1. My book focusses on my relationship with my mother and I hope this resonates with readers. The bond between a mother and daughter is so precious but can be so difficult. And when I looked for books written which would help me cope with my mecurial, clever, couldn’t-give-a-toss Mam, I couldn’t find one which spoke to me.
2. I began writing Are we home yet? about 12 years ago. At the time, I was burning out of my job, my family hardly ever spent time together and I wasn’t in a relationship, or likely to have a family of my own. Also, my father had died when I was young and I knew very little about him.
3. The book’s main theme is about how we all need a place where we belong and feel safe. My parents were immigrants from Jamaica and Canada who made their home in the UK. But I think the need for a home is common to everyone, whatever their race, religion or level of wealth.
4. I tap dance to keep fit. There is nothing more joyous than a gang of women tapping away and making an almighty racket! It’s a great mood enhancer, and the jazzy music our teacher chooses enables me to shake my thing!
5. Though I am quite outgoing, I much prefer to hide my true feelings away. Having a memoir published – especially one as honest as this - is not something I ever thought I’d do!
6. My mother’s career in the sex industry meant that, growing up, I felt ashamed of my home life. I carried this shame for many years. Writing my story has helped me shed it. I have never felt so light!
7. After writing Are we home yet? I met my partner and had my beautiful daughter. I think writing down my family’s troubled story cleared the way for me to build a family of my own, and determined to make our story very different.
8. Positive mental health is very important to me. After experiencing depressive episodes, I look after my own and I encourage my daughter to take her feelings seriously. We talk about how our thinking shapes our experiences and practice mindfulness. She is eight years old and a little star!
9. I think writing is for everyone. And writing about your own life can be particularly helpful – it can bring order to the chaos of living in these strange times, and provide a private place of solace and contemplation.
10. But… being published isn’t for everyone. It is very competitive, and with social media the level of scrutiny is high. You need a thick skin. It has taken me ten years to put my life out there but now I am finally able to say ‘this is my truth’. It has been so empowering.
Katy Massey’s memoir, Are We Home Yet, is out now on Audible and published by Jacaranda Books.