1. It’s never too late
I didn’t get my publishing deal for my debut novel until I was 45. I’d ended up working in a career in Finance after doing an English degree, but had a now-or-never moment when an old school colleague who I hadn’t seen for twenty years contacted me to ask if I’d ever done anything with my writing as she still remembered stories I’d read out in class. It prompted me to go on a Curtis Brown creative writing course where I started writing my novel and just over two years (and so very, very many drafts later!) I got a book deal.
2. Pay it forward
I have found the writing community to be unbelievably supportive. I’ve made some best friends for life initially on Twitter and then met them in real life – I was lucky enough to win a competition which resulted in the author Amanda Reynolds becoming my mentor. She gave up her time for free to help critique early drafts of my opening chapters and this gave me the confidence to believe that someone else might enjoy my writing. Kindness often costs nothing apart from time and can literally change someone’s life.
3. Psychological suspense
I write in this genre and love all things dark and twisty and getting inside people’s heads (hence one of the reasons for the title of my novel; All In Her Head). I am in awe of people who can write in difference genres - particularly police procedural crime novels – I wouldn’t know where to start!
4. Inspiration for my novel
My novel was inspired by the feeling that I lost my identity when I became a mother. I fortunately didn’t suffer from post-partum psychosis but I did experience some of the same thoughts as my protagonist, Alison. Much is talked about in the press regarding post-partum bliss following the birth of a baby, but it’s important to recognise that this isn’t always the case and 1 in 10 women experience some form of post-natal depression.
5. Fear of failure
I don’t like failing. I don’t think anyone does! For years I found it easier not to try and write anything for publication in case it was rejected. But I’ve realised as a writer (and in life generally) that everyone fails at some point. Many times. And that is ok. As a writer you have to learn to accept rejection and criticism on the path to getting an agent and a publisher, and then from readers – not everyone is going to like your book. But if you never try, the only thing that is certain is that you’ll never succeed, so it’s worth a shot!
6. I love travelling
I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places already, but I never tire of exploring other countries. Seeing other cultures makes me think about things differently and provides endless inspiration for writing.
7. No one is here forever
We tend not to think about this until we confront it in our own lives – often when someone close to us dies unexpectedly, and it’s only then that we appreciate what we’ve lost. It’s difficult as we all lead such busy lives, but it’s always good to remember to tell those around us how much we love them.