dreams. It’s an international language after all, and being able to speak it opened new doors. I already knew English quite well when I started my company Sense of Romance in 2013, but writing a book in English was a completely different story. That year, I probably read about sixty books to learn grammar, expressions, punctuation, and more.

 

Educating myself became my main focus, but it often felt like I was walking around in circles. Back then, self-publishing authors didn’t have half of all the material, courses, and programs they have access to today to help them. For instance, I had to figure out how to apply for an EIN or an ITIN be able to publish on Amazon. That alone was a nightmare. I had to call the IRS from Sweden – a different timezone. I got to speak to a nice lady, but it wasn’t the easiest to figure out what she was saying because of all the terms and words she used that I wasn’t familiar with. Thankfully, all you need today is a VAT-number. 

 

The first book I ever published in English was “Angel in Chains”. It’s about an angel who’d been imprisoned in a cave by an evil warlock for about two hundred years. One day, a woman finds him, and the story starts. Today, that book is no longer available, but as soon as it’s been re-edited, it will be live on Amazon again.

 

That book taught me a lot about how to, and how not to, write in English. I still use a dictionary sometimes if I’m unsure of an expression or a word, and I’m aware that I still have a lot to learn, but slowly, I’ll get there!

 

It’s no longer just a dream
Today, thanks to my decision to start writing in English, I have options I would’ve never had if I’d remained within the Swedish language. Sweden is a good country but limits you if you want to succeed as an author, especially if you can’t afford book fairs, printed books, and so on, and especially if you write genres that aren’t popular in Sweden. English opened new doors for me, and today, I finally see my dream of becoming a full-time author as a reality. With plenty of hard work, patience, and stubbornness, it’s no longer a question of IF. It’s a question of WHEN.