When I was growing up in a very unhappy home, the local library was a godsend to me. Books were my friends, they kept me entertained and showed me worlds where not every person was mean, or petty, or cruel. It was possible to be different and not be laughed at.
When my husband injured his back and was looking at life in a wheelchair, it was a book that changed our lives. I used to work in a publishing company and one of the editors let me loose in her stock cupboard to find any books relating to back injuries. There I found Joseph Corvo's Backache Cure. This book enabled me to help my husband get better – and it led me to a new career in Reflexology.
Once in practice as a self employed reflexologist, I had time to indulge my love of books, which I did. Even more so when one person gave me the gift of an e-reader. Suddenly, I was devouring books on a greater scale than ever I did at the library.
It was also a sad fact of life, that when someone is first diagnosed with a long term illness, followed by clinical depression, friends and family could (and did) fall by the wayside. From hubby's first diagnosis, it was two years before the medical profession gave up on him. It took another three before he was well enough to ride a motorbike and work again. In all that time, books were once again my friends., showing me worlds where I could lose myself from the heartbreaking situation.
One year, I was browsing the local adult education (another marvellous life-saving idea, along with libraries) when I saw a class on creative writing. It was a short course, designed for short story writers. I enrolled, thoroughly enjoyed it, enrolled on the novel writing course having had my imagination fired up. I made friends at those courses too, new ones, who shared my love of books. With the encouragement of the course tutor and my new friends, I put my thoughts and feelings into my very first novel, 'All in the Leaves.' I wrote a hopeful novel, one full of possibilities.
When writers write, they are always advised “write what you know”. Quite honestly, I know about depression, injury and illness. I also know that the books which helped me the most were the ones that took me away from that and gave me hope. So that's the type of book that I've written. One where someone saw no hope, was given some hope - and went on to have a wonderful life!
Sometimes, you really do need to escape reality. I hope my book fulfils that need.