A mum of two and an aspiring novelist, this month Catherine Miller is our #NextBigThing…
What are you up to at the moment?
Juggling being a mum to one-year-old twins whilst attempting to write novels. I’m currently working on a book called Baby Number Two. I started it before falling pregnant with twins, so the two are coincidental. Baby Number Two explores the problem of secondary infertility. It’s about Fliss’s desire for a second baby, and the realisation that even that won’t fix her marriage.
Where do your ideas come from?
All sorts of places. For this book it was a conversation and the idea came to life. Other times it came by filling in the blanks. I might see something interesting, but I don’t know what that person does, or who lived in that house, so my imagination goes into overdrive and soon enough it becomes an idea for a story.
Who’s your role model?
I’ve been very lucky and have been given lots of encouragement over the course of my writing efforts. In particular, Penny Legg, the founder of Southampton Writing Buddies. She encouraged me early on after all four of the pieces I entered into the Writing Buddies Anthology were selected as winners and later published. She suggested I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. Since being accepted, not only have I received great advice, I’ve also met lots of authors who are my role models. I’ve also made some great friends and we’ve set up a blog together, The Romaniacs . We were all on the New Writers’ Scheme together and three Romaniacs have graduated by going on to become published authors. They are excellent role models and I hope to follow in their footsteps, but having twins has slowed my progress slightly!
I was dyslexic when I was younger and had lessons to help me. Part of my homework was to read out loud, so every day, I would read to my mum. It fuelled a love of fiction and I was a book worm from an early age. The lessons worked because my reading age went from seven to 11. In those days I loved The Nancy Drew Mysteries.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
My motto is: Nothing is easy, Everything is possible. I wrote it up when I was doing my GCSEs and to this day I still think it is true. When I was discouraged about trying to get into University to study physiotherapy, I was determined to do it and went on to get a place and a 2:1. After a six-year career, I had to give it up due to ill health (an eye condition), and that was when I decided to pursue my writing. Once again, I’m finding persistence is key. You have to keep writing, no matter what.
These days I don’t get much time for relaxing. Two one-year-olds is a pretty full-time occupation and in the evenings, I try and get a little writing done. Watching my girls giggle is extremely good for the soul and a lovely soak in the bath is the best way to relax. I just have to wait for the twins’ bedtime these days.
Every Wednesday evening I go to my slimming group. I started going when the girls were six months old and it feels very much like ‘me’ time. It’s for my benefit and it gives me some guaranteed time to myself each week.
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