As a child, I lived in my imagination. It was a safe place, beautiful, full of possibilities. I didn’t write stories. I dreamed them.
At school we wrote. The stories came alive in my head and spilled onto the page. A Special Place. Flights of stone steps cut into the cliff, waves crashing on the beach, pebbles under my feet, the air fresh with salt and seaweed.
I loved adventure, excitement. I read The Famous Five, The Lone Pine Club. At school we read the classics. Each term a new one. My world was expanding. I loved the pattern of words, the structure of sentences, nuances of meaning. I applied for a degree in English Language and Literature, entered a world where almost everyone dreamed of being a writer. I dabbled secretly, too shy to show my work.
I taught teenagers, hated it, went back to write an MA thesis in the ivory tower of university. They wanted me to do a PhD, but I wanted to see the ‘real’ world. I saw it, made bad choices, sank ever deeper into problems. Before I knew it I had a son to bring up, a husband with mental health issues. Survival became a daily challenge.
A lucky break came my way. I was asked to write and illustrate leaflets and brochures for local environmental organisations. I taught English to wonderful adults from all over the world, and loved it. At home I wrote novels, inspired by my crazy experiences. I retired, took an MA in Creative Writing, found that agents want writers with a career ahead of them, who fit neatly into boxes: literary, or commercial, not a blend of both.
So I did what I’ve always done, for better or worse: my own thing.