These days, I tend to write only about whatever enthuses me and changes my life, and hope that others may find it inspiring too. My most recent non-fiction books – ‘Flourish! A gentler way to grow people’ and ‘Survivor on Death Row’ probably illustrate this personal involvement with the subjects.
A number of my non-fiction books are based on interviews, so the reader hears not one but a whole variety of voices, of people with very different life experiences. It’s always fascinating to hear which particular story a reader identifies with their own life.
Once upon a time, at the very beginning of writing (at about the age of nine, when I wanted to be an author and a ballerina – I saw no problem in multitasking), I dreamed of writing a book that a real live reader would select and take home from the library and spend a whole week browsing through and thinking about, before taking it back for someone else to discover.
In my teens, I grew realistic. I probably wasn’t going to be a ballerina. I would settle for just being a writer.
Once the first book was successfully published, I envisaged going on to write more novels, stories, poetry, that hundreds, maybe thousands, of readers would like so much that they would cheerfully surrender their library ticket or money in exchange for one of them.
I wanted to write for people who, like me, found in books a gateway to another world, who would get lost in the story and keep thinking about the characters or the ideas even after they’d reached the last page.
Recently, it occurred to me that somewhere along the line the dream got blurred. Not lost – it did become a reality. 12 books were commercially published, several more online; I won a literary award; there were foreign editions, press reviews – some enthusiastic, some discouraging; there were radio and magazine serialisations, articles and stories published … but what happened to the joy of writing? For The Reader With The Library Ticket, and for me?
So now, I write for the joy of telling other people’s stories – whether real people in non-fiction books or fictional characters in novels and magazine stories – and hope that others may enjoy meeting them too.