My name is Nicola and I am a newbie author. Not a newbie writer, because I have “hobby scribbled” virtually all my life. But some fairly serious mid-life changes have caused me to look at new horizons, and have given me the desire, the hope and the commitment to start a new career as a publishing author.
There are hundreds of new books from hundreds of new authors that come out every year, so what would give you reason to hang around long enough on my website to discover whether you like mine? Not everyone will, of course, but I am going to plunge in and tell you a bit about me and about the passions that drive my writing, with the anticipation that some of you will share some of those. As a generalisation, I write about characters who face external and internal life challenges which cause them to develop disempowering self-beliefs, but who face their struggles in such a way that they ultimately emerge with a deeper understanding of themselves and with the inner strength to reshape their lives.
Here’s a bit about me, so that you can judge whether I have any kind of authority to write about life challenges. I grew up in an abusive family, which eventually led to the divorce of my parents when I was 11. I saw my father no more than a handful of times after that, and my mother sought in me the mini- adult who would take care of her and make the difficult prospect of single-parenting more bearable. Speaking about anything that happened at home, both pre- and post-divorce, was strictly off limits, so I grew up to be a rather socially isolated young person who sought to define herself through the one thing over which she had any control of her own – academic performance.
I married young to a man who could be romantic, sweet, supportive and caring, but who could also be obstinate, self-centred and competitive, and who found coming second an unacceptable outcome both at home and beyond. My own body refused cooperation at the prospect of having biological children, so we adopted two boys, then three and six years old. We had been warned that children who need adoptive homes are usually deeply wounded and can make parenting a rough ride. I love my boys, but I have to confess that that description was accurate. To my enduring regret, my husband left and then divorced me when the boys were in their pre-teen years, which didn’t help with healing their wounds. I have to admit, with hanging head, that being a single mother to two defiant, rebellious and hurting teens was not the high point of my parenting skills. Now they are both grown men, living far away from me. One has been through difficult years, with homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, severe mental health problems, regrettable police attention, and a track record of dubious liaisons. Fortunately, he is now under the care of a wonderful supported housing organisation and his life seems to be taking an upward turn. My other son has always been closer to his father than to me and I have only very intermittent contact with him, by his choice.
Some years after my husband left, I remarried to a man who was quite a bit older than I was, a relationship which grew out of a long warm friendship with both him and his late wife. Her overwhelmingly sudden death left a huge hole in both his and my hearts. He had been my mentor and friend through my studies and beyond, my rock and refuge when things got tough, so perhaps our growing closeness came as no surprise. Unfortunately, I had by that time gathered a small collection of mental health labels, and since then he, too, went through a severe neurological illness which left some enduring problems in its wake. We have had to come to some kind of acceptance of these limitations, and to learn new ways of structuring our lives so that we still have good times together. In that restructuring, I had to give up my first career, one that I had dreamt of since my first week as an undergraduate student – namely, being an academic, both teaching and conducting research in an university environment. In its place, I am now working on building a second career, one which has also been a long-held but rather more secret dream – namely, being a published author of books which people who want to read.
If you have read this far, you will have probably have realized that the passion in my writing derives from delving into the lives of my characters, allowing them to find some kind of resolution to their own particular obstacles, and finding a new light beyond those. One of the luxuries of writing stories of this nature is that it gives me the freedom to grant them new outcomes and new roads beyond their problems, something which has often eluded me in my “real” life. Perhaps I write for my own healing as much as I do for that of my characters.
If you find your interest aroused by the intertwined stories of me and the characters in my writing, I am posting the opening chapters of my first two books, Road to Nowhere and All of You, here on this site. Road to Nowhere is presently available on Amazon and Smashwords. All of You will hopefully be there, too, soon. They form the first two parts of a developing three-book series called Transitions.
Writing with the intention to make it a serious second career has so far been an exciting (and sometimes terrifying) rollercoaster ride. I am looking forward to how my journey develops from here, and I invite you to join me as travel along it.