Aimee Horton

#WriteThinking – Christie Barlow.

Apr
18

christieWhen I met Christie in January I was a little bit starstruck. Not only is she lovely in real life, but her books are hilarious, heartwarming, and just… well… fab. So when she agreed to write a post for #WriteThinking I was thrilled, then when I read the post, I was even more thrilled. It’s heart warming and motivating, just like her. So without further ado…


 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning, open my eyes and think, ‘Is this real?’

But then I hear one of the kids shout, ‘Where’s my uniform, mum? Mum, can you check my spellings? Has someone let the dog out?’

Okay, my four kids, my mad cocker-spaniel Woody, the chickens, the horses and even my husband can jolt me back to reality pretty quickly but at the end of the day, it’s these characters in my real-life that got me writing in the first place.

One day, after I’d turned 40, my children were asking me what did I want to do? I found myself answering, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book.’ I had spent years dedicating my life to being a full-time mum, and piano teacher, but now the kids were getting older, there perhaps was something more I could do for me. After making this bold statement, I thought I better try and see it through – and show my kids that you CAN achieve anything you set your mind to.

What to write about came to me pretty easily, as I was always fascinated with the dynamics around the primary school gates with mothers and playground politics. Of course all my writing was fiction with a huge heaping of one-liners. After self-publishing A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, I was amazed to see it rocketing up the Amazon charts reaching no 1 in its category and no 11 for Kindle downloads. The reviews were amazing, calling it ‘witty’ and ‘laugh-out-loud funny’. Before I knew it, my wacky village characters were appearing on the page in a sequel, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother.

This is when my life really took a parallel course with reality. One morning after the school run, I came home to find an email from literary agent Madeleine Milburn – I had just finished writing Misadventures, intending to self-publish again, when Ping! I not only had an agent but within a few weeks, I had a publishing deal with the fabulous Bookouture.

My third novel, Kitty’s Countryside Dream has just been released. It introduces a new set of characters centred around love and genuine friendship, with a few chickens added in to the mix. And, I’m working on a completely different novel that’s due to come out in September.

It’s been an amazing experience – especially since signing with my agent and Bookouture. I’m attending events and meeting many authors whom I’ve admired for years. Through my social media presence I was approached by the Zuri Project, a charity that supports development and community well-being in Uganda, working with UK celebrities to make a difference.

But, I have to say, my kids keep me grounded! I had an opportunity to take my two youngest to meet David Walliams at a book signing in Birmingham recently. I joked to them that I might tell David I kept him off the top spot for a few days. Their reply, ‘Mum, you can’t steal his thunder, this is his day, let him enjoy it!’ Okay kids, you’re right – but I still took the opportunity to take a photo of my book next to his in a Waterstones’ bookshop!

Now I’m about to pop my head on the pillow after a crazy day of writing and responding to reviews on Kitty and I think to myself, ‘Is this real?’

Luckily for me, the answer is yes.

Warm wishes,

Christie xx

You can buy Christie’s latest book Kitty’s Countryside Dream here and follow her on Twitter here and Facebook here.

 

#LittleLoves – A Few Nights Away.

Jun
19

It’s “that time of year” isn’t it? The time of year when the children are excited about the summer holidays, and all the stuff going on before. We have meetings about my baby starting school (MY BAYYBEEE), we have transition days where my eldest goes into Year 3 (juniors for CRYING OUT LOUD) and MY BAYBEEE spends the day in ‘retetion’ – I’m not correcting him. It’s the time of year for deadlines, LOTS OF DEADLINES.

But amidst all this, while the children aren’t sleeping or behaving like teenagers, and they’re eating me out of house and home, Mr. Aimee and I snuck some time away. Without the kids.

This is where you all close my blog down forever.

I don’t blame you, because you know what’s coming.

READ

I read a lot this holiday, it was so nice to read books without having to put them down every twenty-blooming-seconds. So nice in fact, I’ve made the decision, since I have no freelance contracts until the kids are back to school (but I still have 2 books to edit/write) , to set a bit of time aside a day just to read. I’m also totally following Mostly Yummy’s lead and I’m going to post what I read every month on my blog. YAY!

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So while in Malaga I read Colette Mcbeth, Lisa Jewell and David Mark. All three were amazing and I’ll tell you about them in a week’s time.

WATCHED

The world go by. Again, out and about with two small monkeys you can’t always find time to drink in your surroundings like you can when it’s just two of you. Whether it was sitting peacefully in a bar watching people go about their days, or whether it’s wandering around, it’s so nice to take things in. It was wonderful to get to know Malaga, it’s totally gone to the top of my favourite city list.

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WORE

SUMMER CLOTHES! After a week sitting wrapped in blankets at my computer, the sunshine was welcome. Plus, for the first time in a long time, I actually felt happy in my own skin. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED. I didn’t wear a bikini – I don’t any more, I just don’t like it. But I was thrilled that without the protection of my trust bowed mirror, I still felt happy. HURRAH!

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IMG_9255
IMG_9371HEARD

I have nothing to report here! I heard a lot of lovely Spanish which I’m desperate to learn so we can eventually seriously consider a move abroad, and the pool had tunes playing while we lazed, but nothing stood out.

MADE

NOTHING! I MADE NO FOOD FOR AN ENTIRE WEEKEND!!!!! So instead, look what other people made. #SorryNotSorry
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AND LASTLY…

I came home to an email which stuffed up a few things if I’m honest. Being a freelancer sucks at times, and for about three hours it undid all the relaxing that the break away did, but then I sat back and remembered a man I’d bumped into at the pool.

He was away with work, he’d extended his flights by a couple of days so he could have some time in the sun before heading back to the office. He hated his job, really hated it – even though I’m totally envious of him travelling for meetings in Malaga. And when he asked what I did, he reacted in a way only a stranger can react. He was totally impressed. He couldn’t believe I’d given up a career to follow my dream. Most days I can’t either.

He said “I hate my job, I have loads of money, but I hate it. I wash I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone to go for what I want.”

Comfort zones are really a bit of a nightmare aren’t they? I mean, they can totally hold you back from giving 100 per cent as to what you want, especially when the impact isn’t just on you but those around you. The thought of stepping out of it is blooming terrifying. But remembering our conversation, I felt lucky. Yeah, I might have to make a few adjustments, but it’s ok, because I will have more time to dedicate into making my books the best they can be, and the children to make sure they’re as happy as can be. Or at least, not as annoying.

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Joining in with #LittleLoves hosted by the totally amazing But Why Mummy Why?

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X Factor Dreams

Sep
11

When I was at secondary school my careers advisor squashed my dreams in one sentence.

“I don’t think that’s really a sensible choice, I suggest you study and work in childcare, that would be much more realistic.” (more…)