I am a six-times Sunday Times Bestselling author of ten books, have been shortlisted twice for RNA awards (for Novel of the Year in 2010 with Fairytale of New York and again in 2012 for Contemporary Novel of the Year for It Started With a Kiss), have been published in fifteen languages and been a bestseller in four countries, have sold a million books and still can’t believe all of the above has happened to me!
I always wanted to be a writer. My first ambition was to write a book worthy of display on the shelves of wonderful Kingswinford Library (which, at the time, was not much bigger than somebody’s living room, but to wide-eyed five-and-a-half year old me was a palace of dreams). Consequently, my childhood and teens were filled with lots and lots of ‘Chapter Ones’ and grand schemes for amazing stories that would set the world alight (if only I could write more than one chapter of them).
Then someone at sixth form college suggested that writing books was ‘childish’. So I stopped writing. It was a daft thing to do, but for the next ten years I didn’t write, choosing to believe the Sayers of Doom instead of listening to what my heart was telling me to do.
Fast-forward to 2001, when a lovely friend gave me a very old, reconditioned PC (which I was later to immortalise as Old F the coffee machine in my debut novel, Fairytale of New York). There was something about messing about on a computer keyboard that kickstarted ideas in my brain and one day I wrote a paragraph that began: This city is not mine by birthright… Seven years later, after one fatal PC crash, a very embarrassing email to a dodgy ex (who I’d sent the story so far to, asking for him to send me the chapters I’d lost) and a fantastically scary friend called Lindsey who wanted to read more than I had written, that paragraph had become Coffee at Kowalski’s – a novel I uploaded onto Authonomy.com which, amazingly, was spotted by an editor at AVON (HarperCollins) and published as Fairytale of New York in 2009.
Fairytale became an instant bestseller, reaching number 8 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers List and staying in the top 10 for five weeks. To date, it has sold over 150,000 copies (I thought it would be awesome if it sold 500, so you can imagine my shock when it passed the 100k mark…)
My next five novels, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take A Look At Me Now and I’ll Take New York have all become top 20 Sunday Times Bestsellers, followed by A Parcel for Anna Browne, Searching for a Silver Lining, Christmas in St Ives (an ebook novella and prequel to Somewhere Beyond the Sea), Somewhere Beyond the Sea and The Day We Meet Again. To date, I have sold over one million books worldwide. I am also the founder of WriteFoxy – offering a whole host of resources for writers at all stages of their writing careers, including inspiration days, online resources, vlogs and more to be announced soon. I’ve been vlogging about writing and my books since 2010 and you can watch them and subscribe to my channel HERE.
One note for you, if you’re a writer: the dream is possible. It happened for me, so it can happen for you. Never stop believing and never stop creating awesome word-worlds for people to wander through. And if you’d like to know more about writing (or anything else), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!