I vividly remember writing a story about a Strawberry Queen, just before my 11+ exam (I had just read Alice in Wonderland). I was rather proud of my surreal composition but my headmistress, who for unkown reasons was taking our class, told me that if I wrote rubbish like that in the exam I didn't have a hope of passing.
Beware of throwing me down a gauntlet!
I was only one of two in my class who did pass the 11+. Not that it did me much good. With parents that never stayed in one place very long and this being during the period when women were not expected to go on to University, my education spanned seven schools and petered out with little success.
But the writing bug continued.
Over the years I have written short stories; poems and even the outline for a book based on: "What if there are no nuclear weapons?" - think about it ... but when I least expected it, out of the blue came the inspiration for what resulted in a 412 page historical novel loosely based on relatives living at the time of the Great Famine in Ireland.
It all came about as a result of reading an extract from the 1881 Census that I believe may belong to that of my Great Grandfather from Ireland. In the entry, he was living in a two up; two down house in a back street in Oldham and was the Head of a household containing seven children - the youngest of whom was just one year old. He was described as a Widower. If this entry genuinely belongs to my family, then my Granfather was the seven year old boy listed. Just wondering why the family had ever left Ireland only to end up in a cramped terrace and without a mother to nurture the children, set my imagination on fire.
Two years later Áine was born! I have likened the surreal experience of writing this book to that of being a taxi driver with a car full of passengers - all telling me the direction in which they want to go. Now that they have reached their final destination, they are all refusing to get out! The result is that I am now compelled to write a sequel - the storyline again writing itself.
I would dearly love to receive feedback from anyone who reads the book and also hear from anyone who has had a similar experience to that of mine.