Ever since I was a little girl I’d wanted to be a writer, but my parents were both professional musicians so that was the road I got steered down, and by the age of 24 I’d somehow ended up a long way away from where I’d hoped to be.
I’d met someone though, and as well as both working full-time we also bought, renovated and sold a lot of houses during the 80s property boom. Things were going very well until, in 1994, my partner left me for our neighbour and my life changed overnight. I had to start again, and all thoughts of fulfilling my life’s ambition to become a writer had to be put on hold while I worked crazy hours to keep myself afloat.
Just when life was finally starting to get a little easier for me I came up with the bright idea of walking away from the little bit of security and income I had in order to finally try and ‘make it’ as some sort of a writer.
This master stroke – unsurprisingly – didn’t go to plan. After writing my book cover-to-cover in three months then almost getting an Agent within weeks of writing it (oh, don’t even ask!), I eventually self-published my debut novel “Just Good Friends?” on Amazon/Kindle, etc, but (after a few more of those dratted twists and kicks) the bulk of my time over the next three years ended up being spent writing my ‘Soapy Corner’ blogs, which took a humorous look at the best (and the worst!) of the week’s events in the wonderful world of Soaps.
By the end of 2012 I was at 36,500 unique page visits/884,000 hits per month, loving what I was doing and feeling/hoping that I was on the verge of securing some sort of full-time position writing in/for the soap-writing world, but my dear father was then diagnosed with terminal cancer and so my writing had to come to a sudden halt.
After he died and I’d sorted everything out I wanted to restart my soap-writing, but I needed to get a mortgage so had to get a ‘proper’ job again. I ended up answering emails in a Building Society’s Call Centre but hated it; not least because it took up too much of my time, so I left and am currently working as a Nanny for a little boy two days a week, and also do half a day’s ironing for a family.
Money’s tight, but it was my choice to work fewer hours, and I did it so that I’d have more spare time to write. The sequel to “Just Good Friends?” was already written in my head, but once I’d finally freed-up the time I unexpectedly hit another bump in the road. No matter how hard I tried; for the best part of a year I was literally been unable to open my Mac up and do anything other than dash off an email or send a Tweet.
I hated myself for it, but had found myself at a point where I felt that, despite writing having been my life-long ambition, I might as well just give up as I clearly wasn’t ever going to be able to write another word. In desperation, and as a last resort, I ended up going to see Paul King from The Beyond Partnership, and after less than two hours talking to him, everything had changed.
That visit was in September 2016, and since then I’ve been unstoppable! I’m buzzzing with ideas, have updated my (very badly-neglected!) site and done a lot of things I’d simply been unable to summon up the enthusiasm for previously. I might be 57 now, but I feel as if I’m finally working positively towards my goal of becoming a writer (and maybe even earning some proper money from it one day too)!
My Writing Successes:
I was proud to have been nominated for – and actually come 3rd in – the Annual Daz ‘Soap Blogger of the Year’ Awards 2011 (as I’d only been Soap blogging for six months at that time), but they haven’t had one since, unfortunately!
I’ve since attended a variety of Emmerdale and Coronation Street Press Events and have enjoyed interviewing many of the cast and production staff (a number of whom also follow me on Twitter).
My most recent paid Soap work was writing a regular weekly post for YahooTVUK (which ended in July 2014 when the site restructured), and I’ve also written for the official Coronation Street Blog team, Corrie Countdown and the prestigious Digital Journal news site, as well as various other bits and pieces along the way – including the Mumsnet bloggers panel.
They even let me loose on the radio, and ‘Jane’s Soapy Corner’ aired between 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday for about three years on local station Swindon 105.5 FM‘s ‘Big Mid-Morning show’. I also did a live weekly internet Soap magazine show for @tellyspy (no longer an active account on Twitter). You can listen to old episodes though, by downloading the PODCASTS app on an iPhone or iPad and keying in ‘Telly Spy‘.
More on my riches to rags story:
The eldest child of two professional Jazz musicians; I lived most of my early life in a small town near Bath before our family moved to Swindon in 1971.
I’d won First Prize in a Children’s National Short Story competition when I was about 12, and my dream was initially train as a journalist, but my parents had other ideas so I went off to study music in Leeds, although I ended up spending quite a bit of time reviewing books and theatrical productions (with a ‘Press’ Badge and everything!) for local student magazines when I really should have been practising my flute!
After finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t really envisage my future as a musician I embarked down a rather different career path: Retail Management, which took me all over the country and eventually led to a move into Training. This was work I really enjoyed, as developing/delivering training courses and producing training manuals encompassed both my love of public speaking, writing and comedy.
My other passion is food and wine. After spotting a big gap in the market, my partner and I had sold our large detached house and were about to turn our backs on our secure, well-paid jobs in order to go into Catering when things came a bit unstuck, and so the coffee shop revolution ended up starting without us as one of its first major players (!).
After a very difficult few years on my own, things were finally starting to pick up a little, but then another unpleasant twist of fate once again stopped me in my tracks. (See what I mean about twists and kicks?!)
Life also took an unexpected turn when I was offered the opportunity to take on the role of Nanny/Housekeeper to a lovely couple and their gorgeous new baby (and his two adorable little brothers who were to come along later). Being part of a busy, growing family was extremely hectic, fun, and provided me with some much-needed stability and a long-forgotten feeling of relative financial security.
Writing had always been in the back of my mind though, and on the night of Friday 8th December 2006 I awoke with a start from a vivid dream which forced me up out of bed to grab a writing pad, and when I took a look at it the next morning I realised that the garbled lines I’d scribbled down while half-asleep were – in fact – the exciting climax to a book.
Over the next few weeks the desire to write finally overwhelmed me. It broke my heart to leave my ‘second family’ after nine happy years, but four months later I took a leap of faith and moved back to Wiltshire where I quickly wrote my debut novel, “Just Good Friends?”.
In my spare time these days I’ll usually be either listening to Radio Comedy, watching TV Comedy, wandering round a Supermarket (my perfect way of relaxing!) or cooking something tasty to enjoy with a glass of good wine. Needless to say: I’m in the gym most days too (well, in theory, anyway!).
* 3rd place in the Daz ‘Soap Blogger of the Year 2011’ Awards
* Currenly working as a proof reader for eAngel.me worldwide corrections agency since Nov 2014
* Writing for DigitalJournal.com for 12 months from Mar 2012
* Writing ‘Best of The Week’s One-Liners’ for YahooTVUK Sept 2013 – Aug 2014
* ‘Jane’s Soapy Corner‘ 10.30-11.00 every Thursday morning on the Big Mid-Morning Show on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Co-presented the Friday evening drive time ‘TGIF’ show 4.00-5.00 pm on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Occasional guest on the Girls About Town show on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Blogger on the ‘Corrie Countdown’ Website
* Other Radio appearances include Rosie Wilby’s ‘Out in South London’ show on Resonance FM, Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Wiltshire.
* Click here to read my interview by fellow writer Morgen Bailey (3/3/12)
* Click here to purchase “Just Good Friends?
If you would like to engage me for my writing or broadcasting services, do please email me in the first instance via my Contact Page, and if you’re a real glutton for punishment you might even like to finish off reading all this stuff about me by watching my one-off comedy stand-up routine on stage by clicking here.
(I’d done it as a favour for a friend. All the material was written by me, but I’m just so gutted that I had a little stumble half way through, as if I’d had a chance to perform it again I’d have absolutely nailed it!)