I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of weeks about how I dropped into this lark of writing. I never set out to write more than a shopping list and, if I’m truthful I don’t even write those. Like a lot of people out there I thought I had a book inside me. As a ferocious reader of everything and anything I really admired how writers could translate thought into the written word – Written words that others got pleasure from reading.
As a member of that exclusive species, The Human Race, I’ve always been of the opinion that the only true way of getting inside another person’s head is through reading their words. Yes, I know broadly what my nearest and dearest are thinking a fraction of the time (food, electronics, have you ironed my favourite shirt!) but as to the rest… So it’s a treat to see how someone else’s mind works for that moment in time they spent plotting and scribbling their ideas on to a blank page. Most books have an autobiographical touch to them, even those with werewolves and vampires – for me it’s like being a diarist without the diary. So when I wrote about Liddy in Ideal Girl and her knitting, I too found I’d left my ball of wool six floors up and had to rewind the b……thing much to the chortles of my fellow mates on their way to their coffee break – the tripping up that followed in the book – pure imagination.
The first book I wrote, perhaps more than the others contained this element being as its about bullying. I never set out to write about bullying, but it’s always a topic that lurks ever since I was a child and subject to this unsavoury pastime. So, about seven years ago I came across a name that would be ideal for a boy that was being bullied – Dai Monday. It just popped out of nowhere and lingered for a year doing nothing. Yes, I wanted to write a book. Yes, it would be about bullying and finally because I’d chosen a Welsh first name (Dai, pronounced Die) I’d have to set it in Wales – luckily somewhere I used to live.
In that year I did nothing. I had the name, that was all. Then, January 2010 I jumped off that proverbial cliff, having been pushed by my mother. She phoned to say she was writing a book too, so if she could do it Mary Wesley style, so could I. I’d never attended a writing class but I had a loose storyline nagging at me so I bought a notebook and pen and dashed out Boy Brainy in six weeks – it wasn’t good, but at least I had words down on paper that, sort of amounted to a story. I wrote anywhere and everywhere, the notebook being my best friend. For me no laptop because simple put, I didn’t have time to write. Boy Brainy was written in my 15 minute coffee break at work: On the side of the football/rugby field: In the car waiting for the kids to come out of school. I typed up late into the night and then spent years rewriting and editing while I tried the hopeless task of submitting for publication. I also found, funnily enough I enjoyed this new hobby. It wasn’t costing me anything. I didn’t need anything other than ‘cheap as chips’ paper and pen and, most importantly I could do it anywhere, except in the bathroom! As a parent of tweens I spend a lot of time in the car and writing is the ideal occupation for car sitting – As a dedicated introvert writing is the ideal occupation!
And then the rejection letters came flooding in, but I wasn’t really bothered. The writing bug had bitten and i was already nearly finished Ideal Girl, which has had more rewrites and name/plot changes than an episode of Eastenders. I’m now 2/3 through book four. I’ve still never taken that writers class and probably never will. I still don’t have time to write and find it difficult to squeeze in even a sentence most days but the bug, like a nasty dose of the flu is still as strong as ever and, there’s always time to think up new plots – even if it is only in the bath!