Can you tell me about your new book Full Circle?
Full Circle is a book about life, love and destiny. It’s the story of me – a normal girl from a good family, a family that do all they can to protect me and make my life as comfortable as possible – though I still struggle with the huge pressures of growing up and the incredibly high expectations we set ourselves. It seems we always have to be better than the next person in looks, personality, stamina, achievements and it’s hard to escape the effect that these constant battles can have on us.
From my early teens I have written diaries documenting these struggles: my thoughts, feelings, dreams, desires and innermost emotions are expressed through periods of bullying, dieting, drinking too much, heartache, chasing the wrong things in life, the wrong men, living in different counties, and ultimately searching for my peace and, of course, true love and balance.
When I eventually found my answer in the strangest of circumstances, I realized that my life had come full circle. I wanted to shout about it to try to help all those on similar journeys and let people close to them in on what may be going on. The story is told through a compilation of original diary excerpts linked together and enriched with narrative and the wisdom of hindsight. It’s happy, sad, funny and serious, but above all very real.
What sparked the original idea?
My diaries did, as I have documented everything that passed through my heart and mind, something I don’t believe many people have done so consistently. This means that I have an up to date account of all that I have gone through in life that has led me to where I am today. My father always thought it was fascinating as he watched the diaries mount up year after year and suggested on many an occasion that I should one day publish them. The thought scared me as it seemed comparable to exposing myself to the world stark naked. However, once I found my conclusion, the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, I decided it could actually be a good idea. Things came good in the end and I feel that others could benefit from the story.
What research, if any, was needed to write it?
I didn’t really do any research, other than fish out the years of diaries that I had stashed away dating back to when I was thirteen years old and plough through them, selecting the appropriate excerpts to tell my story.
Can you share about the writing process – did you plan in advance or write it by the seat of your pants?
I suppose the majority of it was written by the seat of my pants. I did it very much in bits, in fits and starts, as I was juggling little kids at the same time but I did have a structure. I had an idea of what the main chapters would be and I kind of built around them. I selected the relevant diary excerpts from each period and then wrote a narrative around them to keep the story flowing. The diary excerpts being original brought back crystal clear memories so it was relatively easy to tie them together with narrative and my current reflection brought the story to life and back to the present moment.
Could you describe two or three of the characters from your book?
The main character in the book is me. I’ve always been a bit of an over thinker. I analyze everything and try to figure out life and people all the time. I feel everything a lot – good and bad. So although I love to have fun and party, and live life to the full, behind closed doors there’s a lot of reflection and sadness. I can also be rather ditsy, which is what brings a lot of humour into the book.
Another main character who runs throughout the book is my Grandmother – a lasting inspiration in so many ways and an example that I tried to follow. She was an incredibly strong woman who followed her heart against all odds and never stopped believing in the good, in destiny, in love and in the fact that our dreams would come true. She rose every time she fell, smiled and always wore lipstick and nail varnish no matter how much she may have been struggling in her later years. She was a remarkable woman who spread hope.
The message that I would like people to understand is that no matter what background we come from – no matter how good or how bad – none of us are immune to the struggles of growing up and of life in general. We live in an increasingly competitive world and it can at times seem incredibly difficult to stay afloat. We set ourselves extremely high standards and are led to believe that we need to achieve so much, that we and our lives need to be as good as damn it perfect in order to be happy. This is where many of us fall victim to vices in an attempt to gain some sort of control, whereas often the things we believe we are controlling can quickly start controlling us. The constant search for balance, harmony, peace and of course true love can often seem so tough and at times even impossible, though if we keep positive, keep picking ourselves up, smiling and believing, we will get there in the end.
Now that I know she was right, as my grandmother used to, I am trying to spread a little hope too.
Where can people buy the book?
Where can you be found online?