A Father’s Wisdom,


What I’ll be doing on Fathers’ Day this year

I’m afraid this blog will be a bit more personal than most. You have been warned! It’s Fathers’ Day in the UK on Sunday, and this, combined with the recent ‘D Day’ celebrations, has made me think a lot about my father, even though it’s nearly eighteen years since he passed away.

When I was 21 my father gave me a hardback copy of the ‘Writers and Artists Year Book.’ My mother was furious! It had cost £25 and she felt the money would have been much better put towards a nice necklace. Truth be told I would rather have had a nice necklace too. What was this book full of close-typed details about magazines and publishing houses? To my shame, I gave it a cursory glance and set it aside.

It’s only much later that I realised what my father was trying to say. He knew I loved writing and maybe had some talent; perhaps he was telling me he believed in me and wanted to encourage me. Years later, my son was to give me an updated copy of the same book, now in paperback, and at my request. Too late, I had understood the value of the advice contained in the pages, and having resumed my writing habits, actively sought to own this important reference source.

It was to take nearly forty years for me to get the publishing deal that I’d begun increasingly to yearn for and by then my father was long since gone. But I’d like to think somehow he knows about my achievement. In my debut novel, ‘The Oceans Between Us,’ I’ve named my central character Jack, after my father, and the book is dedicated to him.

My father was in the RAF during the war. He went across to France a few weeks after ‘D Day,’ arriving on Juno beach with the Canadians. I think that event sparked a love of all things North American and after the war he lived in Toronto for several years. A couple of weeks ago, I logged on to Amazon Ca to discover my novel was the number one best seller in the Canadian Historical Fiction Charts. How my father would have loved his daughter’s success in the country that was so dear to him.

I’ll be raising a glass to him on Fathers’ Day – and thanking him for having the prescience to give me The Writers and Artists Yearbook all those years ago. Without his early encouragement and belief I probably wouldn’t have kept on writing.