Well, I might still be writing to keep up with myself but quite a lot has changed in the past three years. Not to mention the name of this blog. Lisa Bodenham-Mason is no more. She has ceased to be. She’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is the ex-Lisa Bodenham-Mason.
So, may I introduce you to new and improved, Lisa Hill?
It’s been a long, roller-coaster of a journey and at one point I decided to delete my blog and eradicate it from history. Recently, however, my writing mojo has returned and with the support of some excellent writing friends I’ve got myself back on the right writing path.
There was a time when writing was my distraction from real life. An escape from mundanity and a foray into the little world I’d created. Full of drama, emotion and excitement. It was what led me to joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and my formed my determination to become a published author.
Until real life started distracting me from my writing. Not for the first time in my life I wished I could be the heroine in a novel and escape my own drama. Only real life isn’t like a novel. In a novel – or most romantic ones anyway – there is generally a beginning, a middle and an end. The heroine has a load of crap thrown at her which she has to deal with; this makes her stronger and eventually she fights back or overcomes her fears and in conclusion reaches her own happy ending. Whereas real life just keeps on going until you die. Which I’m not planning on doing anytime soon. It has its peaks, its troughs; quite often when we think life is getting back on track something else presents itself as an obstacle. Another hurdle to overcome. Which brings me back to the change of name…
In January 2012 I separated from the Father of my Children. In May 2013 we divorced. Without wanting to go into the ins-and-outs, it goes without saying that it was a difficult and unpleasant situation; something I never wish to experience again. Amongst many feelings it left me disbelieving in love or the sanctity of marriage. On more than one occasion I proclaimed, ‘I’m never getting married again!’ I was firmly sticking to my boxset of Sharpe DVDs and fictional heroes like Kate Johnson’s Harker because real, proper, decent, moral heroes only exist in the minds of authors and between the pages of fiction. Or so I thought.
By this time my writing had firmly gone out the window. My Saturday-Girl status, floating around carrying out viewings and attempting to be the Kirstie Allsopp of the Cotswolds at the estate agents had turned into a managing two hundred rented properties. Suddenly the heroine I’d been writing about became a reality. And if there is a spiritual author for us all, plotting our future as well as throwing all the crap at us then she was very kind because she brought my Hero to my door. In the form of a muscly electrician called Matt. Matt Hill 🙂 Yes, it was all the things you read between the pages of a novel; a hot, whirlwind romance and within eight months we were married. We’ve now been married seventeen months and my faith in love and marriage is fully restored.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; she couldn’t have been *that* disbelieving in love and marriage. Possibly not, but not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a single-man, with no children was going to rock-up in my life, want to marry me, not just because he loved me but because he wanted to prove his commitment to my Children too. In fact, I don’t think it would be very believable in a novel.
Nevertheless it happened and I couldn’t be happier. Now, back to that distraction I was talking about. Not long after meeting Matt I was taken to court by the children’s Father for residency. When Hamish was born in 2003 I gave up a prospering career in Human Resources to be a full-time Mum. My experience in property was crafted as a Saturday Girl in Estate Agents because I wasn’t prepared to leave my infants in childcare. You can imagine the stress caused by the threat of them being taken away from me after ten years and the notion of being relegated to ‘weekend Mum’.
That didn’t happen. I tried to be grown-up. We agreed to share the children with them spending more time with their Father and me squaring away the sorrow by convincing myself this was an opportunity for me to focus on my writing in child-free time.
It didn’t last.
After one child running away from the school playground and another being withheld from me, requiring police intervention, I went back to court. Like Bryan Mills in the Taken Trilogy (not assassination, I hasten to add), I have a very specialist set of skills. I put my writing to good use and represented myself, casting out the story so far to the Judge. Three court hearings later including solicitor threats, my child being referred to as a ‘different animal’ by said solicitor and being defamed (I hate that solicitor) on the day of the final hearing, I won. I have residency of my children now. On 28th August 2014 we were freed and almost a year later my children are thriving educationally and socially.
The first novel I ever wrote gained praise from the New Writers’ Scheme but when I attended Writing Women’s Commercial Fiction led by Julie Cohen, I realised why it didn’t work. I was too emotionally involved with the story. I had to take myself out of the story, out of the heroine’s journey. That was hard and the current novel I am working on flows so much more easily because I have no emotional attachment to the story.
For those reasons, I wasn’t going to tell anyone this story. Part of me is ashamed, another finds it too painful to revisit the memories. They are firmly in the shoe box of bad moments in life with the lid shut and fastened with an elastic band. So, here it comes, the proverbial ‘but’. I made a decision this year. I remembered how much I want to be a published author. I had come to the conclusion at the end of last year that I wasn’t going to renew my membership to the New Writers’ Scheme this year; it wasn’t fair on other writers, I only managed a partial manuscript last year. If you flip that around, what I found was that against all the odds, all the stress, I still found time to write SOMETHING.
On 31st December 2014, at the eleventh hour, off went my application and cheque, out came the partial manuscript, the character notes, the all-important post-its and on came the writing. As I type I am over fifty thousand words into my current wip, on track to finish by the end of June, edit and submit by the end of July.
There you go. There’s my journey to becoming Lisa Hill. The reason for dusting down this blog and getting it back-up and running? That lovely Alison May. Throughout she has been supportive (if sometimes nagging) and kept me focussed. She has got me involved with the Anti-Doubt Crows, a fab group of inspirational writers and authors and it was at a recent meeting that I finally said the words, ‘I couldn’t write properly last year; I was too stressed.’ Finally, I admitted it.
Back on track, focussed on my writing goals and determined to see those three little words, ‘by Lisa Hill’, on a front cover very soon.