Sunday, 10 March 2013

Why I wrote Birmingham Girls

Birmingham Girls

When I first sat down to write Birmingham Girls in the 1990s, my mom, was alive as was my sister Pauline, also my best friend in the whole world, Hazel Robinson. My mother and father-in-law were also still alive. They've all gone now, and life is truly different and difficult at times without them.
I must admit I did not put my heart and soul in to the early manuscript of Birmingham Girls; when I first started writing it, I would occasionally jot a few memories down here and there, then leave it for a few months. My sister Pauline, promised repeatedly to write her memories down, so I waited and waited. Unfortunately, she never got round to it, due to health problems, and she died suddenly from kidney failure, 31st December 1996.
Pauline had health troubles for many years, but I didn’t realise she was so seriously ill. I was devastated by her death and have never quite come to terms with it.
At first, I found myself waiting for her daily telephone call, or going to pick the phone up to call her. God, I miss the sound of her voice to this day, and my moms. It’s so difficult knowing that we will never hear or speak to our loved ones again.
Pauline would have adored mobile phones, she spent hours every day telephoning people. To think she could carry a phone with her, and speak on the go would have pleased her no end.
Eventually, I did settle down to begin writing Birmingham Girls, after all, by this time my cousins had sent me their research about our ancestors, all I had to do was add to it.
In between whiles, I had written and published my first collection of ghost stories, Mystical Staffordshire; to my delight it was extremely popular and sold out. I had also had articles published in leading magazines, so really, I had no excuse not to write Birmingham Girls, which at that time I called, Brummagem Girls.
Writing the book still took me quite a few years, I found it difficult to sift through my memories; I also always seemed to be busy, doing other things, such as researching my ghost stories. The book, Brummagem Girls, first went out in A4 format via Lulu in 2008. At that time, I didn’t know there was another format to publish it in. I had it proof read, but quickly realised it wasn’t how I wanted the book to be, so I removed it from sale, and rewrote it as a tribute to my Pauline, eventually I republished it with a new cover as Birmingham Girls in 2010.
Since 2010, I have rewritten much of the book, and added photographs as I’ve gone along. Publishing to Kindle makes this easy. I will be adding more photographs in the coming months, and possibly more memories.
The book has sold far and wide, and I have received emails from long lost relatives, and people who I  worked with over the years, thanking me for reminding them of times past.
My Mom died 3 years ago, Hazel, my best friend died in January 2012.
My mother-in-law died in September 2012. I have written a short tribute to her, in my book, Whatever Happened After Birmingham Girls? It includes photographs, and her letters, poems and articles. This came about as I happened to read an article she had written about her early life, I told her how interesting it was, and well worth publishing. She was so pleased when I said this that she gathered other work together and asked me to publish it. The book is mainly her work.
Since the deaths of my relatives, and best friend I have found it difficult, to say the least, to speak about them without feeling upset. It’s a normal reaction I know, and one everyone eventually has to learn to cope with. The passage of time does not make their loss any easier, I find writing about them does. I never want them to be forgotten, they were all special people who deserve their place in history.  I'm so pleased I eventually managed to write it all down.

My parents in law with my husband and late sister-in-law late 1940s

My late mother-in-law with her best friend

Birmingham Girls link

Memories Link

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