Thursday 7 April 2016

Inside The Author: How I Started Writing


When I was five years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up, a paediatrician, to be exact. I was happy with my choice right through school and into college. It kept me focused and I got good marks on my exams because I knew where I was going in life. At the age of thirteen, I started to write stories and I kept on dabbling in that until I went to college. I was almost seventeen when I dropped out of college and entered the job market. My reasoning was thus: I had changed my mind about going to university. A-levels were harder than I thought. I had struggled with college and did not feel the same drive that had kept me going through my schooling years. Call it what you will, I was not going to be a doctor.

So what was I going to do? I was sixteen and worked a number of jobs, some of which could have become careers, but none I felt were jobs that I was passionate about. I wanted to get up in the morning and *want* to go to work! Ha! Who does that? Anyway, in my last job, I thought I had finally found something I was good at, something I could excel at and be happy with. But it would seem that life had other plans for me.

I was nineteen when I had to stay off work with what the doctors called "flu". Three months later and I'm finally back at work, but I still don't feel better, I don't feel right. So, my employer sent me to be assessed by a doctor in Occupational Health because they could see that I was just as sick as I had been before I'd come back, if not sicker. Ten days later and I was out of a job. I had been retired on medical grounds. I would collect my meagre pension in one go (mostly because I'd only been paying into it for nine months) and would probably never work a conventional job again.

Now, after three months off sick, I was already bored out of my mind. I was sick yes, but there are only so many reruns of TV shows and day time TV than you can watch before you're desperate for something to do. ANYTHING to do. Remember those stories I wrote at thirteen? Well, I had at one point started going back and tearing them apart, so I decided that since I had all this time on my hands, I would finish what I had started.

Three months later and I had my first book - THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE - and once that was done I decided that I would take an idea I'd had back then and write it out, because as it turned out I really enjoyed writing. I was passionate about it. Ten days after that, I had another book finished - BLACKOUT - and so a career was born.

I started the DYING THOUGHTS series and had ideas for other books and I kept writing. Although my days were filled with sickness and fatigue, they were also filled with imagination and wonder. I created people, characters, places, plot lines and I got lost in them. As my health grew worse, I took solace in the one thing I could still do. I could write! I went from handwriting to typing as the Fibromyalgia took the ability to hold a pen without pain from me, from walking unaided to a wheelchair. I took my work with me, to doctor appointments, tests, hospital stays. They all came too and I created at 2am when the cramps were bad, when I couldn't breathe, or just when I woke up with an idea that needed to be written. It was as if all of what had happened in my life, all my plans that had been undone had because I was supposed to be a writer. This was what I was meant to do with my life.

So, now I write. I wake up in the morning and I'm happy with my choice in career. I still struggle with my chronic conditions and I still find that some days I can't find the energy to get anything written, but I do look forward to writing. It keeps me smiling, it fills me with such joy and the fact that as I write this we are approaching the release of my seventh book makes me stand back and think how far I have come from the days where I sat at a table with a pen and rewrote the first lines of THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. It's a privilege to be able to share my stories with all of you, and something I plan to continue to do. I may not have become the doctor that I planned to be, but I've certainly become the writer I  wanted to be.

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