I was the little girl at the back of the class. Staring longingly out of the window. Bored. Mostly confused. I would always earn concerned looks from the teacher, they’d ask me if I had joined them for the lesson today. And don’t get me started on high school maths lessons! That is another very long, painful story I wont go into now. Lets just say I had a really crappy time, and it took a long while to heal!
I was the only member of my family who really read. My Mum didn’t apart from ‘Hello’ magazine. My Dad was always too knackered and my brother was too busy playing computer games. I was the bookworm and I was the writer. I wrote a short story called ‘The Runaway’ when I was about eleven, my family thought I was a genius and I wrote more shorter stories all kept in a spiral binder, my pride and joy. I wish I still had it! I was a very happy teen, so don’t take the title of my runaway story as an indication of my mental well being. I was really happy and cherished at home, but I had a vivid imagination and never, ever felt like I fit in. Anywhere.
My writing or scribbles were a sweet little secret of mine, a way to escape and create romantic heroes and beautiful leading ladies (I was eleven so don’t be too harsh!) I wrote a diary and I do look back and admire the simplicity of that life.
I wrote my first novel at around thirteen, it was a tragic beauty and the beast retelling based off the late 80s TV show with Linda Hamilton (yeah remember that one! TV gold) and Ron Perlman. My mum found me crying on my bed after I had finished killing off my beast, something she still reminds me of today. But I have to give myself credit for being brave enough to kill off a MC at such a young age. When my mum asked me why I’d killed him it was a simple answer.
“There was just no other way!” Sob, sob. How melodramatic.
I think from there I knew that writing was something I loved to do. And I knew my genre. Romantic, tragic, paranormal, fantasy, it all appealed to me. I remember the very day I picked up a book called ‘Trick or Treat’ by Richie Tankersley Cusick, my first ever point horror. I was mesmerised by the eerie cover, the story was deliciously creepy, I followed her writing , bought most of her books and in turn completely fell in love with that genre. That was the genre I wanted to write in, mainly because I knew how much of an impression that book gave me and I would love the chance to give that experience to someone else. I did move on to adult fiction! Horrors, thrillers and so on.
In school, I remember being around fourteen, when we studied ‘To kill a mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. It took me a couple of attempts to get into it, I found it quite slow for my vampire loving tastes, but then something happened in the book. The children try to make Boo Radley come out. And that was it. I was completely sucked in. I was drawn to the macabre, tragic back story of this shadowy character who was never physically seen but always somehow present. There is more to the story than just this aspect, it is my favorite book of all time, I’ve read it over ten times, it never gets tired and somehow it seems more relevant than ever before.
But it was the mysterious hook of Boo, a tragic hero that grabbed me and I’ve only just now realised, even as I write this that Boo is kind of my WHY. This is why I write the stories I love. His lonely, sad existence, a urban legend to the Finch children, but a hero who turns up when he is most needed. This spoke to my heart.
I’ve since been inspired by events rooted deeply in childhood, this is where the really juicy stuff comes from, the angst, the heartbreak and the pain. It totally inspires me. Its shaped me as a writer so much and its what I try to bring to the literary table. Darkness, redemption and bravery. Being brave is especially important with storytelling and when it comes to writing what we love. Go that bit darker. Push a bit harder. Impossible romances, bitter feuds and shadowy forests.
Now that I’ve chosen to write properly, to give myself the time and actually get this book published, I’m terribly excited. I cannot wait to get it out there, even if no one reads it! For the first time in my life I’m allowed to live in my own head for a while.
I’m still a kid sitting on her bed crying about killing her beast. But I will kill him.