In 2011 I went on twelve months maternity leave, after 15 or so years of full time work. Miracle of miracles: I had a baby who started sleeping through the night at six weeks old. Didn't expect that. Certainly didn't tell any other mothers I knew either becasue that's the sort of information that can have you killed.
So while I was still fairly tired, my eyes weren't hanging out of my head. And in those first six months you do have a lot of free time given how much those new borns sleep. What to do with myself....
In recent years I had poo-pooed my girlfriends who had avidly read the Twilight series of books, not really because they were YA books but more because they were about vampires. Vampires were everywhere, done to death. They're make believe. It's such formulaic writing. But I picked up the first book anyway because I won't criticise until I've given something a go. And the movie had come out so the series was saturated in the media, and I hate living with FOMO. Anyway, long story short: got to one hundred pages, threw the book across the room in frustration and muttered 'God, kiss her already, or run a stake through your heart yourself, you pathetic sap'. I didn't like Twilight. And I said as much to my girlfriends and may have declared something about being able to write something more realistic for teens. Which is typical for me, as I am given to overblown declarations of my perceived ability to have a successful crack at anything.
And now the time had come: twelve months off and time away from the boring job to let some creative juices flow. I confidently stated: 'I'm going to write a book for teens set in real life, with real issues, and with real kissing and sex, and actual mundane problems at school and at home, that kids want to read even though there are no vampires or werewolves'. My husband rolled his eyes, and said 'yeah right'. My best girlfriend was more polite, but I sensed her inward eyes rolling and 'yeah right'. But if there is ever a red rag to a bull (and I'm the bull in this metaphor) it's telling me that's I won't do something. Ok, ok, I'd never written a book before. Really, I was just interested to see if I could even pull out one cohesive chapter. So I understood their skepticism.
Buuuuutttt, drum roll please... here is the book, written over three months in 2011, accepted for publishing in 2012 by Really Blue Books, and available from last week on their website here:
and through Amazon
There was no crowing to the naysayers. I'm as shocked as anyone else that I was able to do it.
Now, if only it would sell as many copies as Twilight. I wish.