I can reach people, see places and do things beyond my physical ability. On the days when it’s hard to get out of the car and walk into a coffee shop, I e-mail or text my friends and family. Mondays are the weekly reminder to myself and my readers that I am a writer. The rest of the week, I create, control and rescue fictional people. While my life is uncertain, in this make-believe world, I can make all things good. If happy endings are nearly impossible in real life, I will fight to make them happen in my books. That may well mean critics would pass them off as sentimental and twee, but I will never apologise for that.
The book I’m working on right now (I’m on draft 3 so nearly there!) handles a collection of ‘hopeless’ cases. There’s domestic abuse, a disabled vicar, fatherless children, runaway mothers, dysfunctional families, homelessness. Happiness is hard to find. But don’t despair, it’s there…
The thing that holds them all together is a run-down church called St Anthony’s. I chose St Anthony because he is the patron saint of lost things. The story is a twists and turns, highs and lows treasure hunt as we watch the characters search for all that they have lost, forgotten or never knew existed. Some of the people in the story are people I knew back in my past, but most of them I have put there so that I can reach out and help them. I will never be able to stand and serve soup in a soup kitchen, so I make sure my homeless man gets fed. I will never have the energy to help out at kids’ clubs, so I bring my fictional boys to one.
I don’t like being unable to fix things in real life, but I can do my darndest through my writing.
Right now, that’s all I have to give.