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Publication at last

When you become a parent you realise that your child copies everything you do – the good and the bad. You are their role model, their blueprint for being a human being.

I can tell my son to follow his dreams, but will he believe it if I’m not brave enough to follow my own?

I have wanted to write a novel since I fell in love with books as a child. So I dusted off that manuscript and decided that I would spend every spare minute I had finishing it. I would put my feet in my dreams and make it happen. So here it is. Happy publication day little book. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get here.

The Canary Cage is available as an e-book on Amazon.

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Writing The Canary Cage

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I took my first creative writing class back in 2001. Using a photograph my grandma had given me as inspiration, I wrote a short story about a girl called Hannah who worked in a factory in World War 1.

As a Mum with a full time job, the process of expanding that short story into a novel has been achingly slow. Mainly short bursts of frantic scribbling, snatched between tube stops – thank you TfL, those delays provided some quality writing time.

I think it was six months into writing ‘The Canary Cage’ when I realised that choosing the historical fiction genre was the equivalent of a novice runner accidentally signing up for the London Marathon instead of the ‘Couch to 5K’.

Everything (and I mean everything) has to be researched: how people spoke, what people ate, what they wore, the rules of football, were all potentially different a hundred years ago. Watching reruns of Blackadder goes Forth wasn’t going to cut it.

As a keen but naïve amateur, I completely underestimated the scale of research required. Only by learning the craft, did I come to understand that truly brilliant authors like Annie Proux spend years immersing themselves in a period before they even start to write.

Now I love a bit of research and my shelves are bursting with books on WW1, but I dread to think what my browser history says about me. No doubt Googling ‘how to make ammunition’ has put me on a MI5 watch list.

Even after years of research, I will have made lots of mistakes. I only discovered last week that pallets weren’t invented until the 1930s – who knew? But I now realise that a writer will never think that their work is really finished. I just hope readers will forgive any historical inaccuracy.

The best part about spending so many years writing a book is that you get to know your beloved characters intimately. As I get closer to publication, I hope that they will get the opportunity to meet some readers. Fingers crossed other people will want to spend time with them too.