It is the usually story among many authors, and mine is no different – I began writing stories from a young age. It seemed natural for me to make up worlds and characters like the ones I saw on TV. It was good method of escape. I came from an impoverished background. We never went anywhere or did anything, and I didn’t have the same expensive toys and games as other children. But pens and paper were always found in abundance, and this was my media of choice. One day when I was thirteen, my mother came home with something very big and heavy in her pull-along shopping trolley. It was a typewriter, one of the old fashioned mechanical ones from 1970s. She’d bought it from the charity shop for £1.50.
Armed with this ancient beast, I slowly learned how to type, churning out page after page of stories… until the ribbon on the typewriter ran out. In the late 90s, we couldn’t get a replacement, so my hobby seemed derailed. But it was around this time that both my local library and my school received funds for new IT kit. Now I suddenly had a reason to get to school early in the morning and stay an extra half an hour in the afternoon. On Saturdays, I had my PC slot booked for as soon as the library doors opened at eight o’clock. I took my own floppy disc so I could save my work and print it off on Monday at school. It was a sensible move, since each A4 print out cost 10p each. I could fill fifty pence worth of pages before being forced to give the computer up to the next user.
It’s fun to look back on my origins as a writer. Even though I didn’t produce anything of worth back then – every page was littered with mechanical flaws; any real plot was thin enough to see through – one incredibly important fact remains: I never gave up on writing. Not once. Ever.
Not when my mother died in my mid-teens and I was placed into foster care half-way across the country. Nor when I was busy with college, or a full-time job. I married at twenty, my teen sweetheart who’s been my biggest cheerleader. Through all the hardships we’ve faced since then, the keyboard has always called to me. I had a deep understanding even in my late teens, when I sent my first poem off to a national competition and won a spot in their yearly anthology, that to achieve my dream of someday publishing a novel I would have to work hard.
I didn’t start writing novels until 2007. That first ninety-thousand word project was a total disaster. I didn’t bother wasting the paper and ink in printing it off. I closed the document and buried it someone on a backup drive, never to be seen again.
It’s often the case that the first novel we write isn’t publishable. In fact, that novel was the first of many on the road to gaining the personal qualifications and maturity I needed to write to a professional standard. Exactly how many novels did I write? Eight complete novels, ranging from eighty thousand to a hundred-and-fifty thousand words. And if I’m being completely honest, there have been a dozen more that I’ve started and abandoned along the way. That’s how it goes sometimes – you win some, you lose some. But the important thing is to write each day and to a regular schedule. Oh, and never give up, no matter how bad your writing my seem to you…
Since I began, there has been less than a total of twelve months that I haven’t written, like when our daughter was born in 2013, and that difficult period between the age of eighteen months and two, when the only word a toddler says is ‘No!’…
In 2016, I began homeschooling our daughter. This gives me less opportunity in a week to write than I would like to have. But every minute I spend at the keyboard is a few words added to a project, and eventually they all add up!
Currently, I live in the West Midlands with my husband, our daughter, a boisterous cocker spaniel, and a menagerie of other small pets. When I’m not writing, you can find me cross stitching, crocheting, painting, scrapbooking and hiking.