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Yummy Mummy

BE careful what you wish for! I had a dream once. I was folding jumpers in Penneys one Friday night, my eyes closing with tiredness.

As a trainee manager I worked long hours and was living away from home. I had a dream of becoming a writer one day -- I could write in bed eating chocolate!

Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I did wonder what it would be like to be my own boss and to be able to work my own hours.

Writing a book didn't seem too difficult. After all, any time I visited my local book shop I saw thousands of books and they had all been written by ordinary people. As long as you had a pen, paper and a story in your head, that was you sorted, right?

So the following evening after my busy Saturday shift, instead of hitting the town like I normally did, I pulled up a chair at the kitchen table, took out a pen and wrote Chapter One.

My two flatmates thought I was mad when I announced I was writing a book, and seemed to find it amusing to see me diligently writing long-hand as they sat in the sitting room next door watching soaps.

The book didn't become a bestseller. In fact it never even made it to a book shelf. Instead it received a unanimous 'no' from every publisher. Rejection is hard to take, but I knew I had to grow a thick skin. I tried again by writing another book.

It was also rejected but the rejection letters were a little more polite this time, which bizarrely gave me some encouragement.

I did get a few letters beginning with 'Dear Sir' and one which began 'Dear no. 5406', but I ploughed on.

I wrote a third book and not only was it accepted, but I got two offers and found myself in the fortunate position of being able to choose which publisher to go with.

That was 10 years ago. It was exciting to see my book in an actual book shop. But for every good display, there were shops that didn't even bother to stock it. One bookseller even said, "we won't be getting that book in, but I can order you a copy if you like?"

I almost cried. People dream of being a novelist, and yes there are disadvantages to being your own boss, but my dream of a little cottage by a river, waiting for the muse to strike with a purring cat on my lap, was far-fetched and never happened.


Writers are usually poor, so instead of being inspired to create novels, you are more likely to write faster to prevent your electricity being cut off.

Even when I was expecting Gary, I thought it would be nice to write from home. But then I became selfish, spending hours on my laptop while my poor son begged for my time.

My 20th book is out this week, and then I'm taking a year-long well-deserved break from novel writing. Being a good mum is my priority now.

A book won't love you back, and besides, spending all your time with made-up folk makes you a bit loopy after 10 years. So hello real world, I'm back!

The Secret Nanny Club is out now.