Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.
Fear not. I’m not here to make you look bad. I only managed four out of seven items on the above list. I wrote a novel, which HarperCollins have offered to publish in the new year. Dodged Amazon and Starbucks in a bid to support independent businesses. Communicated with my council about helping the homeless people in York. And I read a couple of books about Russia…
Although gutted I didn’t get around to writing to the Queen, you know, just to see how she’s getting on, there’s a lot I did achieve this year that wasn’t on my list. The most significant? That’ll be the massive leap of faith I took when I gave up my full-time job as a teacher to focus on my writing. My husband and I were relocating to York anyway. A land where rent is a lot more reasonable than in London. So I thought, besides the nigh-on crippling fear of failure and destitution, why not? I’ll try and do writing full-time.
‘So, what are you going to do now?’ Many a family member and friend asked as I stood on the cusp of receiving my last paycheck. ‘Write stories. Think. Dream. Travel.’ I’d respond. ‘No, no no, what are you going to do to make money?’ came the invariable response.
‘Oh…’ was all I could ever find to say back to them.
How did I make ends meet? Through a lot of compromise. I saved every penny I could while I still had a job. At my age that money should’ve been saved for a house deposit but I chose, wisely or otherwise, to invest in something other than bricks and a white picket fence. I chose to invest in myself. When we shifted up to Yorkshire I did the odd day of supply teaching and a couple of private tuition sessions to pay the bills but I’ll admit, not knowing where my next tenner was coming from was a bit scary at times.
For the six months it took to edit my novel I didn’t get a hair-cut. Couldn’t afford one. Didn’t buy any new clothes. Not even from Primark. Checked out library books instead of tripping down to Waterstones. Library books smell better anyway. Got to know the cashiers at Heron by first name. They’re very sweet round our way.
My only non-essential purchase was the odd, new notebook and blue mascara. I’m willing to get by without most things but I draw the line there… and a Netflix subscription counts as an essential purchase… right? Right?!
Whilst I’d been a flush, full-time teacher I’d booked a trip to America to research the place my novel was set and some of the cities the characters hailed from. It was all pre-paid except my spending money. Once in New York, I lived on pizza slices (except the night @klff_’s Dad bought me a cheese burger near Times Square, for which I am eternally grateful!) and rode the Greyhound to get around. I came back broke and still without an offer of publication but a little, nagging voice told me not to give up.
About two weeks later, HarperCollins emailed to say they wanted to publish my book. And so another unexpected journey begins. Regardless of what 2016 brings, what I’ll take away from 2015 is that even though I was caught in a terrifying free-fall for around five months, life did eventually permit me to land on my feet. I understand this can’t happen every time. And, let’s be honest I’m not in a position to retire or anything. But after months of uncertainty, I’m so very grateful for the glorious opportunity I’ve been given.
You see, I’ve always been pretty good at advising other people to follow their heart. My faith and belief in them is unending. But when it came to believing in myself I was a bit slower on the uptake. Quite a lot at risk you know. And why should anything good happen to little old me anyway?
Until this year I’d never before taken such a huge gamble. But I’m glad I did. Not just because it worked out, though that part is just awesome, of course. But because it was a long five months and I had to delve deep for more courage, strength and tenacity than I ever knew I had. Should things head steadily downhill again, it’s a comfort to know those resources are there.