Today I'm excited to have Elizabeth Kyne here as part of her blog tour to promote her new romantic comedy If Wishes Were Husbands.
And now here's Elizabeth...
WHEN I DECIDED TO STOP BEING SENSIBLE
Author Elizabeth Kyne reveals why she swapped logic for a career in writing
I had a sensible job once. It was, after all, the sensible thing to do. I put everything into this job, worked six days per week, got in early, thought about it and continued to work on new ideas after I left the office – the whole shebang. Then, one day, when I was at a training course for my job, some 130 miles away from base, I managed to get as far as the tea break before I burst into tears in front of a group of strangers. I walked out of the room sobbing and saying “I can’t cope anymore”. It was this incident that made me realise that having a normal life with a normal job maybe wasn’t such a good idea after all.
I’d not always succumbed to the idea of being normal. When I first graduated with a diploma in radio journalism, I went freelance and spent seven years mixing writing with being on the radio, mostly newsreading. During my studies, I’d managed to get a magazine article published – for which I got paid! – and I wanted to continue doing that, while the radio stuff gave me extra income. This was great for about seven years, until the novelty started to wear off. I also started to get jealous of friends of mine who would, for example, book some time off work and still receive the same salary at the end of the month; or who could go out on a Saturday night without worrying about getting up on Sunday morning to get some work done.
Maybe this concept of a regular job wasn’t such a bad idea after all, I thought. I decided to get one.
I had this crazy idea that a ‘proper job’ would give me more of an opportunity to write fiction. I’d always written stories, ever since I’d bashed out a dreadful science fiction adventure novel on an old typewriter we had lying around when I was twelve, but it had been tough to write a novel at the same time as freelancing. Every time I sat down and wrote “Chapter One”, I would get interrupted by a phone call which meant paid writing work with a deadline, and that had to take priority. But a ‘proper job’ would be different, with its guaranteed weekends and time off. After all, loads of novelists have had writing careers while holding down a day job.
I don’t think any of these writers had worked in radio. The concept of getting up early to write before going to the office is fine when you’re on a nine-to-five, but when you have to be at work by 5am for the breakfast shift, the prospect of getting up a couple of hours earlier has little attraction. The work itself also sapped the creativity from my brain, so I had little left to give to a novel. By the time I realised that, it seemed easy to give up on writing at weekends too, and surrender to the temptation of going to parties and having fun.
It was the sensible thing to do.
I put everything into this job, and ended up presenting an afternoon radio programme every weekday, plus a specialist gardening show on the Saturday. It was a long week and I was effectively doing the work of two people. Then, when the person I was working with got into trouble with management and was suspended, the workload was piled onto me. I don’t think I quite realised the stress I was under until I went on this one-day training course. After a night in a very hot hotel unable to sleep, it only took several people to ask me the wrong thing and all the stress came out in one go.
The following morning, as I sat in my nightshirt on the step outside my patio door at home, I started to think about my future. I was forty years old and, even though I wasn’t exactly young, I still had more than twenty years to go until retirement age. Did I want to stay in that job for another twenty years? No, I didn’t.
I decided I didn’t have to be sensible anymore. I negotiated to go part time at work, I rented out my house and I moved back with my parents so I could write. It wasn’t an entirely barmy idea. I had, after all, made a living freelancing some years before which included publishing some non-fiction books; and I’d had a little bit of success with stories entered into competitions along the way.
It was, I have to say, harder than it seemed. I hadn’t written for a while and I had to re-learn my craft. I wrote one novel which ended up in the bottom drawer because it wasn’t good enough. It was, however, good practice, and I continued to persevere. A couple of years later, my novel If Wishes Were Husbands is out there and I’m on my way to starting a new life. I still miss those regular payslips at the end of the month, but do I really want to go back to that sensible life? No, I don’t think I do.
If Wishes Were Husbands
Rachel re-invents herself when she moves back to her home town of Aylesbury; with a new job, a new house and a new haircut. But people’s eyes glaze over when she tells them about her life as a forty-something singleton who works in accounts. So why not spice things up a bit? Why not tell her new hairdresser and her new friends about her fantastic husband? Everyone wants to hear about Darren, the man who cooks her amazing meals, cleans the house and takes her to bed for orgasmic sex three times a night! What a shame he doesn't exist…
…Until she comes home one night and finds Darren sitting in her lounge. And everything she said becomes true: from his sensuous food to his skill in bed. So real, that she believes it.
Not as if living with a perfect is man is… well, perfect…
She can’t find anything because every time she puts something down, he tidies it away. Then there’s the shock of the credit card bill from buying all that gourmet food. Not to mention the sex! Three times a night is great at first, but sometimes all she wants at the end of the day is a sandwich and some sleep.
Then Rachel decides that Darren has to go - and that’s when her troubles really begin.
Elizabeth Kyne takes the absurdities of the modern woman's quest for love and turns them into an enjoyable romp. She finds the comic in everyday situations, from buying a dress to experimenting with hair dye at home. While, underneath, she comments on the pressure to find the perfect husband and how that quest is doomed for us all.
Elizabeth Kyne trained to be a radio journalist and spent her early working years reading news bulletins and writing for magazines. Later, after learning the meaning of “mortgage” and “gas bill”, she decided to do the sensible thing and drop the freelance lifestyle to get a proper job. The job, however, all went horribly wrong and she returned to her first love of writing, and worked on several novels before finding success with “If Wishes Were Husbands”.