It is just about 2:00pm and I return to my seat at the dining room table, my make-shift office in a house that has been overtaken by toys, toddler clothes, and a growing pile of important notices from school. All morning I have been glued to my computer, sorting through a collection of short stories that will soon be released as a Redcliffe anthology. They feature characters from the Redcliffe novels, a series of fictional people that have become my secret family in a mundane world.
Soon I will have to shut down my computer, wrestle my toddler into her pushchair, and step out into fierce wind and rain to fetch my older daughter from school. Then the evening will descend into chaos as I fight with the children to eat their tea, get ready for bed, and go to sleep at a reasonable time so that we can do the whole rigmarole again tomorrow.
While I perform my duties as mother and wife, my mind is still occupied by my fictional friends. Jessica Stone, Jack Mason, Danny Mason, and Marcus Scott all jostle for attention. The witch is strong but confused, the vampires are seductive and wicked, the werewolf is playful and proud. What am I supposed to do? Their stories must be told. At present, they are dissatisfied because I cannot reach the audience that that they desire, the audience that they very much deserve. I am doing my best, I tell them. It is not easy being a writer, and a mother, and a housewife. There is so much to organize, so many roles to fulfil, and never enough time in the day.
I push on, as we all must do, because this job is important to me. My stories must be shared with the world, even if that world is often too busy to listen. One day soon, my fortunes will change. I will be the next British bestseller, featured on all the major TV channels, interviewed by all the most influential people. I will. I have to. My dream will never fade.
Their stories must be told.