Back in 2013, after I published my first book, if you asked me what I would be doing in 2019 I would have said something along the lines of, ‘hopefully writing and publishing my fifth or sixth book and spending my free time in a comfy leather chair in my multi-room library’. Flash forward and I’m still working on getting that library and though I’ve published four books I have to say that the last six years flew by faster than I could have imagined.
Good intentions aside, everyone knows that real life can be tough. I have never shared a great deal of my personal life through my website but I hope that by doing so I can provide you with a greater insight into my world and hopefully inspire others to share more of their own personal stories.
Shortly after publishing Dawn of the Valiant I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was a diagnosis that as you could imagine shocked me profoundly. Nothing can ever prepare you for something like that and it doesn’t matter how strong you are it takes a long time to come to terms with life changing news like this.
Thanks to the support of my amazing wife I was able to focus on the good parts of our life, of which I am eternally thankful there are many, and quickly decided that I wasn’t going to let this disease stop me from doing everything that I loved. I continued to write my books and finished publishing my trilogy in 2015. I kept my diagnosis quiet for over a year before sharing it publicly and, looking back I’m glad that I didn’t stay quiet about it for too long.
If I’ve learnt anything it’s that facing challenges is only made easier with the encouragement that you receive from friends and family. Being diagnosed with MS initially made me feel isolated and after sharing it with my friends I quickly learnt how much they are willing to support me and also how many other people go through similar experiences.
After finishing my trilogy, I had grand intentions to continue to write further books, but my career in finance became increasingly busy and my home life similarly so. I have started another book, but my usually strong discipline around locking myself away to write faded as other distractions rose.
A few years on, I was further diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and at that point I found myself surprised at how easily I took the news. I’m not sure if my initial MS diagnosis used up all of my ability to be shocked, but I recall literally shrugging when the doctor told me the news. My reaction was, ‘No worries. I’ll deal with this. Life goes on.’
Despite these life-altering events I consider myself to be extremely lucky. Earlier this year we welcomed our first child into the world. My son, Thorin, is everything we could have ever asked for and has once again changed my perspective on what is important in life. My diagnosis of MS seems like a distant memory now thanks to his cheeky smiles every morning.
I find that with being so busy with my work and home life I often forget that I was able to follow my passion and publish my books. I also regularly look back and think that I could have done better, or feel guilty that I haven’t posted to my website for a long time, or think that I really should have written another book by now. But time really does flash by and I have begun to tell myself that there is no guidebook to life. You do what you can when you can. You prioritise what is important to you and your family as it arises. The most demanding expectations are most often set by yourself, so don’t be too harsh a critic.
My passion for writing has never disappeared. But it has now been complimented by my passion for raising my son and being the best father and husband that I can. The last six years of my life taught me resilience and that sometimes life isn’t fair. But everyone has the power to focus on the positives and make the most out of what they have. Its not easy, but nobody ever said life was.
I will write another book. I will build that library. It may not be tomorrow, but it will happen. And as long as I keep believing that and roll with the punches I’ll be a happy man. I look back and see the people around the world who have read my novels and said kind words and remind myself that you need to sit back every once and a while and acknowledge and, most importantly, be proud of what you have managed to achieve.