I have written a book.
It is called In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree.
It is due to be published before Easter (exact date to be confirmed).
How exciting is that?
Stating it as bare facts brings home the reality of all those hours of writing and editing, tweaking and ditching words to create a story.
When I started writing it was to ease my boredom. Newly arrived back from Africa I was full of stories and life experiences that I was itching to share with others. But I had moved to Newcastle, where I knew no-one. My husband's job was not long-term there and I had two children in primary school, so getting a job for myself was impractical. (I would have had so many demands on part-time work to be unemployable, and always at risk of having to hand in my notice days after I started!)
Writing was my escape. Writing was my chance to share my stories, if only with the computer. Writing gave me the opportunity to exercise my little grey cells in between the mundane child-rearing exercises.
Writing also meant I didn't have to clean the house (this still applies!) It meant I could drink tea and eat custard creams (fuel for the thought process). And, interestingly, it opened doors I didn't think were even there, as friendships developed with other writers. I have a lot to thank my WEA class for, not only as they criticised and corrected my words, but also for the support and encouragement they shared. It was a lifesaver, creating a rock when so much in my life was sinking sand.
Over the years since it has waxed and waned as a priority to me. I have excuses, as anyone would who brings up children and renovates their house and moves across the country and has family crises that need attending to. But I've stuck with my book, returning to it to perfect words and phrases. Every time I look there is something I'd like to change: my biggest fear is that will continue forever, whether it is in print or not.
So I have set myself the Easter deadline. I have drafted an approximate timetable and I have tasks I have to complete by certain dates.
One of which is to finish the final edits this week. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm just away to re-write chapter 14...
Photo credit: Trees Direct