Make believe writer land…..
The other evening – it was Halloween to be exact - I was out at a bar, a Halloween party no less, with my friends. I am single and a mum – I don’t get out that often to places where actual, real, grown men might be, let alone where there may be the chance to indulge in a little harmless flirting. I was all over it!
I approached a friendly looking guy (the most unthreatening looking man in the room – my usual tack) and we got chatting. Given that I was dressed as a witch, there were some basic things to get over first, like is that your own beauty spot and what colour is your actual skin? I am presuming it’s not green….
I asked him what he did – he was some sort of communications manager which we chatted about – and he asked me and I told him I was a writer…
“Wow, what sort of writer?”
“I’m a journalist” I said “and I also write novels”
“Anything published?” he said, looking at me skeptically – This is often the response I get when I tell people I am a writer and to be honest, it always confuses me. I mean of course, if you write, you ARE a writer even if you haven’t got anything published and we all know how hard it is to get there…but I just wouldn’t describe myself as such to a stranger, unless it was my job.
Anyway, he asked me what I’d written and I told him the titles of my two published novels and he said he’d look me up when he got home. There was a slight twinkle in his eye, as if to say, “course you did love…I don’t doubt you wrote them but they’re probably under your bed….” (I wanted to say no, those two aren’t but other false starts and a whole lot of hideously bad poetry, is..)
Anyway, low and behold a few weeks later and I got a message in my Facebook account from a man whose name I didn’t remember at first, and then it clicked- it was the man I had met in the bar!..
It went something like this: “We met at the Halloween party last week – you were dressed as a witch (typical that in a rare meeting with a real live man, I should be painted green….) and you told me you were a writer. To be honest it went in one ear and out the other (fair enough I’d had a few and was probably boring on, making no sense) But anyway, I just wanted to tell you…..”
The message continued in the loveliest way telling me how he had been on a train, seen someone reading a book called The One Before the One and it had all clicked into place….
“I thought, I recognize that title and then I thought, that’s her! That’s that girl I met at the bar!…” he said.
The subtext was, oh so she WAS telling the truth!
Why am I telling you this story? I suppose because even now, four years since getting a book deal, three since my first novel came out and one since my second, being a writer still sounds like a made up job to most people I tell…. It still sounds like a made up job to me! I still don’t quite believe it’s true. I keep thinking I’m not really, I just seem to do a lot of typing and now and then, it’s weird, but people pay me for it. Amazing!
It’s a tough old job : VERY solitary for a start, scary (when there’s nobody around to bounce ideas off and when you don’t know if your book, that you’ve poured your heart and soul into is going sell), not terribly well paid and blummin’ hard! A mental and physical slog…Oh and it also sends you mad on occasions when you are on deadline and have run out of steam…
About Katy’s book ‘The One Before the One.’
Caroline’s life was meant to be sorted when she made the decision to end her engagement, 3 months before the big day. With her to-do list tasks getting crossed off and her career going great guns, Caroline is sure she’s now a fully functioning adult. So when her 17 year old half-sister Lexi, arrives unexpectedly at her door, it doesn’t quite fit with her image that she’s drunk and wearing her wedding dress!
Lexi has come to stay for the summer but their relationship is strained, as Lexi is the result of their father’s infidelity. An affair that led to the divorce that destroyed Caroline’s mother and ruined her own childhood. Needless to say, Caroline is in no hurry to confess her relationship with her married lover Toby.
As the summer wears on, Caroline has decisions to make, and a life to reconsider, but surely a 17 year old can’t teach her anything about how to live well?