"When I was working full-time, I started several novels, but never got beyond 20,000 words. However I used to write reports, training materials, articles and booklets about education. I sold a lot of copies to schools of my self printed, spiral-bound booklet entitled 'Making Judgements About Pupil Progress', and every time Ofsted changed the rules I would update it. The subject matter was very dry, but, looking back, I realise that trying to make such writing clear and interesting was a very good way of developing my craft as a writer. In early 2016 I finally managed to complete a 35,000 word autobiographical novella entitled 'South Something'. The book touched on my career as a teacher, Chris's Diabetes, and my previous marriage. However it mainly tells the story of how I met my husband Chris in Southwold when we were children, but only discovered this after we had (in our fifties) been married for two years. This book is currently unavailable as I am revising it. The writing isn't perfect, but it is an interesting story, and I learned a lot by doing it.
Encouraged by the feedback received about 'South Something', I joined in National Novel Writing Month in November 2016. It was a very different experience from creating poetry, because I had to keep writing at speed with no time for checking for errors. The result was 50,000 words of unedited text. The advantage was that by writing so much in so little time, I was able to achieve a consistency of style, which would, I think, be harder to maintain if writing over a longer period of time. I then added to it, edited it and reworked passages, until I finally had the courage to pass it on to two very literate (and honest) friends for proof-reading and comment. Much to my relief they liked it. So my debut full-length novel was finally published in October 2017. I would describe it as an easy read, but reasonably well written piece of women's romantic fiction. It is called 'Different Genes'.
In July 2019 I finally published my second novel, entitled 'My Daughter's Wedding'. I think it is far better written than the first one, and the reviews seem to agree. If you do get round to reading it, I would love to know what you think."
Claire Baldry September 2019