Elaine Roberts talks about what a difference a year makes.
Firstly, Francesca and I should apologise for being missing for so long, where has this year gone?
Due to a few family problems I have been in a reflective mood lately and it’s made me realise a few things, mainly how lucky I am. I thought I’d share a snippet of my world, without boring you with too much detail.
A few years ago my niece visited me and while we were talking she asked me, if I could do anything, what would it be? I told her I didn’t know. What was interesting was that, apparently, my sister had said the same thing. We came to the conclusion that we had never been asked about our own dreams and ambitions. It was from that conversation that I remembered, when I was in my early twenties, I used to write in the evening when my children had gone to bed. I had sent my work to Mills and Boon who sent me a delightful letter. It was a rejection, but it was encouraging. That was in the early eighties, I think, but then life took over.
In 2012, I joined a writing class and my dream was resurrected.
In April 2016, I had the opportunity to take redundancy from work and grabbed it with both hands, because I had a dream I wanted to follow.
In September 2016, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, which is a World War One family saga, hadn’t even been thought of. I was writing a Victorian novel.
At the end of November 2017, I signed my three-book contract with Aria.
My debut novel, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, was published in June 2018.
The second novel in the series, The Foyles Bookshop Girls At War, is published in January 2019.
I am currently writing the third novel, Christmas At The Foyles Bookshop, which is out in August 2019.
It’s all been very exciting. Since signing the contract, my life has been dogged with my own self-doubt and serious family illnesses. At times, I have wondered if I had time to write another novel, or even if I could. I have questioned myself, over and over again, but my laptop went everywhere with me in case I got ten minutes to lose myself, away from the stresses of my reality at that time.
I also wondered whether all writers go through the same emotional rollercoaster, and having spoken to a few authors, I believe the answer is yes.
Anything creative is subjective, so that is easily followed by self-doubt, because everyone has an opinion, and definitely won’t all agree with each other.
A magazine short story
It took me a long time to tell someone I was an author. I built it up in my head to be this great unveiling, and didn’t want to come across as something I’m not. Haha, it was such a let down when I finally got round to saying it out loud, because I got no response whatsoever. The second time I said it, the response was “I don’t read books”. How sad is that? I can’t imagine going through life without a book on the go. My biggest problem is not having enough time to read all the books I want to.
I love a good book, and to write a novel has been a dream of mine since I was young.
Thanks to my hard work, determination and a great support network around me, and to my readers I have achieved my goal. The biggest thanks must go to my niece for asking the question in the first place and my tutor for guiding and bullying me into writing short stories as well as the novel.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what life throws at you, don’t lose faith or hope that you will achieve your dream. It may not be your time now, but remember, it’s never too late.