Two things happened many years ago, at the age of fifteen.
One, my English teacher told me I had the imagination to write and that one day she would walk into a book shop and see a book I had written on the shelf.
Two, shortly after this I woke from a vivid dream where I was left with the sure knowledge that I had just dreamt the plot for the book she prophesied would be on the shelves in a book shop!
In the dream, I had died and my funeral had taken place yet I could still see and hear my family and friends even though no one knew I was still with them. In a selfish yet desperate act, I somehow found a way to use my sister’s body in order to live my life through her. I was eventually rumbled however, when our father realised he could ‘see me’ below the surface of my sister’s eyes. Although both happy and sad at the same time, he told me what I already knew, that what I was doing was wrong and that my life was no longer mine to live. He also told me I had to find a way to say goodbye to everyone and let my sister live her life.
On waking, I was filled with real emotions – intense sadness, desperation to live, and the very real question over what I, and indeed anyone might do if they were given one more chance?
This book is really a study of ‘what ifs’ based largely on a mix my own life experiences, both dream and reality. It is a letter to my fifteen year old self, but also to my own daughter who was 15 when I finally bit the bullet and wrote it. It is also a letter to anyone out there whose ordinary lives are actually extraordinarily wonderful…too precious to miss. Hence the line ‘I wish I had the chance to die knowing I had really lived’. It is for this reason that I can’t stress enough how I believe that it is my character Lily’s ordinariness that makes her story stand out. She doesn’t have to be especially heroic or talented in order for her need to live to be any more special than it is for any one of us.