Ok so I'm experiencing a familiar feeling... self doubt. I am beginning to think, 'who am I trying to kid, I'm a stay at home mum and I think I can make a career out of writing!' but you know I guess it was going to happen. I honestly don't think I've had this feeling so far in my journey writing but it's like reality has hit home.
I've always been very determined, tenacious I suppose, and this has helped me get through life so far. I've always had this need to prove something and feel like I have achieved something I can be proud of. The problem, with someone like me, is that I'm constantly trying to find that itch that I can't quite reach!
Then I remembered wanting to send a letter to Blue Jeans magazine, when I was 10 years old, desperate to win the star letter in an edition of the magazine that I loved. So I wrote a story based around something I knew. It is said 'write about what you know' so I did. My older sister, Lynda, had once lost a tooth and placed it expectantly under her pillow. In the morning she was hopeful for some monetary gift to make the gaping hole in her gum line worthwhile. Instead of a shiny, gold coin (let's be honest in those days probably silver!) she got a note. It was handwritten and read something like this: "Thank you for your tooth however we don't have any coins at the moment so we will have to owe you." It was signed 'the Hairy Fairy'. I wrote a story about it and sent it to Blue Jeans and forgot about it until my mum called me over to say I had a letter. It was from Blue Jeans magazine and I had won the star letter!!!!! I had been awarded £5, which was a lot of money in those days especially to a 10 year old! The pride I felt when my mum took me to the bank to cash the cheque was amazing! They wanted to change the story slightly which I never quite understood. They added, 'my Dad's got a big, red beard.' As if this would explain somehow that he was a hairy fairy - seriously! Mr Bailey, my teacher at the time, made me read it aloud to the class!
I guess I am learning that you can write about what you don't know as long as there is some basis that you do know about and I guess there is something of me in Anastasia. The first two shortest stories, Anastasia and the horses of Boughton Lodge and Anastasia and the Mounted Regal Rescue, introduce a girl that I knew could develop into someone special and by the time she reaches Anastasia and the Russian Field she certainly has experienced and learnt a lot. I too am developing all the time and also learning all the time and realising that you can't just write a story - you need to research, research, research and research some more. Imagine if I'd had the Internet in those days the time I may have spent looking up the tooth fairy!
Now I must google 'what is the going rate for a tooth these days?' in readiness for Ella's first tooth loss.
So I guess I need to take a page out of Anastasia's book and embrace my new challenge. The ironing can wait!