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Um... a long, long time ago. In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't write, or want to be a writer. I know, I know... everyone says that - I am a cliche monster!
But did it begin with my re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red, aged about 7? Or the way I interpretted a primary school project to mean 'write a fictional account of life as a Victorian scullery maid'.
Or with my first 'novel' about a girl who discovers that her cousin is the lead singer of a boy band, when I was about 14?
Or with the first cheque, for £10, that arrived in the post, along with the magazine my short story was published in? (I reproduced that story here, if you're interested.)
All I know for certain is, I couldn't not write. I remember spending quite a lot of my time lying on my bed and writing. In the days of the tape player, I had a copied tape with Guns n' Roses on one side and Poison on the other. When it finished, I'd just turn it over. For months, that's all I listened too. Then it changed to Meatloaf and Alice Cooper.
I wish I'd kept these early stories, but I went through periods - every year or so - of throwing them out. I wasn't embarrassed by writing, but I understood that it wasn't something any of my friends did... it wasn't cool.
When I was 14, having just finished the above mentioned boy band novel whose title I can't remember, I told my careers adviser I wanted to be a writer. She started talking about journalism, and when I said, "No, a fiction writer", she said that wasn't a proper job. Which, though she may deny it now, was something my mum said too.
I'm glad I didn't listen.