By Louise Mercer, author of ‘If Only You Knew’
Amy is the best friend any girl can have! When Laura finds herself in a new village, running a business she has no experience of and battling an unpleasant ex-boyfriend as well as her attraction to an extremely bad tempered but gorgeous looking vet, Amy becomes her rock. Fiercely loyal with a vulnerability that makes your heart melt, Amy Sharples very quickly became one of my favourite characters. Ask me for my inspiration behind her? Well, I can’t do it justice without an explanation about myself. Like so many people I know, I’ve spent the last few weeks waiting for the end of lockdown or a reduction in the Tier system. Sadly, the light at the end of the tunnel is still far away where I live in Lancashire, England. I’m missing so many things that I took for granted. Socialising at work. Going out to the shops (without queuing). Enjoying a glass of wine in my local and the biggy, meeting my lovely friends. I’ve been extremely lucky in my life to be surrounded by the creme de la creme when it comes to my friends. Some I see regularly and some maybe once every few years, but when we meet, it’s like we only saw each other yesterday. They know my deepest secrets. They know what makes me cry, what my fears are. What makes me smile and giggle and most importantly, they accept me for being ME! As an only child, there was always the wish inside me that I had the camaraderie of peers around me. During winter, when my friends went home to snuggle down for the evening, I envied the fact that their ‘playtime’ didn’t stop. It took me years to realise that I actually had the better deal. While they fought over what programme to watch, who got to sit in the comfy chair and who had the last chocolate, I’d watch my favourite show in peace, sitting at the side of my mum and dad and eat a FULL box of chocolates. Unfortunately, my parents died young and as I’ve grown up, especially since becoming a ‘mummy’ I have stopped myself so many times because what comes out of my mouth is their exact words! Can you not turn a light out? Do you think I’m made of money? It’s about time you took some responsibility. However, one thing I don’t regret learning from them is letting my son know every day that he’s loved. It turns out my bestest friends with their unconditional love are no longer around. However, I can’t complain because my life is full of fabulous people who never try to fill anyone’s shoes, but always appear when I need them the most. I thought I had a small family. In fact I have a huge family who are completely and utterly bonkers. Like gravitate to like. That’s what they say about people, isn’t it? WRONG! I’m one of the quieter people in life. Admittedly, I have my moments, but the majority of the time I’m happy to be sat with a group of friends just having a chat. So, why do I know the girl who has to go skinny dipping and be dragged out the sea by the police? Why does my friend calmly shrug when her parachute fails to open? Why does a friend who lives thirty miles away always end up buying the same clothes as me (and refers to herself as Moon Unit 2B)? Why do I always collapse in giggles at the word ‘Fajita’? I have a friend who literally hoovers my clothing after I’ve eaten (no, I’m not that messy). Why do I find myself carrying a duck around a housing estate? (yes, a real duck with twelve ducklings in tow). One girl insists on calling my hubby ‘Man Wednesday’ (I still haven’t figured that one out!) Why do I know someone who’s fined for discourteous driving when she holds down a responsible job, and why did I end up almost getting thrown out of my own fortieth birthday party because my mate tried to wear the pub’s Christmas tree? All that to one side, when times get tough they turn up. I can rely on them for ANYTHING! This eclectic group of crazy, wonderful people make me the person who I am and encourage me to be….Me. They are all Amy. The best friend any girl can ever have.