I’ve always had a secret desire to be an author.
Even after writing academic papers, a PhD thesis, had letters and articles published in newspapers and magazines, I’ve yearned to be a Proper Author with my name on a book. Over the years I’ve gathered ideas for novels and even got as far as a first draft. Then a similar storyline cropped up in a well-known series on TV and that was that.
Inspiration can be found in strange places. Three years ago I volunteered to help my parish council develop a Neighbourhood Plan which involved consulting local residents for their views on housing needs and the best places for development. During the process I heard many interesting tales of neighbourly interactions and I noticed similar stories in the news about disputes between neighbours over hedges, parking, noise and building works. As a psychologist I was fascinated by how these situations arose, how they were dealt with and the consequences. They shed light on the minefield of undercurrents, subtexts and etiquette involved in the type of forced relationships that exist between neighbours.
One day as I was thinking, all those thoughts coalesced and An Annoyance of Neighbours was conceived. Once I started writing I couldn’t stop! When searching for a word and later when editing and proof reading the manuscript, I often thought about the wonderful Merchant Taylors’ education I received in grammar and punctuation. I vividly recall an English lesson in the use of Roget’s Thesaurus, which came in very handy!
I had great fun researching and writing my book. It will never win The Man Booker Prize but I’m proud of it and I can finally call myself an Author.
So if getting published is on your bucket list and you’ve got something part-written gathering dust somewhere or even just an idea, have confidence in yourself, get writing and resolve to finish it. If I can do it, so can you!
Dr Angela Lightburn (née Trench) is the author of An Annoyance of Neighbours published by Troubador Publishing Ltd and available on Amazon as a paperback and ebook. Find me on Facebook and Twitter.