My writing career started more by accident than design; initially the master plan was to transmit a rolodex of memories from my head to paper in diary form. But after about two pages, I realized I wasn’t happy with some of my memories, they were boring. I wanted exciting, spine-tingling memories. And so in my mind’s eye I became more talented, slimmer, glamorous and magically a linguist. The men I’d known became richer, more handsome and much better in bed than had been the reality. The more lies I told the better I got at telling them, by page ten I barely recognized myself. Whose diary was this anyway? A fragrant work of fiction was taking shape nicely and I was developing a multi-personality disorder and loving every minute of it. The result was IT HAPPENED IN PARIS.
I printed a copy of my completed manuscript and passed it around my family. Feedback was instant and enthusiastically complimentary, but family can’t be trusted can they? They have to consider the disadvantages of living with you if they say your book is rubbish. I needed honest impartial opinions, helpful even if harsh criticism. And so I bravely decided to approach the most influential faction I know. Specialists in measured words and the driving force behind governments, banks and big business. The School Mums! Within a couple of weeks multiple copies of my book were in circulation with a strict queueing system in place. There was an encouraging buzz, with everyone wanting to know what happens next. “The story can’t end there, you have to write a sequel,” was the unified verdict.
One of the mums boasted on my behalf to her brother-in-law, Head of Sales & Marketing at Little Brown who asked to read this book that was circumnavigating the playground. As a fantastic consequence I got a call from a Senior Editor at Sphere with an offer of a publication deal. I’ll never forget it, it was a treasured shock. I think I stopped breathing for a drumbeat. In celebration I had a glass of wine at eleven thirty, the canteen at work were still serving breakfast, I should’ve been embarrassed. I wasn’t.
I play a game with my kids. They ask me “What do you do for a living?” And I say “I’m a writer,” and then I ask them “What does your mum do for a living?” and they say “My mum’s a writer,” and then we all crack up laughing, because they think it’s hilarious. Although now that I think of it, what’s so funny about that? I am a writer!
It Happened in Paris is published on the 12th May by Sphere