This was a book I never intended to write. What I didn’t realise when I started writing was that readers would become involved in my writing process. Tara, the protagonist in this book, was a minor character in the previous books in the series. It was never my plan to write her story. However, after many requests from readers I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, it ended up being one of the books I most enjoyed writing.
One of the main themes of the book is that Tara doesn’t want children. That in itself set the story a little outside the genre norm. Delving into why Tara made that decision, and how it impacted her life was really interesting.
My grandmother once told me that she’d never really wanted to have children but didn’t feel it was an acceptable choice at the time. I have the feeling that even though more and more women are choosing not to have children, there is still a stigma attached to the choice not to have children and women are often judged for it.
In The Bookshop of Hopes and Dreams, Tara is not only dealing with these judgements, but also navigating a developing relationship with the subject of children constantly in the back of her mind. She is faced with issues such as how long you should wait to discuss the topic in a new relationship, and if it’s possible to make a relationship work if the other person wants children and you don’t.
As with all my books, this one ends on an uplifting, positive note, but getting there is quite a rollercoaster of emotions.
When I was uploading this book for publication on Amazon, I realised it was eligible to enter the Kindle Storyteller Award. The award is quite new – just in its third year – but after reading about it on the Kindle Storyteller website, I couldn’t see any reason not to enter. It was a case of writing "KindleStoryteller2019" into a box when I published. Then I forgot all about it until I got the call to say I was shortlisted.
It’s incredible to have my work recognised in this way. When I started self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing in 2015, I had no idea I’d be able to give up my day job and write full-time. And I definitely never imagined I’d be shortlisted for such an award. It makes me think anything is possible.
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