At a time when many people my age are beginning to anticipate the prospect of taking life a little easier, I came up with the bright idea of walking away from the last shred of security and income I had in order to try and ‘make it’ as some sort of a writer.
This master stroke – unsurprisingly – didn’t exactly go to plan, so to keep the wolf from the door I do ironing for people, and the rest of the time sit hunched over my Mac tapping away in the hope of one day being able to afford to put the central heating on!
After almost getting an Agent (oh, don’t even ask!) within weeks of writing it, my (now self-published) debut novel “Just Good Friends?” is for sale on Amazon/Kindle etc, but (after a few more of those dratted twists and kicks) the bulk of my time over the last three years ended up being spent writing my ‘Soapy Corner’ blogs, which took a humorous look at the best (and the worst!) of the week’s events in the wonderful world of Soaps.
By the end of 2012 I was at 36,500 unique page visits/884,000 hits per month, loving what I was doing and feeling/hoping that I was on the verge of securing some sort of full time position writing in/for the soap-writing world, but then my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so everything else had to come to a sudden stop.
He died last year, and now that the house has been sold and I’ve got all the loose ends tied up I find myself at a big crossroads in my life. I’d dearly love to restart my soap-writing but can sadly no longer justify the time without remuneration. Those bills won’t pay themselves, you know!
I was proud to have been nominated for – and actually come 3rd in – the Annual Daz ‘Soap Blogger of the Year’ Awards 2011 (as I’d only been Soap blogging for six months at that time), but they haven’t had one since – unfortunately! I’ve since attended a variety of Emmerdale and Coronation Street Press Events and interviewed many of the cast and production staff (a number of whom also follow me on Twitter).
I’ve most recently been writing a regular weekly post for YahooTVUK (which ended in July 2014 when the site restructured) and have also written for the official Coronation Street Blog team, Corrie Countdown and the prestigious Digital Journal news site, as well as various other bits and pieces along the way – including the Mumsnet bloggers panel.
They even let me loose on the radio, and ‘Jane’s Soapy Spot’ airs between 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 105.5 FM. I also did a live weekly internet Soap magazine show for @tellyspy (currently off-air), but you can listen to old episodes by downloading the PODCASTS app on iPhone, iPod or iPad and keying in ‘Telly Spy‘).
More on my riches to rags story:
The eldest child of two professional Jazz musicians; I lived most of my early life in a small town near Bath before our family moved to Swindon in 1971.
I’d won First Prize in a National Short Story competition when I was 13 – and my dream was to become a journalist, but my parents had other ideas so I went off to study music in Leeds instead, although I ended up spending quite a bit of time reviewing books and theatrical productions (with a ‘Press’ Badge and everything!) for local student magazines when I really should have been practising my flute!
After finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t really envisage my future as a musician, I embarked down a rather different career path: Retail Management, which took me all over the country and eventually led to a move into Training. This was work I really enjoyed, as developing/delivering training courses and producing training manuals encompassed both my love of public speaking, writing and comedy.
My other passion is food and wine. After spotting a big gap in the market my partner and I had sold our large detached house and were about to turn our backs on our secure, well-paid jobs in order to go into Catering when a sudden and unexpected change of circumstances unfortunately put paid to that. After a very difficult few years on my own, things were finally starting to pick up a bit when another unpleasant twist of fate once again stopped me in my tracks. (See what I mean about twists and kicks?!)
Life then took an unexpected turn when I was offered the opportunity to take on the role of Nanny/Housekeeper to a lovely couple and their gorgeous new baby (and his two adorable little brothers who were to come along later). Being part of a busy, growing family was extremely hectic, fun, and provided me with some much-needed stability and a long-forgotten feeling of relative financial security.
Writing had always been in the back of my mind though, and on the night of Friday 8th December 2006 I awoke with a start from a vivid dream which forced me up out of bed to grab a writing pad, and when I took a look at what I’d written the next morning I soon realised that the garbled lines I’d scribbled down while half-asleep were – in fact – the exciting climax to a book.
Over the next few weeks the desire to write finally overwhelmed me. It broke my heart to leave my ‘family’ after nine happy years, but four months later I took a leap of faith and moved back to Wiltshire where I quickly wrote my debut novel “Just Good Friends?”.
Since then, my life has – unsurprisingly – continued to not go to plan, but despite challenging circumstances I plough on doggedly with the dream/aim of being able to one day earn a proper living from my writing in some form or other. A radio play and several children’s stories are sat awaiting a final tweak (and my head simply buzzes with ideas), but the time I spend having to earn money just seems to keep on getting in the way!
If I’m not doing something writing-related I’ll usually be found either listening to Radio Comedy, watching TV Comedy, wandering round a Supermarket (my perfect way of relaxing!) or cooking something tasty to enjoy with a glass of good wine. Needless to say: I’m in the gym most days too!
* 3rd place in the Daz ‘Soap Blogger of the Year 2011’ Awards
* Writing for DigitalJournal.com for 12 months from March 2012
* ‘Jane’s Soapy Corner‘ 10.30-11.00 every Thursday morning on the Big Mid-Morning Show on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Co-presented the ‘TGIF’ show 4.00-5.00 every Friday on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Occasional guest on the Girls About Town show (since finished) on Swindon 105.5 FM
* Blogger on the ‘Corrie Countdown’ Website
* Other Radio appearances include Rosie Wilby’s ‘Out in South London’ show on Resonance FM, Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Wiltshire Sound.
* Click here to read my interview by fellow writer Morgen Bailey (3/3/12)
* Click here to purchase “Just Good Friends?”
* Click here to go to the Swindon 105.5 FM Website/listen live
If you would like to engage me for my writing or broadcasting services, do please email me in the first instance via my Contact Page.