A lady came along to a library event I delivered recently (I don’t know her name so I’ll call her Mrs Miggs) where she proceeded (rather nicely) to list a few things she didn’t really like about my debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
Please believe me that this doesn’t happen often! Readers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and journalists are terribly supportive to writers. But this lady’s reaction did set me thinking about why I write and what it means to me. So, for Mrs Miggs and anyone else who might be interested, here are fifteen reasons why I do it…
1. I write because it’s my dream. The urge to do so has burned in my chest, from when I was young and used to read cereal packets at the breakfast table and shampoo bottles in the bath and knew that I wanted to write too.
2. I write because I have characters in my head, who create a fuss until I share their stories. They want me to kick start their adventures and hold their hand, to take them to a better place in their lives.
3. I write because I come from a town recently named as the most deprived in the UK. I thought that kids like me didn’t become writers and I want to share that they can.
4. I write to show my eleven-year-old son that, although I might do his ironing and make his tea, Mum has a proper job which not only involves creating stories, but which allows her to travel to amazing places and meet wonderful people. When I write novels I’m also developing my website and social media, networking and creating relationships, writing articles and blogs, encouraging other people to write and (*sadface*) doing my accounts.
5. I write because if I don’t do it then I get terribly grouchy, and that’s not good for anyone.
6. I write because I love fairy stories. Remember when you were little and never questioned if a pumpkin could turn into a carriage of if a glass slipper might splinter? I still feel the same way now. Life sometimes sucks and I want to write feel-good fiction with a touch of make-believe, to offer a little escape – for myself as well as readers.
7. I write because it’s two fingers up (or one) to the boss who bullied me at work, to demonstrate, whether he knows it or not, that you can be successful through positivity and hard-work, rather than manipulation and putting others down.
8. I write to try and make people (and myself) laugh and cry and grab hold of life with both hands and not let go.
9. I write because I believe that words can change people’s lives. I saw The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper as an enjoyable story about a retired gentleman who discovers a charm bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe and sets off on a journey to find out the story behind the charms. But I also wanted it to be a guidebook for bereavement, an opportunity for readers going through the same experience to share Arthur’s journey and find a little hope at the end of it. Likewise, my second novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, deals with issues such as infertility, marriage difficulties and family disputes.
10. I write to make a living, because I don’t want to go back to working in an office in the city centre. (Please don’t make me go back!)
11. I write to encourage anyone who doesn’t have the confidence to put pen to paper, that it’s okay to try. I share my A-Z of writing tips on my website www.phaedra-patrick.com/writing-tips
12. I write because a close friend died a few years ago and it taught me that life is short. Writing my books enabled me to put her name in print, in a dedication, so that her daughter and parents know what she meant to me.
13. I write for all the people in my life who ever told me that I couldn’t do something, to show that I can.
14. I write because I can spend time in my head in wonderful locations. While my body may be sitting at my computer desk, my mind may be at the seaside, or in London or Paris. I feel alive when I’m researching people, objects and places.
15. I write to make my friends and family proud.
Of course, I didn’t have time to say all this to Mrs Miggs. I told her that everyone is different and books are different, and how great it is that we each have that choice to make.
Readers are essential for writers, and writers are essential for readers. It’s a fantastic symbiotic relationship. But when I write, I do so for the reasons I list here, not personally for Mrs Miggs. So I’ll turn her comments into a big positive, that she influenced me to write this piece, which allows me to express my appreciation to anyone who does read and enjoy my books.
I am truly grateful. Thank you x
Phaedra Patrick is the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which has been published in more than twenty languages worldwide and film rights optioned in the US. Her second novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, was released in the US in May 2017 and will be published in the UK next year. She lives in the Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.
Find out more about her on her website http://www.phaedra-patrick.com/
Follow her on Twitter @phaedrapatrick
Phaedra Patrick’s debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, was hailed as “poignant” and “utterly endearing.” Now she returns with Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, a gem of a novel about family, forgiveness and one man’s second chance at happiness.
Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…
And then a surprise arrives at his door.
Gemma is Benedict’s audacious teenage niece—the daughter of his estranged brother, Charlie. The two Stone brothers had a falling out and haven’t spoken in almost two decades, since Charlie left for America. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict’s world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track…
Filled with colorful characters and irresistible charm, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone is a luminous reminder of the unbreakable bonds of family, and shows that having someone to embrace life with is always better than standing on your own.