An article published in the St Helen’s Star newspaper.
An interview with workingmums.co.uk
A blog done by the Big Issue
It’s always hard to write about yourself in such a way people might find it interesting, but I’ll give it a go.
At the age of five my mother realized there was something wrong when I couldn’t read the Janet & John school books, no matter how much time she spent with me, (and bless her she did spend an awful lot of time) there was nothing she could do, to get me to remember words from one page to the next.
In those days no one talked about dyslexia and so the description given to children like myself was, ‘rather slow’. In me grew the belief that I was somewhat stupid, and by the time I reached senior school, where I was told I couldn’t learn French – because I couldn’t speak English correctly, I just gave up on myself, believing there was no hope for me. I left school and my first job was washing dishes in a restaurant, the only job I believed I was capable of.
I got married, at the age of twenty-one, to Paul. We have (and they are my joy) four good-hearted, handsome sons.
At the age of thirty, Paul’s job as a head chef took us to Africa. It was whilst we lived in Kenya that something odd happened to me.
One day I got in our 1961, dilapidated Beetle, (once whilst I was driving the seat fell through the floor, and another time all the brakes decided not to work!) and drove the kids to school. It was like any other day except for one thing, I started a day-dream. A woman appeared in my mind; she was wearing a medieval dress and running through a maze. When I got out of the car she disappeared – only to re-appear the next day when I got back in. This went on for three months with her story unfolding a bit more each day. I had read somewhere, if something is bothering you write it down and it will take it off your mind. So I thought I’d have a go at writing it all and then maybe it would fade away and bother me no more.
I picked up a pen and notepad and started writing, and I just couldn’t stop. Word after word flowed out of me onto the paper until eventually I had written a rather long story.
During the next ten years I got divorced and finished raising the boys on my own, whilst working and holding the home together. It was, therefore some years later before I picked up the book and decided to write it again but on a type-writer this time.
When I finished re-writing I decided to find out how you go about getting published. (Now a clever person might have done this first, but I live and learn.) I read the Writers year book and discovered that a manuscript should have hardly any errors in it. That was it, I was doomed, for of course I can’t spell, and my grammar is awful. The mountain of paper got put away once again.
At the age of forty I went to college to learn accounting. It was here that I was introduced to the wonderful world of computers. With spell check I realized there was, after all, a chance for me. As soon as I could afford a computer I set about re-writing it again, in a turbulent year of excited anxiety I threw myself into completely re-shaping it. During this time of editing the characters became more real and dear to me.
At the age of fifty I decided to risk everything and seriously chase after the dream of being published. I sold my house and put my small amount of equity from the sale into savings. Two years have passed since making that decision and I still believe it was the right thing to do. It enabled me to work four days a week instead of five, so that I could set about yet another arduous edit of my book – Idi & The Oracle’s Quest.
Understanding how inundated publishers are with wannabe writers and not believing I really stood much of a chance against those odds I decided to self-publish on Amazon. The main reason I did this was due to friends pushing me, friends who absolutely believe in me, a fact that completely humbles me. However, once I actually had the book and started reading it I realized that there were still mistakes in it and I couldn’t stand the thought of people buying it with mistakes in. It is at this point that I start searching for something that would help me be a better writer and I came across an ad offering editing services.
Because of my savings I now had the money to afford to have the book edited. Professionally edited now two times, and this gives me such pleasure and satisfaction in knowing it has, at last, that finesse that I couldn’t give it.
That was three years ago, I am still chasing that dream but have a much more realistic head on my shoulders now.
Yours most sincerely