Where to start, what to say? How much to exaggerate? No, no, it’s not a job application is it? I promise not to lie.

So here goes. I was born in 1968, in Maidenhead, Berkshire. My mum is a dress designer and a shining star, in my eyes. My dad was an accountant, but died when I was six. I have a wonderful, elder sister who is a graphic designer, and an equally wonderful brother who is a rat-race escapee, currently taking time out.

When I was thirteen, the family left Maidenhead and moved (up North) to Chesterfield, Derbyshire where my adolescent fury was fully unleashed. After my ‘A’ levels I got a college place and trundled further up North to sunny Bolton, where I surfaced from the booze, in 1989, with a Degree in Psychology and a bit of a hangover.

My sister and I graduated simultaneously, and decided to get a place together; but we couldn’t think where. The world was our oyster and we didn’t fancy fishing in Chesterfield. We simply yearned for a fresh, new town to paint red…

So. On a bizarre-yet-serious whim, we blindly stuck a pin into a map, entrusting fate with the decision. We had chosen a page from the East Midlands though, because despite being fearless graduates - brimming with bravado and attitude – the bravado was false and the attitude had ‘homely fledglings’ stamped right through it.

I’m sure my sister was principal pin-holder, and all the responsibility fell at her trembling feet. If we ended up living in the middle of the M1 she’d be severely thrashed.

But she thrust the pin straight into the heart of Nottingham. Without cheating.


And we didn’t fart about; we dropped the map and went…

I’m still in Nottingham now, although I did stray awhile – drifting through jobs, towns, pubs, courses, countries, relationships, residences – before eventually settling back here and buying a house. Nottingham is kind of magnetic that way. I now live with my boyfriend and four ducks. As you do.

As for all that writing shenanigans, I started when I was nine, when my mum tried to get my first book published. I’ve treasured those peculiarly gentle rejection letters, the likes of which - as a hardy adult – I will never see again, from publishers turning down ‘The Magic Christmas Mouse.’

My second attempt at a children’s book was at the age of fourteen. That one wasn’t too bad, but my own half-hearted attempts at placing it with a publisher spectacularly failed.

At this point I obviously hadn’t acquired the key attributes a successful writer clearly requires: Perseverance and drive bordering on mad, raving obsession, and the ability to build up hefty layers of skin as thick as tarmac.

These attributes take time to adhere.

When I’m writing, I swing wildly between bouts of heady euphoria and panic-stricken depression, like I’m aboard the rolling Titanic. Hence, my motto and my biggest and simplest message to all other aspiring writers would have to be: Cry like a baby, then bounce back.

Nowadays, my mornings are swallowed up by a mind-crushing clerical job that makes soil-sifting look exciting. It pays the bills though. Soil-sifting unfortunately doesn’t, otherwise I’d do it. I spend the rest of my time writing my second book – a literary work based on a true story. On top of this I’m also trying to get my first, contemporary novel published. And I sometimes think I’m creeping closer…

Well, that’s quite enough about me! Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you’ll stay and read a sample of my work, too. (And if you’re also an aspiring author, take heart, keep going, and I wish you loads and loads of luck…)

Best Wishes,

SJ x

Copyright © Sara Jane Potter 2002

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