2014. My second child was due.
I knew, from the first time round, there was to be lots of sitting about. Lots of sitting on the sofa, comforting the baby, holding your breath as one false move could set ‘it’ off.
I needed a hobby. Nothing too strenuous. Something I could do in front of the tele at night, the baby asleep in the Moses basket.
But what would I be good at?
Where did my skillset lie?
Where could I be of use? …
… Whittling, my mate suggested.
As if! As if I could be trusted with a knife!?
As our due date approached, my full-time job was consuming me. Our company was fully embracing the Digital age. I was constantly on the go helping to set it all up.
Deemed so important in fact, that it was suggested that perhaps I should have a laptop at home, you know, in case I got restless on Paternity Leave.
An IT person with a computer at home – it was very alien to me. I liked to keep work strictly work, not a pastime. I liked climbing and running and reading in my spare time, not code and microchips and processors.
OH! SHUT THE FRIDGE DOOR! Reading, did you say? Reading? You mean, reading somebody else’s imagination? Well, why don’t you … why don’t you … you know, have a crack at it yourself …
OK, so it wasn’t quite that lightbulb a moment.
To be honest, I don’t remember how it happened. I just played about with some ideas, wrote a few paragraphs, and enjoyed the fluid nature of writing. How the characters began to evolve themselves, how I could give them each a voice, how the imagery I’d always had could find a permanent home on a piece of paper (or a laptop screen).
8 months later, 2015, and I had a 70,000 word YA manuscript, along with an 8 month old baby who’d begun to crawl. Everywhere. Someone that needed my full attention in the evening hours. Someone that didn’t sleep.
And so I put the book to bed. “The Lot Of A Nobody”. Maybe you’ll read it someday. Maybe I’ll revisit it.
I needed a new plan.
A novel was too exhausting within my few precious hours. Too big. Too much.
I wanted something smaller.
I didn’t like the book world’s stance that X words is a YA story, X words is a SciFi novel. My mathematical brain wanted its’ own boundaries. Its’ own constraints. Something that worked for me.
And so, Sixty Minute Reads was born. Approximately 18,000 words. I could do that. That worked for me. Let’s do this …
… and oh yeah, by chance, it fits into the book world’s pigeon hole called a novella (depending on which Word Count you Google).
So I’m still allowed in, right?