All writers have at least one special story that they feel compelled to write. Time Passages was mine. It is my debut novel.
The characters and plot of Time Passages developed over a long period of time - over several Christmases while sitting in a chilly Gloucester Cathedral each Christmas Eve with my family, which included my wonderful Mother-in-law, Pam.
When Pam died, she left each of her three daughters-in-law a personal sum of money, with which I bought my first laptop and started writing. Pam would have been so pleased and excited about this. Being a local lass, she'd already filled my imagination with endless tales of Gloucestershire and The Forest of Dean, and she adored Gloucester Cathedral.
It was like an annual pilgrimage each Christmas Eve - one of the rare occasions when I could switch off from the demands of having a young family and a pressurised job in health visiting, looking forward to a family Christmas full of fun and love.
As the beautiful sound of the unseen choir drifted over us, the lights would dim until only the candlelight flickered shadows across the high vaulted ceiling which towered above. Then I'd be gone, my imagination floating away into what if... My what if.... would fly off that awe-inspiring ceiling, bounce off the tomb inscriptions, chip a statue, a stone angel, an alabaster lion and skid tinkling across the stained-glass windows, pinging back to rummage inside my head.
The Cathedral tends to have that effect on people, on me... which is really quite something as I would describe myself as atheist, yet not nonspiritual. I'm a humanitarian, believing in the power of people co-operating together. Maybe that's just another type of Faith. Sorry, I'm floating off again.
The scientist in me (I have a BSc in Human Sciences), wanted Time Passages to be more a work of science-fiction, than of magic. But for many people, magic is just strange phenomena for which there is no scientific explanation... yet. This is when your imagination can go AWOL again.
The writer in me just wanted to write an adventurous, humorous, darned good yarn, that young teenagers would enjoy reading... and free their little grey cells for their own imaginings. Gloucester Cathedral is so steeped in colourful history, secrets and rumour, that It has been a lot of fun writing this book, weaving fact with fiction, making that what if... more and more plausible. The story can flow in so many different directions, generating so many new questions and scenarios, that there is too much to put into just one book. I am half way through writing a sequel and the plot ideas are still expanding. My challenge is to rein them in and tie them together.
The health visitor in me knows that if a child is disadvantaged in a way that prevents their imagination from running riot, they do not grow and reach their potential. They do not have the confidence, or the skills to look outside the box. This is why reading is so important, and why we should encourage creativity and self-expression in children. And why I wish to write for children and young people.