Saturday, 23 May 2015


It's been a long time since I've written anything here about my children. They were my bread and butter material until they got old enough to recognise themselves in my musings. Then, when their friends starting to spot them too I knew it was time to change direction.

But once in a while it's nice to bring the old format of Imogen Clark at Home out for an airing. After all, they are still my children and I am still at home.

Yesterday my eldest left school - a momentous day in anyone's book. She took a break from her revision to parade around town with all her peers (and a few who had returned just for the occasion) - in a St. Trinianesque version of what had been her school uniform. They even had a route, beautifully downloaded from Google maps with all 14 of the intended watering holes marked on in case anyone became separated from the pack. It was a logistical triumph, I have to say.

Great fun seems to have been had by all and each time I ran into them on my many passes through town they were high-spirited (or weepy) but not annoying.

My day took a slightly different course. At various points I caught myself flicking through old photo albums, standing and staring into the middle distance and even with tears brimming over and gently trickling down my cheeks.

My beautiful, inquisitive, determined little girl is all grown up. She is almost ready to swim beyond the weir and out into the choppy, unknown waters. She is on the cusp of her big adventure.

It's really difficult to explain how this makes me feel. I am so proud of her that it makes me cry just to  type that sentence and I want her to go out and learn to deal with the world, warts and all, in her own way without my way looming over her like a shadow.

But also it's a bit like grieving. I grieve for the little girl who put her hand up for me to take it as we crossed the road, who shot a glance in my direction whenever anyone praised her...or told her off, who would play for hours on a trampoline. I will never again be able to scoop her in my arms and shield her little head from harm.

Yet she is so excited about what is to come, as indeed I was at her age. Her excitement is infectious and there is no time to feel sad when she is around. I get swept up in her plans like a stick in a whirlpool, sucked down into all the froth and bubbles.

Your child growing and leaving is the most natural thing in the world. The fact that she is ready to do so shows me that I have done my job properly. Between now and then I'm sure I'll get through plenty of tissues but in the meantime I'm going to try and savour every glowing minute that she is with me....although maybe I'll wait until her hangover has worn off before I start.


Friday, 1 May 2015


You may or may not know that I have spent any spare time that I've had over the last five years or so writing novels.

Writing novels is a bit like being a murderer. You fantasise about it. You visualise yourself doing it. But you can't quite believe that you could.

Then one day, something takes hold of you. You don't know what it is but you can't stop it. You just have to keep going, focussing entirely on the task in hand until eventually the deed is done. And now that you've done it once, it doesn't seem so daunting or scary. Now you've got the taste for it.

And so you do it again. And again.

But soon, that isn't enough. The buzz is fading. You need something else, some other rush to take you up to that high that you got the very first time.....

OK. I'll stop with the murder metaphor now (although I was quite enjoying myself!)

It's not as far-fetched as it might seem though.  It does get easier each time you write a story of 80,000 plus words and eventually you really are left craving something more. In my case, it's not more dead bodies but a chance at publication.

But, until now my murders... (Sorry. Indulge me! I can't resist) ... have been slightly haphazard. I've not done a clean job. I've left clues, a trail a mile wide. I have only got away with it by keeping my activity secret. (Ok. Here the metaphor and I have to part company.)

Anyway, my novels are OK. People like to read them and say kind things about them but they aren't quite right. There is something missing, something that separates them from the novels that I read. I have known this from the start but I couldn't seem to work out what it was.

So I asked someone who knows.

I sent my story to a Literary Agent and paid her to tell me where I was going wrong. And it turns out that this was one of my better decisions. The report is back and it's great. Eleven pages of detailed feedback on what is working, what isn't, what could be improved, what should be improved. It's like a little jewelled box filled with treasure, an alchemist's chemistry kit, pure gold.

So, now I'm off again. I can take my baby story and feed it until it grows. I suspect this is going to be quite a lot harder than writing the first draft but I'm happy to give it a go. And if you're really lucky, I'll tell you all about it!


PS. I'm not really a serial killer.