Barefoot on Baker Street is launched on the 20th September and is the culmination of many years frantic writing. What a journey it has been – the novel has changed so much from what I initially set out to do and I have changed too, from a young, single, promotions girl living above a shop to a woman in her thirties with a husband, two step-sons, a barn conversion and a responsible job as a senior recruitment manager. And the fixed point in this changing age – well, Sherlock Holmes I suppose.
In the same way that I turned to Holmes to help me cope with the stress of doing my A levels, loosing myself in perfect escapism as I read through the original stories, so I turned to him again when I finally gave up my night job after nine years and didn’t know what to do with all my free evenings. Friends had long deserted me as there are only so many times you can turn down invites to go for drinks, parties etc before people just stop asking you. I still worked full time during the day but was now coming home to dinner alone in front of the telly and it had to stop. I decided to finally fulfil a burning ambition and begin to write a book. And naturally I took inspiration from a character which I had enjoyed reading since childhood.
I was so very naive when I started, convinced I was already a brilliant writer and would be able to finish the book easily in six months. Seven years later and I have learnt so much about myself and finally grown into the writer I always wanted to be. What started out as an all-action novel to re-invent Sherlock Holmes for a new generation turned into a deep, sensitive memoir of a brilliant young woman who rises from the workhouse to the heights of criminality and depths of emotional despair before eventually finding peace in the most unexpected of ways. It became her story, not Holmes, but through her words the reader comes to see Sherlock Holmes and his world in a new light, allowing me to fill in some of the blanks Conan Doyle left behind.
I’ve never worked so hard on anything before in my life, sitting there trying to write knowing that the ironing was piling up, my step-children needed me, my mom with dementia needed me, the soap-scum around the bath wasn’t going to clean itself and my husband deserved better than such a distracted mess of a wife. But I loved it, loved every minute of bringing my characters alive, getting inside the head of Sherlock Holmes. The excitement of being offered my first publishing contract by MX Publishing was indescribable. Way beyond anything my freelance journalistic work had made me feel.
So now all I need is for thousands of people to buy it and push me up the bestsellers list. I’m a no-one, a non-celebrity, an underdog but with more passion and drive than I know how to express. So let’s think big, why not? Life’s too short not to. So here’s to charging up the bestseller lists, ultimately turning my story into a film/drama and being able to pay someone else to scrub the bath.
Here are some of the ways you can order Barefoot on Baker Street.