Wednesday, 13 April 2011

So, tell me a little about yourself...

Er?  Umm?  What do you say when someone—an agent!?  A publisher!?—asks you the mind-stultifying question, “Tell me a little bit about yourself?”  In my shoes, you gabble.  You flush down to your décolleté and search manically for your Unique Selling Point.  Any selling point would do.  Your page, however, is suddenly blank, where only yesterday, whilst creating your latest masterpiece—complete with absolute Unique Selling Point—words were tripping over themselves in an effort to get out. 

As a writer, you have to wear so many hats, juggle so many balls.  Even without on-line promo and social networking, which for the less computer savvy (moi) is brain-addling in itself, you can bet your life when a writer says they divide their time between writing and full-time harassed mum, or dad, they are probably wearing a few more hats than that.  Maybe they are zombie-like writers by night and a full time/part time working parent by day, often to be seen dashing back to the car to collect the baby they forgot they’d got because baby did the incomprehensible and fell asleep.     

But here’s the thing, those same people are also very likely to have other demands on their time.  A special child perhaps, who might need a little bit more of that precious commodity, time?  An angst-stressed teenager or two...or three!?  An ageing parent…or two?  Which brings me back to my previous blog:
Everbody Hurts...Sometimes, the overriding theme there being “be kind to people”, particularly on Internet forums, because you only ever get a snapshot of that person and can’t possibly know what might be going on in their lives.  It could all be roses, of course, but let’s face it, life often isn’t—for most people…sometimes.   

So who am I?  OK, I’m a mother who has someone special in her life, requiring that bit more time.  I'm a partner in a financial services business, ergo responsible for everything from data protection, consumer crediting, client fact-finding, computer inputting to who does the dusting.  I have an art degree, which allowed me the privilege of teaching art to down’s children previously.  I’m currently a critique partner on a school’s learning project.  I nursed a parent through early Alzheimers, where NHS care was non-existent; a gentle, intelligent woman who carried herself with quiet dignity, until that awful disease stripped it away.  Ah, yes, and I foster disadvantaged dogs, ancient, blind and decrepit…but completely loveable…from the local rescue centre.  Phew.  As life skills go, not completely talentless then.

Oh, I’m also a writer, the frustrations of which have been known to turn me from a reasonably nice person ;) into a demented Mrs Hyde. 

That’s me then.  An all-rounder, proud Brit Writers' Awards Publishing Programme participant, currently—calmly—awaiting her edits. J

Whilst waiting, I thought I’d bring you news re one or two other people involved with the Brit Writers’ Awards.

CLAIRE KINTONBritwriters’ Awards Publishing Programme Participant

In Claire’s own words:  “I will be signing copies of DEAD GAME at WH SMITHS in Lincoln on 16th April 2011 - 12 noon until 3pm. SSAFA Forces Help will be there with me. If you are free please do come & support us & buy a signed copy of DEAD GAME. Please spread the word. With all my best wishes Claire”.

CATHERINE COOPER Winner of the Brit Writers’ Awards in July 2010. 


Infinite Ideas, publisher of The Golden Acorn, Catherine Cooper’s prize-winning novel for 8 to 12 year olds, has optioned motion picture rights to Los Angeles based Delve Films Inc.



  1. What a selection of USPs you have, Leanne. You sound like a very special person to me. I seem to be searching in the dark for mine! Good luck with your edits and do let us all know how it goes.

  2. Thank you, Paddy! That's the point though. We are all so busy measuring ourselves against other people we forget just how much we do achieve. We tend to almost apologise for being “just a mum” for instance. Excuse me, JUST a mum?? Caring, nurturing, life coaching… Huge skills, requiring us to be experts in many fields. :) If we look back over the things we’ve done, it’s likely we might say, “actually, yes, I did do that. It wasn’t easy—and I’m quite proud of that achievement”. Life skills are important. Share them. How much better would we have done in life had we the experience we now have at, say, twenty? It’s a thought.

  3. Well said, and being a mum isn't taken seriously enough, it is a huge commitment in itself, and it would be wonderful to have all the later wisdom we acquire at the start.

  4. Wouldn’t it just? The benefit of hindsight, hey? I know there are quite a few dads who do the multi-tasking struggle, too (a male family friend for example, who is a lone parent to an autistic son), but I really wish women—more often in the prime parenting role—would pat themselves on the back and realise what a sterling job they do.

    Thanks for your comment, Sakthi :)