Guest Blog by Louise Mercer.
My working background
I’ve worked for the NHS as a data analyst for over twenty-five years. Over the past eighteen months it’s been demanding, pressured and relentless. Working weekends and evenings on eleven-hour days, twelve days on and two days off! It’s been scary, tiring, and stressful, but I’ve had a vice to come down after those long shifts… my writing.
After many struggles, I became a mummy to our now 13 year old son, Thomas back in 2007. I felt like I’d been given the moon and stars to hold. Of course, sleepless nights and teething soon took the shine off, but he is still the main reason I smile every day. To enjoy as much time with him, I reduced my working hours to part-time when he was born, and I’ve refused to budge and increase them since. With Thomas now at High School, my time at home on Fridays is now my writing space and I try to ring-fence that as much as possible. The house will be a mess; dirty windows, wet towels on the bathroom floor, muddy paw prints around the kitchen, but I ignore it all, open my laptop and start my 2nd job, the one I love the most!
Did I always want to be an author?
I adore reading, I always have. As a child I could be found in a make-shift tent in my dads garden with an Enid Blyton book in my hands. I devoured them all, from Malory Towers, Secret Seven to Famous Five. As a teenager and into my early twenties I would read many genres, but I would always return to romance. The ‘will they or won’t they’, the big ‘Happy Ever After’, the funny situations and tear-jerking moments, they drew me in.
Opening a book is like escaping to another world and so many stories offered me the opportunity to live another life. On cruise ships, country farms, running Manor Houses; the choices are endless. I started researching the authors and I discovered they were just like me! They lived normal lives, they had kids, dogs, dirty floors and weetabix stained clothing yet they’d created a world and a set of characters that I was able to live through. I admired them and envied them the ability to sail a boat, run a cafe, become the head of PR and fall in love all without leaving a room. I wanted that.
My husband bought me a laptop Christmas 2018 and by mid January I had written twenty chapters of ‘If Only You Knew’ and suddenly found a part of me that I never knew was missing. I also knew instantly that I’d found something for life. No-one could take my imagination away from me.
Genres of book
Romance, romance and romance… all the way! I’ve tried thrillers, horror, sci-fi; I appreciate the stories, I still turn the pages and gasp at the twists and turns, but I always return to romance. Yet, I’m not a romantic person myself! I tenderly say goodnight to my husband with the words, ‘Night, night, Knobhead’. If someone told me I was pretty I’d snort, if anyone tried to chat me up I’d look to my side to see who they’ve really got their eye on. Flowers, champagne and flirting are for my book characters. I’m happy with a bag of chips, a bottle of cheap wine and a DVD.
The best thing about being a writer
It gives you the chance to escape. If you’re a stress-head like me, then small problems become big worries and a few weeks later you wonder why you’d wasted your time fretting over something so needless. Writing allows me to bury my head. My worries and anxieties disappear and I become absorbed in a different place. It also gives me the opportunity to get things off my chest. Upsetting situations, challenging days can be written about and handled by someone else. I see it through my characters eyes and learn to handle the worries better.
Someone once said to me, write what you know about, even if it’s sad or didn’t end well because the chances are someone else is also going through that situation, and your book may help them to recover. It also helps (or doesn’t help) that I’m the Queen of Cringe. If it’s going to happen, it will happen to me. I don’t think my toe-curling stories will dry up anytime soon, I have plenty of personal ammunition left for another hundred novels.
Of course, from another perspective, the really great thing about being a writer is seeing your book on a book shelf! I have two large book shelves at home both with a copy of my book readily visible. I love searching for my book on amazon and seeing the story and characters I created right there and people’s comments after reading it. It’s a total buzz! If I could wish for one thing now, it would be for this to be my career. To spend my days writing would be pure joy!
The Pandemic has prevented me from doing the book signing and launch parties, but I dreamt about them! I love signing books for readers who contact me and for friends who have bought the book for either themselves or as a gift for someone else. Promoting my book has been a learning curve, I’m not a huge user of social media and I’ve had to force myself to be more visible online and to spend time researching the best sites and where my audiences sit. I’m getting better at it! I do have to stop myself from writing and remind myself that books don’t sell themselves! There’s no point putting your heart and soul into a story unless you know you have an audience keen to read it. I’m now learning to spend some of my Fridays doing a bit of selling homework!
Where you can buy my book:
Or find me on:- Facebook @LouiseMercerAuthor
Or Twitter:- @LouiseMercer1