I’ve been going through a ‘funny phase’ as my old mum would say. One where I’m not sure what direction I want my career to take. At 60, I’m technically old enough to retire but writers never retire; the urge to write is too deep, too embedded. Besides, writing isn’t ageist – top writers can produce cracking books whatever age they are. Mary Wesley, for example, was 71 when her first book was published. Roald Dahl was still writing up to his untimely death in 1990, aged 74 and Diana Athill’s memoir, Alive, Alive Oh! was published last year. She’s 99! It works the other way round, too. The indefatigable Susan Price (below) was only 16 when her first children’s book, The Devil’s Piper, was published.
Although the last book I had published was in 2012 – Here Come the Girls (non-fiction), I’ve been writing as much as ever.
One thing I’ve been doing is researching the lives of all the soldiers (and one nurse) from the Nottinghamshire village where I live, who died during World War 1 (1914-1918). This has been published in the village magazine and I’ve enjoyed the historical research aspect of it. I’ve discovered what an itinerant life many farm labourers led during the 1880s – 1920s.
Using parish registers and census returns, you can see from the various places their children were baptised how often they travelled to find work. It was a harsh, uncertain life and who knows, I might use that fact in a story one day.
The other direction I’ve taken is with Baby Football Fan. The bespoke gift book for Huddersfield Town fans is in the club shops and available from the online website. I am now looking into taking the idea to Premier League clubs. However, this project means I am not only the author but also the publisher and distributor, too – something I’ve never done before. I had an audit with the highly supportive Royal Literary Fund a few weeks ago and they thought the idea was great and gave me advice on how to proceed. I’m meeting with a consultancy firm next week to seek advice from them, too.
I am also half way through writing a story for 8-11s but I kept getting stuck in the same place. I’ve put this to one side until I figure out why. It may be that I abandon the book and start something else or I go back and finish it and it goes on to win All The Prizes. Who knows?
What I’m not going to do is beat myself up about it. If I never have another book published, that’s fine. The world – yours and mine – will not stop because there aren’t any Helena Pielichaty books on the shelves. However, for those of you who are now wretched at that radical thought, my next blog will give a comprehensive list of which titles are still available, either as e-books or in that paper stuff. Back soon, pals.