Charles Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870), created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. (Thanks Wikipedia).

The Old Curiosity Shop

The catalyst for writing Fifteen Postcards can’t be narrowed down to one event. It is a combination of events over a number of years which lead me to sit down and to start seriously on tapping away at my computer keyboard.

I believe most people have an inner ego (and many people have an all-to-obvious outer ego), but my inner ego wanted to leave something of me behind. Something that says ‘She existed’. 

Its been argued that my children should be proof enough of my existence. It was my children who moved me away from my life path of being a dedicated Customs Officer, with a goal to work for the World Customs Organisation in Brussels, where I had planned to leave my mark on history. So once my life path was undeniably altered by the arrival of my daughters, and the unexpected death of my father, I spent seven years essentially treading water working at Antique Alley not really knowing where my life was going.

So once both my girls were at school, the question I was asked (and am still asked), by everyone in my family and circle of friends was “What are you going to do now?”. So my answer is this:

Now? Now I am going to do something for me. Something for my personal ego. Something which has bubbled inside me for the past seven years helping customers at Antique Alley, seeing the happiness on their faces when they find that perfect piece of china to add to their collection. Experiencing vicariously the joy of avid collectors as they fossick through the shop. I love it. And I want to write about it. Just as Charles Dickens wrote about ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and the terribly sad tale of Nell and her grandfather.  So ‘that’ is what I am going to do ‘now’ that the girls are at school. I am going to publish a novel.

My novel may not be on the reading lists 150 years after its been published like the novels Dickens wrote, but I am happy that I am following a dream. Everyone in the world should be free to follow their dreams. And I want to encourage all of you to follow yours.

13 MARCH 2014


Fifteen Postcards is currently at 104,426 words as I embark on the hardest part to date, the ending. Whilst I’ve been writing this story I have at times been suffering from, what can only be described as, Writing Envy.

My Writing Space

Now Writing Envy is not the envy you feel when you read a particularly fantastic piece of prose, where you think to yourself “I’ll never be able to write anything that inspiring”. No, not at all. Writing Envy is all to do with being envious of the dedication other writers have! Envy of the space they use to do their writing in. Envy of the tools they use to write with.

At times, I have honestly felt that I am a lesser writer for drafting my manuscript solely on my MacBook. I vary from writing in the study, writing at the dining room table, writing on my lap in the lounge, and I’ve even been known to write on the deck in the sun.  

Should I have a writing space? My envy of other writers and their dedicated and inspiring writing spaces makes me think so. But then I also have an eight year old and a five year old, who clamour constantly for my attention, and if I hid myself away in the study, who knows what mischief would be created in my absence! 

I love typing on the computer, but I do feel bereft. Inside I feel that I am missing out on some fabulous writing secret that all the best authors know, but which they don’t share.

Tonight, whilst researching some minute detail for a tiny inconsequential plot point, I stumbled across this fabulous post on Flavorwire.com : The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors 

And there I found the secret. The secret is that there is no secret. At least twenty of the world’s most famous authors all did it differently. Pencils, ink pens, ballpoint pens, typewriters, note pads, computers. 

Of those, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used a Parker Duofold pen. That made me recall that for my first Valentines Day with my fiance (now husband), he gave me a standard Parker ballpoint pen and had it engraved with my name. For our fifteenth wedding anniversary last month, I received a sterling silver Tiffany’s ballpoint pen, and a notepad, and I’ve been using it. Its not a secret weapon, but it has made writing faster, as I’ve been jotting things down at work, for entering into the MacBook later. Better use of my time. And that is probably the secret to better writing too. More writing, and, well, to be honest, less Candy Crush..

11 September 2014