I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. From a very young age I loved nothing better than to lose myself in a book, and my dad used to say that he could wave a ten pound note under my nose when I was reading and I wouldn’t even look up from the story. I would totally lose myself in tales of magic and adventure, in the romantic escapades of the heroes and heroines, and revel in despising every villain in between. In fact throughout high school, where I was far from the most popular student and fairly regularly the butt of other people’s jokes, books were my salvation. I never went anywhere without one, and in any given situation where there was free time I would whip out my book and bury myself firmly within it, blocking out the insults of others, pretending I didn’t care that I wasn’t surrounded by friends, and immersing myself in another world where I could be exactly who I wanted to be without fear of reprisal.
I loved creative writing at school and used to write pages and pages of descriptions of people and places, but never got as far as creating any complete plot or action. As I grew older I continued to read, but abandoned my creative writing efforts and focused on life and growing up in general. I left school and went to college where I had a fresh start and made new friends who didn’t care how cool I was, and life improved immeasurably.
Eventually I went to university and studied English Literature where my love of fiction persisted. I adored my studies, pulling apart the work of whichever author we were studying that week and analysing their imagery and symbolism within an inch of its life. In terms of writing however, reading all of this great literature only served to remind me that, as a nineteen year old undergraduate with precious little life experience, I was hardly qualified to create an excellent work of literature myself.
So life went on. I left university and, after a few disastrous years working in the leisure industry, I trained to be a high school English teacher, a job which I have now been doing for almost twelve years. I still see pupils today who bury themselves in books whenever they get the chance, partly out of a love of reading, but also as a defence against the cruel and sadly all-too-regular taunts of others in their classes. I love teaching, and hope to always work with young people, helping to shape their lives, and perhaps sharing my own passion for reading and creative writing with them.
Seven years ago I got married, and a year later had my first child. Looking after a baby was truly the most terrifying experience of my life, but after several months of struggling, and an enormous amount of support from my husband and family, I finally managed to become some kind of a mother. Two years later things had gotten easier and I even felt able to have and to care for a second child.
Having children is a massive challenge, and made me think back to my old ambition to be a writer. If I could vaguely master motherhood, could I also write a novel? My children inspired me to take up writing again and my husband encouraged me to persevere and finish an entire story from start to finish. Escape is my first attempt at writing a complete story which people will hopefully want to read. I promised myself that I would write my first book before I was forty and, at thirty seven, I am incredibly proud to have completed Escape. I hope there will be many more books to follow.
I would love to hear what you think of it.
Photo credit: Jocelyn Wright