I never expected I would write a book about dying. I write romantic comedies for goodness sake! And I knew I couldn’t possibly write a book that didn’t have humour at the heart of it and where are the laughs in someone dying!!!? But then life happens. Shit happens in fact and I suddenly found myself writing this book. Not because I intended to get it published or even finish it. I started writing to mainly deal with the shit that was happening and then it took on a life of it’s own and here we are…a finished published book….how did that happen?
Well it’s all down to a very special person you see. A very close friend who I met in my twenties. We shared so many epic times and then the shit happened. She got cancer. And then she got the all clear. And then she got it again. And then she died. My friend was a success story up until then. She was smart and funny, held high office in her career and had a wonderful husband and son. And then she got ill and during that time we had a conversation that I found remarkable. She told me that despite knowing her days were numbered that she felt under pressure to live in a certain way. To have a bucket list or see the wonders of the world or even run a marathon and raise loads of money for charity to ensure she left some kind of ‘legacy’. I was shocked that someone in this position could feel under pressure to conform when surely it is the time when all rules should be kicked thoroughly up the backside.
And so the idea for THE LAST LAUGH emerged. The story of a woman who is running out of time and decides to spend the remainder of her life in her very own unique way by attempting to live how she did when she was happiest – in 1996!
It is of course no co-incidence that me and my friend had the time of our lives in the nineties and maybe sub-consciously, through writing this book, I have in some part managed to re-live those happy, happy times to try and dispel the sorrow that there will be no more to come.
I have not written my friends story. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do that. That is hers and not mine. Jenny in my novel is a completely different person with a very different journey. Through writing this book I have found the laughs that not only lift our lives but are essential in coping with the inevitable. Many reviewers have already said that it made them laugh and cry which is perfect. There were many tears of course with my friend but there was always much laughter too. And that is exactly how I wish to remember her. With the odd tear, but plenty of laughs.
THE LAST LAUGH is out now on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. A percentage of the profits are being donated to Sue Ryder who provide fantastic hospice and neurological care for people facing frightening, life-changing diagnosis.