As author Sarah Clarke looks forward to the publication of her debut novel A Mother Never Lies, she reflects on the journey she took to get here, motherhood, and her impossible dreams.
As a child I always had my head in a book, but that sounds more wholesome than it was. Yes, I devoured the Famous Five and Malory Towers, but I also sneaked books off my parent’s bookshelves: Tom Clancy, Sidney Sheldon, Len Deighton, Robert Ludlum. And when I discovered Lynda Le Plante, I set my teenage heart on becoming an author of thrillers.
On Friday, my childhood dream will come true as my debut psychological thriller A Mother Never Lies will be published. But I’m 49 now. So why did it take me so long?
Well, of course there were financial reasons – I needed to work at something that paid me an actual wage. And FOMO issues – I travelled for most of my twenties and didn’t sit still for long enough to write ninety thousand words. But I was married with a mortgage before I was 30, so there must have been another reason…
Ah yes, motherhood.
Because chasing an impossible dream when you’re raising a family is hard. Partly because you simply don’t have the time. But more significantly than that, when your children crave your attention, it feels selfish to instead focus your energy on a project that one thousand voices inside your head tell you will never succeed.
Many of my friends work long hours, but their time away from their children is career-building, income-generating – important. And sitting in front of a laptop writing for months with only the most wafer-thin chance of publication felt like none of those things.
As a part-time working mother, I was constantly busy – the juggle that all mums are familiar with – and it was easy to let days slip into weeks, months and years when I only thought about what my children wanted. But as they got older and started developing their own dreams, I realised that resurrecting mine – with determination, hard work, courage and pragmatism – was important both for me, and as a way of setting an example for them.
There were moments when I wondered whether it was the right choice. The conversations I missed because I was distracted by my writing, or the tears I couldn’t hide when I received (another) rejection letter. But I never gave up. And eighteen months after finishing writing my debut novel (at least I thought I’d finished it at the time) I signed a 3-book deal with HQ Digital.
And that feels like a really good way to show my children how to approach their dreams.
A Mother Never Lies is out this Friday in eBook!