Gill BuchananIn 2002 I had had the ‘flu (yes, proper ‘flu) for a couple of weeks and my neighbour at the time told me about an old remedy that was sure to cure me.  It was something to do with putting a raw onion in some vinegar in a dish overnight and drinking the liquid the next morning. I didn’t try it, but the incident amused me greatly and spurred me to write the anecdote down.

I soon decided I enjoyed writing, but was finding it rather a lonely occupation as I lived on my own at the time.  I had tried one of these correspondence courses but that didn’t work for me.  I think it was because they were telling me what to write about which stifled my creativity!

I looked on the internet for a local writers group, and came across a wonderful eccentric woman called Camilla, who ran a group in Sevenoaks (Kent).  She encouraged me to go along, assuring me that I could try out one session before deciding if I wanted to join.

They were a wonderful eclectic mix of people, the average age being quite high due to the retired members and the two archetypal little old ladies who must have been around 92. They were writing their memoirs, and only ventured out when the weather was fine. (One of them started coughing one evening, left the room and didn’t return. I was relieved to see her out in the corridor as we left.)

At the end of a delightful term, in which my highlight was delivering an amusing monologue to the group and getting a laugh, Camilla made an announcement. She was no longer able to continue the group due to her turning a certain age (unspoken but it was 70 – in adult education there is some silly rule about  this). We finished in a flurry of an end of term party with drinks and food and Camilla playing the piano whilst those brave enough (and old enough to know the words) sang along to her old time music from the era when ‘gay’ meant ‘happy’ and everything was very jolly.

As luck would have it I was invited to join an offshoot comprising some of the younger members who continued to meet weekly. Phew. My writing career was born.

I am now writing my fourth novel and really loving it. People ask me about what disciplines I adopt to be able to write but for me it is more about having the luxury of the time to be able to create a new wonderful lovable character and decide on their fate, chapter by chapter. Delicious!

Gill Buchanan


Literally for Women