Time to get back to some work after the amazing London 2012 Olympics. The advantage of being a writer (euphemism for lazy cow), is that I have been able to sit around watching the sport for the past 16 days. But now I need to get down to some work, especially as it was only in the spring that I decided it was time to take myself seriously as a writer. Like many people I have written since I was a child. Then my forte was the pony adventure and I dreamt of publishing my books under the pseudonym 'Chloe Lockwood.' The story usually went along the lines of a brave young rider from a relatively humble background - loosely modelled on myself, of course - somehow managing to buy a pony that somehow gets through to the finals of The Horse of the Year Show. My favourite book was about a girl who is able to finally get a pony when her mother writes a book that becomes a best seller and they can afford to move to a cottage with a paddock and buy the steed. I pestered my mother for months, constantly asking why couldn't she write a best seller that would earn enough for me to have a pony. My mother had no interest in writing, or reading for that matter. I don't recall ever seeing her with a book. My Dad, on the other hand, was a keen reader and writer in terms of keeping journals and diaries, though only after he retired.
My parents were perhaps typical of many working class kids who had survived the Second World War, they were grateful to be together and still alive. My Dad was in Bomber Command and had lost many of his friends. They spent their lives being glad for each day and they quietly worked and supported their family and never, as far as I know, harboured any ambitions for anything other than staying in work and paying the mortgage.
This stability enabled me to write of my ambition which was to be a champion show jumper. If that 'The Secret' stuff worked, you know, thinking positively about things makes it happen, then I would have been winning gold along with Nick Skelton at the Olympics last week. God knows I so focussed on getting a pony and becoming a show jumper. I didn't think about the writing, the writing just enabled me to work through my dreams and fantasies.
So, here I am at 50 finally realising that writing was the ambition not equestrian sports. In between then and now I edited the school magazine, was an editor on the university newspaper and then worked as a journalist for many years.
Then, four years ago I came across the story of Elsie Mackay and my accumulated research slowly became 'West Over the Waves' a non fiction book that followed her attempt to fly the Atlantic from east to west in 1928. The book was published by GC Books of Wigtown and is now in its third edition.