HERE is the full article.
Now, I would have thought the previous week would have taught people something about newspapers *dry*. Namely, that any chance to sensationalise a story will be snatched at, and that stories/quotes taken out of context can make a person sound truly awful.
Key quotes in the article included: "I need to return to reality", "The internet is poison to authors" and "It's as if authors have to be celebrities these days." These quotes ruffled the feathers of certain authors, it seems.
I was dismayed to see some of the following reactions from people on Twitter:
"She was always very fragile, though, wasn't she, Steph? It does all sound the tiniest bit precious."
"Depends on how thick the author's skin is."
"Strangest article ever - she really doesn't seem to be cut out to be a writer, or understand the modern writer's life."
"She's clearly not cut out for & not interested in writing (dandy). But no point in her being GoH."
"I'm giving it 9months before she's sobbing outside Orion house, shrieking, 'let me back in!'"
I don't know Steph Swainston myself and some/all of the above quotes come from people who do know her, but....well.... here's the thing:
An author decided that she could not commit to producing her best work on a one year schedule and would prefer to spend more time writing each novel. She has decided to retrain as a teacher, which is a great vocation and something our schools are crying out for. She intends to honour her remaining commitment as GoH at Eastercon 2012. And she will still be writing, albeit at her pace.
Is it just me, or do the quotes from fellow authors make it sound FAR FAR FAR worse than it is? Why the vitirol? Why the mocking? Why the condescension?
Steph Swainston has decided to do what is best FOR HER. She has made public what was no doubt a difficult decision, and tried to explain why she might come to this decision. Her decision is not what everyone would pick.
How about delighting in the fact that Gollancz can now go contract another author, since Swainston has been adult and taken herself out of contract so that she can produce her best possible work rather than forcing out something she'd not be happy with? How about recognising that the pressure of being an author has caused meltdown in other people, who received sympathy?
I think it was all a bit unfriendly. For me, I say that Swainston has made a great decision and I wish her well in her future teaching career.