Well, I haven't written a blog post since March....to be fair, I do tend to neglect this blog, but there has been rather a lot going on this year, most of it not good. As we are just a day or two away from 2018, I thought I'd just tell you about my year.
Last year around this time, I was worried about my dad who was having awful pains in his leg. He was generally unwell. My mum had her usual health problems and at 89 most of us would, but was mostly not too bad. The doctor was trying to find out what was wrong with Dad's leg, but of course everything shut down for Christmas. My daughter and I had to take Christmas lunch down to them as Dad couldn't walk.
By the 3rd of Jan, I think it was, Dad was worse and was taken into hospital. To cut a very long story short, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and secondary bone cancer. His thigh bone was fractured. He was given months rather than years, but they couldn't be more specific. Although Dad was 88, it was still a bit of a shock for us all and Mum, who had started to have much more than the normal memory lapses for her age, didn't really take it in - neither did Dad come to that.
Again, cutting to the chase, by the summer Dad had been home and then back in hospital after a fall, and the big shock - Mum had a fall and went to hospital. Six weeks later she died. That was on the 14th of June and then on the 23rd of July came the biggest shock for me personally, I had a heart attack.
I couldn't quite believe it to be honest. I'm not your average candidate - I don't smoke, don't eat much processed food, I was drinking quite a bit given the stress of Mum and Dad though. Stress is what they reckon caused it. There was so much to do during that time, involving sorting out my parents with carers and hospital appointments, rushing round there at 2am when one of them had fallen again, so, so much to worry bout. Anyway, just as I was trying to get my head around the heart attack and Mum's death, Dad died in August.
I can tell you I wasn't really in a good place after all that. My husband and family were wonderful, but in the end they couldn't really understand what I was feeling. Neither could I, so I just threw myself into writing. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened. Over the year I'd had quite a lot of interest from various agents asking for the full manuscript of a previous story, but in the end they all said no. So I decided to start a new one. Well, actually I was 2,000 words in, when a publisher said they's like to see the rest - that's when I was in hospital. Ten weeks later it was finished. Two weeks after that, I had a book deal with the brilliant Bloodhound Books. Rip Current will be out in April and Another Mother, will be out in June.
When I was writing, I didn't have to think about the real world and dwell on my heart attack. I was still having chest pains, which the consultant said was atypical and that nothing could be really done about it. He was satisfied it wasn't cardiac related. I still get them now, but not too often thank goodness. I have quite a few meds, which is all new to me too. Writing helped take my mind away from the death of my parents too for a time. I have always written - it's like breathing to me, but it is even more important now than it ever was. It got me through the darkest time I've ever had, and for that I am very thankful.
Right at the end of the year it all feels a bit surreal and I expect it will take a long time to process it all and eventually come to terms, but I do feel hopeful about next year. 2018 can't come soon enough, and I will do everything I can to make sure it's a good one. One thing's for sure it will involve writing as I'm convinced it is good for my health. Here's a picture of the Cornish coast not far from me - that's good for my health too. Here's wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2018!