A FORMER musician has swapped her guitar for a laptop to release her debut novel.

Becky Stefani has yet to pick up her guitar since Darlington band We Start Fires stopped touring in 2008.

After touring across the US, Japan and Europe, the band soon found themselves running out of money.

Becky said: “We just constantly had no money. You’d have to use your holidays at work to go on tours and we just got so tired. It was a bit of a whirlwind.

“You just hit that point in life where you feel you need to get a real job. I don’t think I’ve picked up a guitar since we finished, it’s as if writing has filled that gap for me.”

Becky decided to take the self-publishing route, using Amazon’s service.

The Northern Echo: Becky Stefani performing with We Start FiresBecky Stefani performing with We Start Fires

She said: “There’s so few people that can get traditional publishing deals that give enough money so they can do it full time and you relinquish so much control doing it that way.”

Writing has always been Becky’s dream, and after the band finished she found it was a perfect time to start.

She said: “When that finished, I really missed that creative outlet so when I started writing again, I felt it was back.”

Becky found writing to be a lot different from producing music, adding: “Social media can be a bit toxic sometimes, but the writing community seems so warm and friendly.

“In other industries it’s not like that, in the music industry, it’s dog eat dog.”

She also found the writing process to be a lot more difficult than she thought:

“You think that because you’ve always been a reader that it’ll just be easy, but when you actually come to do it it’s really hard,” she said.

The Northern Echo: Darlington band We Start Fires complete their national tour in support of their newly issued, selftitled debut albumDarlington band We Start Fires complete their national tour in support of their newly issued, selftitled debut album

“I got to about a quarter of the way through and had no idea what I was doing and had written myself into a corner. That Christmas my other half bought me a couple of books on outlining and story structure, so once I read those I started again”

Becky also had to find a way to balance a full time marketing job whilst writing the novel.

She said: “I had to restructure my days in a way, getting into the habit of getting up earlier. Half six to half seven was my writing time.”

Her debut novel is a young adult dystopian science fiction story called Aura. It is available in Waterstones bookshop in the young adult section.