When homeschoolers grow up, it’s time to think about career plans and what sort of jobs they’d like to do. For some students, it’s an easy decision; for others, there’s a few curves in the path. Homeschooled graduates typically follow a wide range of careers, from office workers to healthcare professionals and baristas to barristers. Many grads also choose to homeschool their future children, taking bespoke education to the next generation.
Today, I’m delighted to interview a recent grad who is writing his own success story as an author. (If you’d like to read a free copy of his novel, Rigel, don’t forget to check the link at the bottom of this article!)
Interview with Eli Ingle, Author
Q: How long were you home educated, and what was your favourite aspect of home education?
A: I was taken out of school at the age of 13 and home educated up to my A-levels, which I took at home. My favourite aspect was definitely the freedom it offered. It also gave me the opportunity and drive to start writing, which I don’t think I would have the time to do if I stayed at school. Art activities were very restricted at school – often 1 lesson (or less) a week. So, to be able to concentrate on writing was definitely my favourite aspect.
Q: Who are some of your favourite authors?
A: My favourite author is definitely Stephen King. I’m also a big fan of Agatha Christie, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Paolini, although I read almost anything!
Q: What made you decide to become an author?
A: I can’t actually remember making a conscious decision to become an author – I’d always been into art ever since I was little. Over time, these developed into comics, then stop-motion animation, but I found myself spending more time making puppets and sets than doing the animating. Next, I got a typewriter for my 15th birthday and started writing on it. After a while, I think I preferred it because, so long as I had some paper, I could just make worlds appear and I didn’t have to do spend months set building.
Q: How did homeschooling help you with your career path?
A: Homeschooling helped because I was always encouraged to be creative – something that never happened at school. I had a lot more time to practice writing and home education taught me how to self-study so it became natural to teach myself how to design front covers, typeset and make adverts. As part of being home educated we also learned how to touch type which probably became one of my most useful skills as it means I can type really, really quickly!
Q: What does your writing space look like?
A: I don’t have a specific writing space; I just sit on my bed! I do have a desk though, which gets used when I’m doing the other jobs such as formatting.
Q: Do you believe in writer’s block?
A: I do believe in writer’s block – unfortunately, I’ve had it a couple of times. When it happens I know the worst thing to do is try and force it, so I go for a bike ride or something and, usually in a day or so, a new idea comes along.
Q: What does literary success mean to you?
A: For most people I guess literary success would be making millions selling your book. For me, I really just want people to love the story and the characters. I do like going on Amazon and reading the nice reviews* people put up about it and always appreciate it when someone takes the time to write a review for me.
Q: How long did it take you to write your first novel, Rigel?
A: Unhelpfully, I never actually wrote down how long it took me to write Rigel*! The original story, I think, took about 8 or 9 months. The editing and other jobs took longer. Fortunately, I’ve gotten faster at writing now that I’ve had more practice.
Q: What sort of research are your doing for your second novel, Frivlok?
A: I haven’t done research for Frivlok as it’s a continuation of Rigel. I did brush up on the first story again, though, as there’s the potential for a lot of continuity errors with all the time travel!
Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?
A: I definitely wouldn’t have been able to even get as far as I have with Rigel without the support of my family. It would take several pages to tell you about it! But they read every first draft, helped me run through ideas, and were always there to talk. I’ll forever be grateful for their support and for taking me out of school, without which I would have never been able to do this.
Q: What advice would you give to a homeschooled student who is interested in a writing career?
A: I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice yet! Just: practice, practice, practice. I was terrible when I started and wrote 3 books that were just awful but they taught me how to get better. Read a lot as well.
Q: What’s your favourite inspirational book quote?
A: My favourite quote probably has to be from On Writing by Stephen King: “The only way to get better at writing is to read a lot and write a lot.”
Eli Ingle is a professional writer, and the author of the Appointments on Plum Street novel series. The first book, Rigel, was published in autumn 2015 and the second book, Frivlok, is due to be published in autumn 2017. The first 3 chapters of Rigel are freely available on his website, and home educators are welcome to contact him for a complimentary PDF copy of the novel. Fan feedback and Amazon reviews are most welcome, from all readers.