The One Where I Start Blogging Here Again

For the past couple of years, I’ve been blogging (very infrequently) on my website but I’ve made the decision to return to my wordpress blog. There are various reasons for this but they’re not very exciting so I won’t bore you with them. Instead, I’m in a reflective mood so here goes the first of what will hopefully be more regular entries…

Screenshot 2018-12-30 at 15.15.48It’s Sunday 30th December. Two more sleeps until the start of the final year of the decade. 2019 eh? Where on earth have the last 20 years gone? I clearly remember moving into 1999 and the panic about the approach of the new millenium a year later:

Could computers actually cope with moving into the year ’00 or would they be brought down by the Y2K bug?

Were planes going to fall from the sky?

Was the world going to end?

What did partying like it’s 1999, as per Prince’s 1982 hit, really look like?

Screenshot 2018-12-30 at 15.13.37Prince’s 1999. That was another weird nostalgia moment. When that record was released, I was only 10, and 1999 seemed so very far away. By then, I’d be in my mid-twenties at New Year, moving into my late-twenties on my birthday in May. I’d be married with two or three kids, a car, a mortgage, and a job. Wouldn’t I?

As it happens, I’d have the job, car, and mortgage but it would be another four years before I met “the one”, six before we were married, and seven before we started our family … and made the decision to stop at just the one.

And twenty years ago, I had no plans or aspirations to become a writer. I wasn’t even a big reader, having struggled to find time to read anything that wasn’t a text book whilst at university and very much getting out of the habit. I’d read on holiday and that was about it. Over the next couple of years, this was going to change thanks to several seemingly unconnected events that came together in a way that some might call destiny:

Screenshot 2018-12-30 at 15.14.15FINDING MY GENRE: I went on holiday with my good friend, Catryn, and she loaned me a Jill Mansell book called Millie’s Fling. On a previous holiday, Catryn had also introduced me to Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes and, through those two books, I rediscovered my love of reading and found a new genre: romantic comedy. I devoured Jill Mansell’s back catalogue and, as Millie’s Fling was her 12th book, that was a lot or reading. I also bought all of Marian Keyes’s books and worked through them. I have remained a huge fan of both authors ever since

FINDING MY INNER WRITER: My manager at work told me on several occasions that my reports read more like a story than a business report and joked, “you should write a book”. I liked that idea. A lot. But what on earth would I write about?

FINDING MY DREAM: I ended a toxic relationship and went on holiday again with Catryn, a mutual friend called Jackie and some of Jackie’s friends. One of Jackie’s friends had made a huge career change and, on the plane home, we were chatting about it. He said: “If you could change your career, what would you do?” Without hesitation, I said, “Move back home and open a teddy bear shop.” As soon as I said it, I knew that’s what I really wanted. I didn’t want to start over boyfriend-free in the same place and same job; I wanted to start over completely

FINDING MY PLOT: Having previously been refused voluntary redundancy from work because my role was too valuable, I was told that there weren’t enough volunteers so I could leave if I still wanted to. Ooh, yes please! But this was scary. The future was very uncertain – no job, no boyfriend, potential move home to start teddy bear shop – so a friend gave me a gift voucher for a telephone clairvoyant to help me get some clarity. It wasn’t really my thing but I decided I had nothing to lose. The conversation not only gave me courage to turn the bear shop dream into reality; it gave me the premise for my debut novel, Searching for Steven

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It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Roll forward a couple of decades later, and I’m an author who has written 9 novels and a novella (one of those novels will come out early next year) but I’ve also had a horrendous 2018 in my writing journey. I will blog about that in due course but, for the moment, I’m hoping for a more positive start to 2019.

To anyone who has followed my blog recently and found no content, I welcome you, and to anyone who did follow and wondered what happened to me, I’m back. Thank you for being part of my writing journey with its many ups and downs. Wishing you all the best for a great start to 2019.

Jessica xx

 

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