Posted by Lizzie Lamb
Firstly, a big thank-you to Lizzie for having me on her lovely blog.I think she would agree with me when I say that, for many people, writing is a vocation. It is chosen for you and not by you. Many months or years can pass without you following that dream and it can be interrupted mid flow by unforeseen circumstances but, in your heart, the desire to write will not let go of you, despite whatever life path you may be led down. Some stories are like that too. They hover at your shoulder, waiting for their moment. They provide valuable lessons in patience and perseverance, amongst many other things.
Last Chance Angel was like that. The beginnings of this story go back to when I was living in Oxford and taking my A’levels. I was on my bicycle and involved in a collision with a car. I had a lucky escape and my good fortune was constantly at the back of my mind over the following years. I had no idea that this would be the catalyst for a story which has now been short-listed for five awards including the Romantic Novelists’ Association Award in the young adult category. In some ways I consider it a miracle that this story was completed at all, just as it was a miracle that day that I was not seriously hurt.
Once I actually put pen to paper, (and I do always begin my first drafts in this way) it took many more years before the book was ready for submission. This book was witness to many ups and downs in my life, both personally and professionally. In the middle of it I stopped writing altogether and wondered at times if I would ever find the strength and resilience to once again take up the reins of my writing life. But, little by little I did and it is thanks to this book. This was a story which would not let go of me and for my own self-respect I knew that I could not let go of it.
I had no idea whether anyone would want to publish it but I promised myself that if no-one did, I would publish it myself. I had formed a bond with Jess, my main character; I wanted her voice to be heard and I wanted my hours of work to see the light. I hoped that a few people at least might enjoy reading it. I was incredibly lucky to find a mainstream publisher and not just any publisher, but the right one for this book. Templar have supported me every step of the way. It has been an amazing experience and I cannot thank them enough.
This book will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s the one that got me back into writing. To any writers out there who are sitting at the page and thinking ‘is this really worth it?’ or those of you who say to themselves and others ‘I’d love to write a book but don’t think I could’ I would say this; it is worth it and yes you can. Do not look back in years to come with regrets; follow your dream; dig deep when times get tough and even if you have to step aside for a while, make yourself a promise not to give up.
You can find out more about my writing life at alex-gutteridge.blogspot.co.uk and follow me on Twitter at alexgutteridge1