Do you remember that feeling when you’d done your exam and you were waiting for your results? Well, I’ve just sent off book 2, hopefully to be called ‘Bobby’s War’ ( following ‘Lily’s War’ ..see what I did there? Talk about creating your own brand) to my lovely agent and I’m now waiting to see what she says. I check emails every hour and I look frantically at my phone with a worrying addiction.
I had to get book 2 written quite quickly because I needed to prove to myself that the 6 years spent writing ‘Lily’s War’ was not a one-off. I was also, between you and me, scared whether I could do another one. Lily was such a long-drawn out test of my fortitude, sanity and wine capacity that I was just not sure I could do a second. But, you know what, I loved it! Once someone told me I could write, there was no stopping me. I also found it was a great way to keep busy during the winter, which has now, brilliantly, left me free to enjoy the summer.
I’m using that time to swan around like a prospective best-selling author! I went to the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire and had great fun finding out ridiculously important things about war planes such as whether there were leather or cloth straps in the cockpit. Someone on our campsite, hearing of our plans for the day, suggested to Kevin that he would enjoy the museum but his wife might be bored! We soon put him right on that sexist assumption! Next week, I’m going to Tempsford where the Special Overseas Operatives (spies to you and me) were flown from. I’ve just been to Hay Festival having wonderful fantasies that they might ask me to be a guest speaker before I’m on a zimmer frame. I know but you can but dream! We’ve been going to Hay for years and this year, I couldn’t help but get a little thrill of excitement that I, too, was going to be an author.
Someone who heard me talking at the Wirksworth Festival– a much bigger and more prestigious event than that little Hay Festival obvs- said they did like the way I didn’t take myself too seriously. Of course I don’t. I’m in my 60s, got chubby knees and was brought up in Liverpool. A serious attitude is something I’ve never been able to adopt very effectively. In fact, when I was on my BBC training course, my tutor put on my report “If Shirley bubbled as much behind the mic as she does in the BBC bar, she’d make an excellent presenter.” One of my proudest moments, that.