When People ask I always say I have been writing for about 30 years but that is not strictly true because I loved to write stories even when I was a little girl so it is considerably longer.
Born in Preston Lancashire just after the war my love of reading was fostered by my grandfather who used to read me stories.
My memory of him is vivid; he always wore a grey waistcoat to hold his pocket watch and he smoked a pipe. The smoking of the pipe
involved a great deal of fussing about with a small tin of tobacco,
lovingly depositing it into the pipe and tamping it down before he could light it at last. I am sure if I was confronted once more with that ‘baccy’ smell I would be transported instantly back to those days. Later, when he became almost blind I returned the compliment by reading aloud to him and since he was interested in politics I
wonder what it must have felt like for him to hear snatches of
political reporting in the newspaper being read by my childish voice. It was my grandfather who bought me a child’s encyclopaedia and showed me how to get the best out of it.
My father was not much of a reader although he was a keen
observer of people with a dry sense of humour but it was my mother who introduced me to the library bus which came to the top of the street twice a week. I used to go with my little friends and I was
fascinated with what the library lady did, all that stamping and
flicking through the cards and when I worked in libraries in later years it was a dream job for me to be surrounded by books and
people. I learned that having a nosy nature, chatting to and
observing people is an essential for a writer.
At The Park School, Preston, a girl’s grammar, I remember getting an A – for one of my first essays. My English teacher did not award A grades lightly and I suppose that was the moment when the writing bug first settled on me. For a while it did nothing more than just sit there because I was too busy growing up, getting married and having 3 children. I met my future husband when I was 17, we became
engaged at 18 and married when I was just 20. It seems awfully young looking back on it but it was not unusual back in 1965, not in my neck of the Lancashire woods. We were happily married for over 40 years before his death in 2007.
We moved to various places in the north of England but it was when we lived in Barnard Castle in County Durham and my youngest child was 7 that I started to write seriously. My first attempt at writing was a short story and when a writer-in-residence came along to the library I took it along for her to look at, the idea being that she called you some days later to talk about your work. She slated it and not only that she more or less said I should forget about writing because I had no talent for it. She in turn had no talent for letting people down gently. I remember returning home clutching my precious story almost in tears but the Fawcett stubbornness kicked in and by the time I reached home I was in a ‘I’ll show you’ mood. I enjoyed writing too much and was not going to give up.
Shortly afterwards I joined Barnard Castle Writers’ Circle and was a member of that for the 20 years we remained in the town. It was a successful group in that several of us became published for the first time and I have to thank Elizabeth Gill who ran the group for that. She writes wonderful sagas set in the North East and she was an
inspiration to us all, encouraging us to get those stories sent off even though, fearing rejection, we were a little reluctant. It quickly dawned that rejection is just part and parcel of a writer’s life.
I moved to Devon in 2004 with my husband and during those
difficult final years of his illness I found my writing a great therapy. Escaping just for a few hours into a different world with the
characters I had created was what I needed to refresh myself before I faced the reality of what was a traumatic time for the two of us.
I continued to write and now I have the support of my grown-up
children and the joy of grandchildren, Meg, Ella, Daisy, Millie, Jacob and Rosie. Meg is already showing signs of following in my footsteps for she is producing stories of her own already. For many years my adored dog Major sat curled at my feet under the desk whilst I was writing.
I would urge anybody who feels the need to write to do it. Don’t just talk about it, don’t keep putting it off and don’t ever say those words ‘I could write a book but I don’t have the time’ because that is
nonsense. If you really want to write, somehow you will find the time.