I loved English at school, and I remember in the first year at secondary school my English teacher, Mrs Richardson, told me that I had “the makings of a writer” which I guess at 12 was pretty impressive. I carried on with English all the way to A level (twice) and while I really enjoyed it, it was very literature based and less focused on the creative or observational writing that I like. I know it’s important to be well read in all types of literature but whoever decided that Chaucer and Jane Austen (I know she has some big fans still but she’s just not for me) was what teenagers wanted to study needs a poke in the eye.
While I was at school, around 6th form time, I started a band with MZP and Eoz called ‘Creatures That Bleed Acid’. None of us played any instruments really. I played the violin (badly) and Eoz played classical guitar but that wasn’t really the vibe we were going for. We wrote some angsty song lyrics (which I still have somewhere and might share with you one day so we can all have a good hard cringe together) but other than that our musical careers were cut short by our inability to actually play anything that would support the dark rock grrrl theme of our lyrics and the image we worked hard (not that hard really, lots of black, fishnets and too much make up, that was it really) to create.
Since school, my chances to write have been pretty limited. I say limited, nobody was actually stopping me from writing, but I guess real life takes over when you start pretending to be a grown up. I started a degree through Open University in Criminology and Psychology before I had children which gave me a chance to write at length about different theories and perspectives. It’s not the same though, you don’t get to use your imagination or your creative side in something so academic and factual. I quite like trying to write with a bit of humour too. There’s not much room for humour when you’re writing about Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. It’s as grim as it sounds.
In latter years since the dawn of Facebook, I have posted more and more on there. In fact I would say I am a prolific poster… mainly about my children and now my new found running ability but about other things too (nothing political, intelligent or that controversial because that’s just not my bag). Someone recently told me that I provide “a very important service online” in terms of my hilarious posts, nothing webcam related or any services like that obviously! I guess I sometimes make people smile so that’s good to know. Not wanting to sound like a smuggy smug pants but I have had quite a few people (namely my mum, aunt, husband and some other kind people) say I should write a book or something. More about that later…
I’m currently unemployed (sad face) and although I have my hands full with Chad and Brad Logan, a house that looks like it’s been burgled but had nothing stolen and of course my running career, I started writing some stuff down about bits and bobs and realised it has made me feel better. Not that I felt particularly bad but as I mentioned before the past year has been tough for me (as it has for a lot of people) and has really knocked my already pretty fragile belief in myself. I’m a simple soul and it does me the world of good just to feel like I can do something ok. In fact there was one thing I thought I was really good at but then it got taken away… twice (woe is me). So, doing this and receiving such lovely feedback from people is really making my heart happy. Thank you.
So, on to the book writing…
Like many people I’ve ALWAYS wanted to write a book but have no real idea where to start. I love reading all kinds of books but my favourite things to read are either true crime (murders and serial killers predominantly) or particularly dark and disturbing fiction. I’m a big fan of Mo Hayder, Bret Easton Ellis, Poppy Z Brite and one of my all time favourite books is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. So we’re talking full on offensive, nasty, definitely not suitable for children stuff. I don’t think I could write that though. I think there is an art to writing something like that without making it sound completely ridiculous. It needs to be believable to be able to shock and horrify people. I don’t think that’s my writing style at all.
I love the idea of writing children’s books though and having a whole series of them (serial killers for kids anyone?); either novels for Chad aged children or maybe something shorter for Brad aged children. I’d be beside myself if I walked into Heelas (or John Lewis if you’re not old school Reading) and saw merchandise like pencil cases, water bottles, lunch boxes with my characters on. Then I’d wander up Broad Street to Waterstones and there would be a window display with the latest instalment of my incredible series. There would be kids begging their parents to buy my book for them, promising they’d pay them back out of their pocket money when they got home. I used to do this to my mum with books from the Bookcentre in Woodley Precinct ALL THE TIME. Never paid her back. I probably owe her a fortune, nobody remind her, ok? I’d be invited to book signings and I’d sit there with my silly hair and DMs and the kids would see that you don’t have to always look like a sensible grown up (but you absolutely can if you want to) to be a success. They would make a film or maybe a series of my books and the main character would be voiced by David Tenant or Joanna Lumley. I’d get missed calls from J K Rowling and Julia Donaldson who would be after a bit of inspo but I’d just be too busy writing to talk to them. Ms. Kattirtzi would get me back to Kendrick to talk to the girls in a special assembly featuring ‘Kirsty Velk’ as I was back in the day and I’d be able to tell them all that I got a D in GCSE History because Ms K had left to have a baby half way through the course (that baby must be about 25 now!) leaving us with Mr Byrne who thought I was stupid. I know I’m no barrister, doctor or Beryl Cook but I might make John Kendrick proud one day. Floreat Kendricka!
Most of all though, my boys would be so proud of their mummy, the author.
That, my friends, is the dream.
Not that I’ve really given it much thought...