In (roughly) age order I've wanted to be...
A writer (because I wanted to be like Enid Blyton)
A ballet dancer
An Olympic gymnast
A writer (again, because I wanted to be like Judy Blume)
A Red Coat at Butlins
A nurse (again - I actually applied to do a nursing degree at this point)
Manager of a nursery
A librarian (again - and I did get a job promoting library services to under 5s)
A burlesque performer
A professional book reviewer
A writer (again, because I wanted to write a Christmas book)
My mum has never been the pushy type but she's always encouraged me to strive to reach my goals. Sure, being Kylie was never likely, but she still put up with me perfecting the dance moves to 'The Locomotion' and when I became obsessed with gymnastics during the Atlanta Olympics she took me along to a class at the local leisure centre even though my joints have always been weak (which put paid to the ballet ambitions too). With time those dreams fell by the way-side, but Mum's encouragement didn't. When I started submitting my writing to agents and publishers and my inbox seemed to be full of rejections, it was her telling me to keep going.
So keep going I did.
From the moment I decided to focus on novel-writing rather than short stories, I knew I wanted to write a Christmas novel. Inspired by the books of Miranda Dickinson, Scarlett Bailey, Amy Silver and Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees, I finally started writing Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown last November. Today I get to share it with the world, which I can't quite believe. When I first decided I wanted to be a published author it seemed just as unlikely as waking up as Kylie Minogue.
But I've done it.
I've bloody done it.
I'm lucky, I know that. In my day job I'm deputy manager of a lovely pre-school, working alongside a group of ladies I can call friends as well as colleagues, and the rest of the time I'm writing and dreaming and talking to other authors.
So if someone asked me today 'what do you want to do when you grow up?', what would I say?
Well, in the words of the fabulous Ms Minogue, 'I wouldn't change a thing'.
Joe and Clara's Christmas Countdown is out today, published by HarperImpulse. It's available from all good ebook stockists, with the paperback available from November 30th.
The title of this post comes from When I Grow Up from Matilda the Musical. You can watch a video of it here.