Why I Write

I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories of a particularly adventurous 3 years of my life when I became totally addicted to the world of online chat rooms and met a number of 'gentlemen' for real that I met in fantasyland online.

However after I allowed an educated friend to read my short stories, I was motivated to attempt a manuscript, and whilst it was extremely daunting to open my life up for judgement, I considered the good I could do by way of educating people on the dangers of this kind of activity far outweighed my personal discomfort.

My manuscript became reality and in turn became a book that is now released in the USA. The title? Secrets, Lies & Chat. Since writing the manuscript and gaining a contract I have branched out in my writing but always on issues that I'm passionate about.

They call me opinionated, one-eyed, in it for the money (that one is a real hoot), out to ruin the internet etc etc. My real aim? Education of the uninititated to the world of the Internet. And no, not to ruin any part of the Internet, but to give the newbies an edge so that what they will ultimately find online won't have such a huge impact hopefully, as it did on me.

Bitter? Never. The Internet is the best thing I can think of that has happened in my lifetime and will grow in power and might. The one big problem is the anonymity, and everyone who naively comes online needs to be aware and wary. End of story. My writing is the way I can use words to hopefully make a difference, even a small one. A little cog in a big wheel, but maybe one that makes the wheel work how it should. One can hope.

Whenever I can gain a forum, I speak the truth of what I've found on the Internet. I voice my fears for the children who are already online chatting. I know they will eventually wander into teenage rooms and I know what they will find once they become part of that scene. I've met the predators online, I've spoken to teenagers and heard their side of the story, and their disgust with what goes on in some of the rooms.

Online chat is a lifeline for many people and can be a wonderful way to spend idle time. Friends online are like penpals of the old days, with one huge difference. No longer does anyone have to wait by the postbox, disheartened when there are no letters. A simple connection to the internet, and there are your penfriends waiting for you to join in with the fun and banter and gossip. And yet underneath all that goodness, lurks something very different. Many never find it, but many do and are scarred for life by what they experience. Many would say I am an alarmist, a dreamer, a liar even. But I know, and so do many others, that there is danger on the Internet.

Why I write is to spread the word, both good and bad, so people have a choice, so people have knowledge of what they may encounter online. No matter what they think of what I say, with a bit of luck it will linger in the back of their minds, and one day they may be in a situation that will set them back on their heels, and they may may have reason to say, "Vena was right, there are things in here that aren't quite right".

If we all sit back and say nothing, just accept what is on offer and turn our back on it as 'someone else's problem' then the Internet that I love will become something to fear. I will do my utmost in any forum I can, to stir up some passion, to get people thinking, and my primary targets are children, young adults and parents.

I am an Australian author, living in Sydney, and have had my first book released in the USA during May this year. I have copies for sale on my website http://www.secretslieschat.net.au and those copies will be personally signed by me. I am divorced, have three grown children and one grand-daughter. I work full-time for the New South Wales Government in Administration/Supervision. Writing for me began as a hobby, something I always wanted to do, but as an avid reader of many styles of author, I could never see that I could ever write a book. After three years online involved heavily in chat rooms and a couple of exposures to online dating, I felt I had a story to share even though it would open my personal life up for anyone who read my book to judge. I considered my options carefully but really, I had no option. I knew what I had to do, and alone with no help from a literary agent, I did it. I scored a contract, and I have a book. I want nothing much more from this adventure but to be part of the education of people about the internet. The money I expended has gone on a dream :)

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