I always wanted to be a writer.
When I was a child, I used to hide in an old barn and write and draw for hours on end. One day I sat still for so long, a shrew climbed onto my foot!
My first attempt at writing a novel was The Dundirk and the Jabbersquirm, aged 8. I wrote it in my Mr Men notebook and got as far as Chapter 5.
Dreams have a funny way of turning out though. Instead of writing, I studied how the brain works at university and then did a masters in Public Administration. (I can’t remember what ‘public administration’ actually is, but I’m pretty sure you don’t need it to be a writer.)
I dreamt of writing, of course. But I didn’t actually do much. I was too full of self-doubt. I just scribbled ideas and sketches on bits of paper and shoved them in a box beneath my bed. This is the box:
I worked my way through a series of eclectic jobs – software trainer, fitness coach, copywriter, Christmas tree decorator (my favourite)…
Eventually it dawned on me that if I wanted to be a writer, I was going to have to actually write. So I I moved to the coast and got a job in a publishing company. The publishers commissioned me to write my first book Oh Sugar! (reprinted in 2020 as Say No to Sugar).
I then wrote a children’s novel, which was shortlisted for The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. (This made me sit up and think: perhaps I wasn’t a deluded nutball, after all. Maybe I could do this?)
I started doodling little characters and putting them onto greetings cards and T-shirts. Before I knew it, I had an online shop.
It took me 50 years to get here, but I have finally achieved my dream! Along the way I had a helping hand in the form of TRE (Tension Releasing Exercises) but that’s a whole other story, which you can read about here…