Natalie Trice, author of Just Because I Love, had always wanted to write a book since early childhood but it wasn’t until her son suffered Dysplasia of the hip did she actually start writing. With a recent book deal under her belt she shares her journey so far with BritMums.
They say we all have a book inside us, and this has always been the case for me. As a child I penned stories, wrote diaries as a teenager and in more recent years started several novels.
However, it took my son spending the first three years of his life in and out of hospital to give me the kick I needed to get my work out there.
Lucas was diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) at four months. In a nutshell, DDH is where the hip joint isn’t correctly formed and the ball and socket don’t fit snuggly together. From harnesses to surgery and body casts, the treatment differs from child to child and no two cases are the same.
Whilst there are 101 books on many childhood issues and illnesses, I couldn’t find anything about DDH so hit I Google and found horror stories and images that made me feel even more alone.
Luckily I found STEPS, an amazing charity supporting people with lower limb conditions and their families. They offered information and resources and understood that whilst my son didn’t have a terminal illness (a comment made by one friend), this was serious and upsetting and of course I still had an older son to care for and love.
We worked together with fantastic support from family, friends and our medical team. I also took solace in writing about our DDH journey on my blog, Just Because I Love. As well as being hugely cathartic, it was also the start of a change in career as I left behind the world of PR and put my energy into writing.
As time passed that nagging feeling that there needed to be a book for parents dealing with a DDH diagnosis remained and last year I signed up for a non-fiction writing course. Glynis Kozma and Liat Hughes Joshi, published authors and journalists, put me through my paces for two months and I had to dig deep to find the words I needed to make our story a book, using posts from my blog to remind me of what we had been through. By April with their guidance I’d written a full proposal, several chapters and had the confidence to start approaching agents and publishers.
One by one they came back saying great idea but not for us. Each time I felt a pang of rejection but didn’t give up. A spark of interest was shown by a small publishing house in September, then all went quiet. Life went on and the book was on the back burner until one Monday afternoon in November. We were sitting making loom band creations in the kitchen and I got that one precious email offering me a book deal!
I am still in shock but with a deadline looming my head is out of the clouds and my feet are firmly on the ground under my desk.
I like to think this book would have been written whatever, but deep down I know that had I not signed up to that course I may not have landed that elusive deal.
Today Lucas is a happy, healthy five year-old with the spirit of a warrior and a love of rugby, eek! His mummy can’t wait to see her book about his strength on the shelves and just hopes it will help those facing their DDH adventure.
The next ‘Pitch to Publication’ course starts at the end of January and Glynis and Liat are offering Britmums members a discounted rate of £250 instead of the usual £275. If you have a book inside you get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org it might just change your life.
Natalie is a freelance journalist and blogger who knows a thing or two about PR and social media too. Based in Buckinghamshire she is mummy to two fabulous little boys, wife to one husband and keeper of a cat and dog, all of whom who keep her busy and on her toes. As a cyclist, Natalie loves nothing more than being out on the open road clocking up the miles on Strava in the latest gear with friends. Natalie’s first book will be out in autumn 2015 and to keep up with her progress at a look at her blog too.