To celebrate the release of her new book The Mother's Secret, author Clare Swatman tells us about five very significant days in her life. 

Clare Swatman

Clare Swatman

19 September 1993

This was the day I started university, something I’d always dreamed of doing. I grew up in Hertfordshire and lived at home until I went to university. I guess my life was what you’d call sheltered – in a good way – with a loving family, nice home, good school, lots of friends. But going to university was a brilliant, safe way to get me out into the big wide world and grow up. I’d chosen to go to Newcastle upon Tyne – I hadn’t applied to any London universities deliberately as it was too near to home and I knew I’d want to go back all the time – so it was a big step for me. And when I arrived at the block of flats that was to be my home in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne on this day, I realised there was a lot more to the world than I’d ever known – and I never looked back!

4 July 1999

I’d been desperate to get down to London for two years after completing a post-graduate magazine journalism course in 1997, but my boyfriend Tom was still at university in Sunderland for another two years and I didn’t want to be away from him so I’d worked in Newcastle for two years. This was the day I finally moved down to London. I had two weeks to find a flat and a job before Tom joined me – and I did! I got shift work at The Sunday People magazine and at Best magazine, and found a tiny flat above a dry cleaners in Golders Green. It was the start of my dream life.

7 June 2004

My wedding day! I’d been with my husband Tom for more than seven years by the time we got married, and it had been a source of tension for quite some time by now – I wanted to get married, he didn’t, although he didn’t know why. It turned out that he just didn’t want a huge wedding ceremony, so my suggestion of getting married when we were in Las Vegas later that year went down better than I’d ever thought it would – and this was the day is finally happened! We didn’t tell many people, and the shock when we finally told friends and family what we’d done was brilliant.

31 October 2007

The day my first son, Jack, was born, and life changed more than it ever had before. It was harder than I’d ever imagined, but the rush of love I felt for this tiny bundle of human was greater than anything I’d experienced in my life – and it happened again for me when Harry was born in June 2010. I now have two lively, noisy, hilarious football-mad sons who I love to pieces.

20 August 2015

This was the day my amazing agent Judith Murray emailed to say she’d like to represent me, having read my manuscript of Before You Go. I’d always dreamed of having a novel published but I’d never actually believed it would happen to me, and it felt like a strange, surreal dream. Before You go wasn’t published in the UK for another 18 months, but this was the day life changed for me. It’s been a fabulous, scary, exciting rollercoaster ride ever since – and long may it continue! I’ve since written my second book, The Mother’s Secret, and I often look back to that August day when my journey really began.