Before December 4th 2014, I’d heard people say that a single moment could change your life. Up until that day, I didn’t believe it to be true.
Then, as I sat down to watch The Apprentice wearing a ridiculous Christmas jumper, I had the urge to check my emails. And my, what a shock I got! There, sitting in my inbox, was an email from an editor at Carina UK offering me a two-book deal. I didn’t think it was real at first. I read it through three times before starting to scream and shout about it. I told my family then my two best friends, one of whom thought I was on the wind-up at first. I can remember feeling dizzy with happiness, utterly elated that my dream had finally come true.
Most people think that achieving your dream marks the end of something, the ‘happy ever after’ at the end of a long, arduous struggle. But for me, this was the beginning of so many other somethings. I’ve celebrated milestones this year that I never, ever thought would be possible. On May 8th 2015, my first book Just the Way You Are came out. To say I was happy is such an understatement. As I ate three desserts and drank a lot of cocktails, I couldn’t quite believe that people were now able to read the story that had been in my head for so long. Even now, twelve months on, it seems bizarre but in the best possible way. And if that wasn’t enough, a few days before Just the Way You Are was published, I was offered a second two-book deal.
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I was lucky enough to get a lot of great reviews for Just the Way You Are so I eagerly started on my second one, The Broken Hearts Book Club. I was so excited to give people who’d read my first book something else to read. But when it came to writing it, I really struggled. My confidence drained away and I became really worried that I would disappoint everybody. Nothing I wrote seemed good enough and the edits seemed insurmountable. All I wanted was to produce a book people would like, but that seemed impossible. There were days I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, days I felt like giving up and I even cried because of it on a couple of occasions.
It may seem odd that I’m writing about the bad moments of the last twelve months as well as the good, but to me they’re just as important. Nothing is ever perfect and to say I went into being an author knowing exactly what I was doing would be a lie. I’ve learned so much and I know I’ll continue to learn as I go along, but there have been some almighty meltdowns along the way! I’d like to thank my best friend Jennifer, my mum and my editor Victoria for helping me through all of them- you guys are fabulous!
To anyone out there who’d like to be an author, I’ll leave you with this. It’s hard, bloody hard in fact. There will be days you can write and days you can’t, but you must always write. You can edit terrible words, but not a blank page. Your characters will almost never do what you want them to, but that’s OK. Sometimes they do something better than you could ever have expected. If there’s a story in your head WRITE IT NOW. You won’t regret it, I promise.