I was unsure how to start this blog post (it being my first) when it occurred to me that the title of my debut novel Just the Two of Us is precisely how it all began… just a writer (well, more accurately, just a teacher) and an idea. This idea slowly grew before emerging into a manuscript, almost of its own accord. And suddenly I find myself the extremely proud (if somewhat surprised) author of a real book! And in the incredibly lucky position of having a three-book deal with a top British publisher.
To introduce myself a little, I am a primary school teacher based in South West London where I live with my husband Tom. My favourite subject to teach is English. I just love how imaginative small children are. They allow themselves to create without censorship – so unselfconscious and uninhibited. I wish I had kept that mentality during secondary school but English was always my worst subject, so no one could be more amazed than I am at this unexpected new chapter.
I have always loved women’s fiction, or “chick lit”, and have read it for pleasure for as long as I can remember. There is nothing better than lying on a beach or curling up on the sofa with that feeling of anticipation that comes as you open a new book and wait to get lost in an imaginary world of characters, plot and emotion. I love books that make me think; that explore new themes of love, loss and life and make me ask the question ‘what if?’ Just the Two of Us is my third attempt at writing a novel, and it started with the question that a lot of my friends were asking as hard working, independent thirty-something year olds: “What if we never meet The One? What if time runs out when it comes to starting a family… what would we do? Would we be brave enough to go it alone or would we leave our desire to have children unfulfilled?”
From this initial thought, the character of Lucy Johnston gradually formed in my mind, slowly gathering a family, a group of friends and a story line to explore. I vividly remember typing the first few words on my laptop. My sister, who happens to be an editor, told me I should write a couple of chapters and send them to her. She would give me the brutally honest truth as to whether I should carry on writing, or whether I should give up on any ambition to become a writer once and for all. I nervously waited for her response. Thankfully, she gave me her seal of approval to continue and from then on I tapped away at my keyboard as the story flew out.
With the first version complete, I went on the hunt for an agent. It took about six months before I signed with the wonderful Bea Corlett, who helped me to improve and develop the story before submitting it to publishers. In the summer, I was offered a three-book deal with Aria and I couldn’t have been happier. I never could have imagined just how much I would enjoy each step of the journey that writing this book has taken me on. I hope you enjoy reading Just the Two of Us as much as I have loved writing it.
JUST THE TWO OF US published on 1st February 2017
Request on NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2gSat1O