“I Was Too Busy Living To Write”

My father was a part-time writer and I grew up in Stratford on Avon so the literary world was all around me. I dabbled a little with short stories myself, but then I trained to be a nurse in Birmingham and met my future husband when I was only 18.

For a while I was a District Nurse in London but then we moved to the tiny Feudal Island of Sark to open a guest house and eventually a smallholding. What with catering for up to 14 guests and looking after 200 hens, two goats, a donkey, two cats, bees and the dog Hugo, there was not much spare time. I was also the island nurse.

It was only when we decided to take a few years off and explore New Zealand that I found I had a little free time. As we drove around this lovely country in a Bedford van, picking up work where we could, I decided to make extensive notes on our eventful seven years on Sark. By then I had a young son, and I thought it a good idea to have something to hand on. The cryptic 12 chapters were packed away along with the diary of our New Zealand experiences.

We emigrated back to this country in 1976, and I became a busy rural District Nurse on 24 hour call. I joined a ‘Pen-women’s Club’ in Auckland and a group of friends and I went off for art and writing weekends . . . art is one of my hobbies. Still I did not delve deeply into the writing world. It was always ‘one day.’

Then my marriage broke up and I returned to Sark. I was still too busy living with ‘the love of my life’ until he died of a brain tumour.

At last, in 2009 I returned to New Zealand, blew the dust off my manuscripts and realised I had no idea how to start. So I took a creative writing course . . . and the rest, they say, is history.

My first memoir “So You Want To Live On Sark”, was soon published and has continued to sell. Now in a second edition. Then there followed “From A Feudal Isle To Aotearoa” about our touring years; “From Queen’s Nurse To Godzone”, “District Nursing In London and New Zealand”, and finally “So You Returned to Sark”. All these are self-published, formatted and illustrated by me.

I really had the bit between my teeth by then. Encouraged by my friend who edits my documents, I launched into romances, using my nursing experiences. I wrote “Nurses in Training”, but was not sure what to do with it. Until I discovered “The People’s Friend Pocket Novels”. I joined a local writers’ group and won a short-story competition. The judge suggested I send it to “People’s Friend”, so I googled and discovered the criteria for the pocket novels.

Not being backward in coming forward, as my father would have said, I sent the first three chapters. I was asked to send the rest; and it was accepted, being published in April this year and I believe sold well. I quickly wrote a second nurses novella, “In Search Of Paradise” and a third “Escape to Sark”, all of which have been accepted. I have another on the way . . . “In Search Of Paradise” and maybe a few more, who knows?


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