I have always been something of a daydreamer. Even back to when I was a tot and all the other babies were starting to crawl and walk and talk, I just sat there in my own little bubble, taking it all in, not in any rush to go anywhere.
As I grew, the pattern continued. I hated school with a passion, was painfully shy – hard to believe now – and only happy when I was scribbling stories. In the rest of my classes I doodled, dreamed and stared out of the window. I wanted to have adventures in Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, I longed for my life to be a John Hughes movie. I wanted to write like Stephen King and have my plots directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
An overactive imagination is a powerful tool and great for what I do, but unfortunately it didn’t help me with my grades. Released into the real world at fifteen, I had no idea what path to follow and so I tried a bit of everything, from working in my dad’s video rental store – which only fuelled my love for film – to being the world’s worst hairdresser. Seriously do not ever let me near your head with a pair of scissors; I make the stylist who worked on Edward Scissorhands look like Vidal Sassoon.
Eventually I settled into a role within the travel industry, but the writing bug wouldn’t go away. All I wanted to do was make up stories and have people read them. As a teenager with zero qualifications, how does that work?
I wrote my first novel at age twenty. Six months earlier I had been devouring Stephen King’s Misery on a sun lounger in Tenerife, thinking it must be a hell of a task to write a book. I had ideas, some of them good, and eventually decided to commit one to paper.
A few months later I finished writing a tale I tentatively called Twisted. Armed with a copy of the Writers Year Book, I bombarded every publisher and agent I could find. I had several flat out rejections, but some gave encouragement, telling me I had potential and to persevere.
So here we are in 2013 and I have persevered. There were four more novels, a few more rejection letters , a brush with an unscrupulous publisher, a break with a top agent that restored my self-belief, then, when I had almost cinched a deal with one of the big guns, another blowing rejection. I quit my dreams for a while, convinced they were over, grew older, blonder and swapped books for cats and red wine.
A persistent pal wasn’t prepared to let me give up so easily and bullied and harassed me into entering the Rethink Press 2012 New Novels Competition. I came runner up and you may be holding twenty years of my dreams in your hand.
The next chapter in my life has begun.