Since writing ‘And Then the Penny Dropped,’ I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to one or two public speaking events to talk about my book. The talk usually ends with a question and answer session, I’ve listed a few of the questions I’ve been asked on a regular basis, by my readers.
Is it a true story?
On the cover of the book I state it is based on a true story and it is. The book is eighty-five percent true, admittedly I have taken some artistic licence in order to intensify the emotion I wanted to convey to my reader as well as retain their interest. The book is predominately about a legal battle between two opposing parties, I knew I would be treading a fine line attempting to relay the truth about the legal processes I experienced while keeping the subject matter interesting. I feel from the feedback I’ve received and the reviews, I have hopefully managed to achieve this.
What made you want to write a book?
It’s often been said, truth is stranger than fiction. When I was going through divorce proceeding, I’d chat to friends and family and the common response I’d get would be ‘you couldn’t make this stuff up, it’s unbelievable.’ I’d always wanted to write a book and what better subject to write about than something I’d had first-hand experience of. It was a cathartic experience, and also closure to a big part of my past life.
How did you get started writing your book?
I’d thought about it for a long while but had no clue how to go about it. With this thought in mind I decided I needed help and contacted Ken Scott, who is a published author. I gave him an outline of the book and fortunately for me he agreed to be my mentor/collaborator.
When I started my first chapter, Scottie said “Just write a few notes and I’ll pad it out and correct it.” I sent him a complete chapter, it wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it was a decent first effort from someone who hadn’t written before. With each chapter my writing improved and now, in my second book I generally get more right than wrong. Of course Scottie is still a major contributor to each chapter I write, he adds some great lines and dialogue and cuts out the ‘waffle.’ I believe our combined efforts works well and in my opinion my writing and my book is the better for it his input.
Do you write every day?
I work full time so it isn’t always possible for me to write every day. I’m fortunate enough not to need a great deal of sleep and I tend to get out of bed early in the morning. I often write between the hours of 5am and 7am before I get ready for work. I’ve noticed I write better in the morning, my minds clear, whereas in the evening, after a full day in the office, it can be difficult to switch into writing mode. Once I start writing a chapter, I try to stay in the zone, and if I’m not at work I tend to do little else but write. The house starts to look like a bombsite, yet once I send my chapter off to Scottie, I have a mad dash around, clearing up the mess.
Do you feel it was the right decision to write about your divorce and what were your families feeling about the book?
I do feel it was the right decision to write the book. I’ve had a positive response, mainly from women, who have gone through or are going through a similar situation to my own and they’ve been encouraged hearing my story. I am very humbled by this fact and glad it appears to have made a positive impact.
My greatest concern during the writing of the book was protecting my family, and my children. My family have given me their full support throughout the process.
None of my children have been able to read the completed book, although the eldest two girls did give it a try. They both had to put the book down after the first few chapter, their emotions are still very raw and neither of them were prepared to relive, what was a difficult period of their lives.
My other main concern was writing about my youngest daughter and her medical condition. I didn’t want to invade her privacy or exploit her situation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid mentioning my daughter’s circumstances altogether because it was one of the main issues raised in all my meetings with solicitors and in the court hearings.
I discussed with her what I’d written about her and her condition, and although she still didn’t want to read the book, she trusted me and gave me her blessing.
Has publishing your book given you a platform to stereotype men and bash the legal profession?
I know many men, when going through divorce or separation can experience similar situations to my own, or worse. Although I am aware this does happen, I can only write about my own personal experience and how I was treated by my ex-husband, the solicitors and the courts. I know a number of my readers are male and from the feedback I’ve received from them they have enjoyed the book. I believe this is because I have stuck to my own situation and have not inferred at any point throughout the book, my ex-husbands actions are stereotypical behaviour of men in general. I sincerely believe, how I was treated by my ex-husband, is an exception, most men want to end their marriage amicably and retain contact with their children. Men are as horrified as my female readers, when they discover my ex-husband no longer has contact with his children. I believe he is the exception and not the rule
With regard to the legal system, I’d had no interaction or contact with a solicitor or the law courts, prior to my separation and subsequent divorce. I had total faith in the British Legal System at the onset of journey. After three years dealing with both solicitors and the court system, I was left feeling deflated, and believing my solicitors and the Family Law Courts had let me down.
I believe my book best explains itself. I will leave it to my readers to draw their own conclusions as to the state of the current Family Law processes and practices. I would like to say with regard to all the legal events in the book I have tried to be as accurate as possible. I have referred back to court papers transcripts and solicitor’s correspondence and much of the legal exchanges I quote in the book have been taken directly from documents I received from the solicitors and the courts. With regard to the court scenes, much of the verbal exchanges I describe in the book did happen in the courtroom. Admittedly I did create some drama in the court scenes and missed out a lot of the legal jargon, for fear it would send my readers to sleep however most of it is an accurate account of events.
Do you plan to write another book?
I always knew one day I wanted to write a book, the thought had stuck with me since childhood but like many other people, who think they have a book in themI never got around to writing thebook.
It was only when I started writing I realised what I’d been missing all these years. As much as it isn’t easy and you have discipline yourself to sit down and write it can be incredibly rewarding. Now I’m one book down and half way through my second book. I can’t imagine my life without writing being part of it.
I do hope you enjoy the book “And Then the Penny Dropped.” If you have any other questions you’d like to ask me, please feel free to drop me a line, via one of the platforms I’ve listed on the Contact Page, and I’ll do my best to answer them.