Treasure every moment. Life can change in a heartbeat. So says the cover of my new book, On A Beautiful Day – and we can all look back and pinpoint those moments in the past when life takes a turn in a particular direction. Here are five days that changed my life forever.
Talking my way into a university place
Late August, 1988 – I hadn’t done brilliantly in my A’levels – too many teenage distractions! – and I didn’t have the grades for my first choice of university, Leeds, where I’d hoped to study English Literature. I went up in person to beg my case and somehow talked myself into being allowed on the course anyway… and thank goodness, because I went on to have a brilliant three years there, making some of my very best friends.
January 8 1996 – I got on a plane bound for Thailand, wondering if I was being brave, rash or just stupid: I had left a great job and everyone I loved behind in order to go travelling around the world for a year and a half. It was the best decision though, as I had so many adventures, seeing temples, jungles, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, rainforest, coral reefs… as well as meeting wonderful people from many countries and backgrounds. It left me feeling invincible.
Meeting the love of my life
June 28 1997 – I’d just come back to the UK following my travels and was having a joint birthday party with my best friend… and there he was, my future husband, and the night just got that little bit more exciting. We knew each other previously – he was (still is) a friend of my brother, and there had always been a spark between us. But from this night on, we have been together, and I hope we always will be. Definitely a day when my life changed for the better!
Becoming a mum
October 9 2000 – our daughter Hannah was born, and I became a mum. I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for the joy, love, comedy and pride that comes with motherhood – not to mention all the worry and sleepless nights. I have three children and they’re all teenagers now, so we’re into a whole new minefield of parenting… fun times!
Having my first novel published
April 2007 – my first novel, Any Way You Want Me, was published, an absolute dream come true! I’d taken an evening class in creative writing at the local university, and wrote the novel in evenings and weekends while looking after my first two children. “I’m wasting my time, this probably won’t ever be published,” I’d fret now and then but my husband urged me on. “You might as well give it a go,” he’d say each time. A further twelve published novels later, I’m so glad I persevered!