For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a book. Even before I wanted to become a journalist (which was from watching Superman and wanting to be just like Lois Lane), which is saying something. The first story I remember writing was about myself; I ate a daisy and shrunk, along with my friend. We found a friendly ladybird, and she let us sit on her back as she flew us to a village a few miles away (it was called Ashton upon Mersey, and my friend was excited because she was a Liverpool fan). I remember drawing pictures of the ladybird as well as me and friend, and wrote it on A4 paper folded in half. I can’t remember how old I was, but I knew I wanted to write more stories.
By the time I reached my late teens, I was off to university to study Journalism. I got my degree, and spent several long years working in call centres and freelancing as and when I could. After I had my youngest, I quit the call centre, and began freelancing in earnest; working with the local music scene. I wrote reviews about local unsigned bands, comedians, films and plays. Eventually, I got a gig on a local radio station, hosting an indie show – it was my happy place – playing my favourite music for other people to hear. Unfortunately, ill health plagued me, and I started struggling to get to gigs and the theatre – having to stay home and curl up with a hot water bottle.
That’s when I started to think back to my first love; books. A kernel of an idea formed, and I started to slowly develop it. It took a while; I worked on the minutia of the plot, working out the backstory and sounding out character names. I started to make detailed notes, draw maps, make family trees. Slowly, but surely, my idea was beginning to take shape.
That was three years ago.
Two years ago, I finally made the tentative start on the first handwritten draft. I scribbled words down in my messy handwriting, my hand flowing across the paper. I read out that first chapter to my daughter, and her reaction told me everything. There was something there. There had to be.
Eventually, last summer, I started typing my words up, and the story grew from a few chapters to a full blown book. In January, 2022, I somehow managed to write a chapter a day, my fingers flying over the keyboard like a pianist playing a concerto. That sounds incredibly pretentious, but, honestly, that’s what it genuinely felt like. The weekend before my daughter’s sixteenth birthday, I finished the first draft. I sent it, feeling hideously nervous, to my wonderful Beta Readers, and waited.
When the feedback came, I was in shock. It was overwhelmingly positive – I had very few amendments to make – something I hadn’t anticipated. I quickly hashed out the amendments, and felt happy with the story. With a deep breath, I uploaded the manuscript onto the formatting software, and started to push forward. I played with some cover ideas, and consulted with a really close friend. I played on a website which was dedicated to making fictional maps. I had a bit of help working out the gremlin kinks of the manuscript, and behold. It was ready.
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