I’ve had a dream ever since I started writing seriously back in 2004 that one day I would see my words upon the silver screen. Before then, as a mum working full-time my writing had to be put on hold until my youngest child started senior school. However once enrolled, I was finally given that precious opportunity to pursue my true passion – writing.
Since then I have published three novels, Sinners, Betrayers and Defenders of Magic, had numerous articles printed in the newspaper, and just recently my short story, ‘The Witching Hour’ published in America. These were all wonderful moments in my life, however, I feel my greatest achievement to date is winning the ‘Write On’ competition and seeing one of my short stories actually turned into film, narrated by the wonderful actress, Julie Peasgood.
It all started when I entered the competition way back in February. I had seen the press release asking for short stories from local authors and I simply jumped at the chance. There would be five winners in all (one for every week day) and our stories would be filmed locally to help promote the area and show off the local talent.
Julie, the former Brookside actress said: “We wanted to pick stories that were varied and filming them was a great deal of fun. They were easy to read stories, the characters were so clear and we were blessed with the locations.”
I decided to write a story that was close to my heart. Being raised by my grandmother, in her latter years she suffered from mild dementia. Back then, dementia wasn’t recognised and therefore my dear grandmother never received any support. I was a young mother back then, living in Germany, and I didn’t understand what was happening to her.
Years after her death, I became a home carer and then moved onto our local hospital, helping to look after the elderly. I guess it was my way of giving something back to the generation which had shown me so much love, taught me how to show respect to my elders (something which I feel is at times lacking in today’s younger generation) and helped to shape me into the person I am today.
I wrote ‘The Generation Game’ because I wanted to show another side to how people try to live with memory loss. You see, dementia causes severe memory loss and sufferers can have difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Although Dementia can’t be stopped, we can slow the process down for a time by helping our elderly relatives to keep their brain active. Word searches, crosswords and even board games can help stimulate the brain and I decided to use this factor for the basis of my story.
The Generation Game is about a young woman’s struggle with her grandmother’s mild form of Dementia. The story has them meeting a male nurse who, after realising Flo suffers from this terrible disease, buys the board game, ‘The Generation Game’ (starring Bruce Forsyth) from the charity shop. The game was played a lot back in the 1970’s and he buys it to help grandma Flo with her memory loss. Flo is able to participate in the game (with lots of hints and extra time) and enjoys a night of socializing which she hasn’t been able to do for quite some time. It’s a feel good story which has an element of truth running through it. It is also a heart warming tale of family life.
The euphoria I felt the moment I received the ‘phone call from TV producer, Julia Thompson was truly overwhelming. I was in the hairdressers at the time. There I was with my foils in my hair, drinking coffee when the call came through. Within seconds I was moon walking across the floor much to the amusement of the other customers. The unexpected ‘phone call propelled me up into cloud nine and there was no way I was coming back to land until I was forced. After my ‘phone call from Julia, a meeting was set up for all five writers to meet with actress Julie Peasgood, who not only helped to choose the winners but who would also narrate the stories. I can’t deny this moment really was a dream come true. Knowing my story was good enough to be made into film made me finally believe in myself as a writer.
After the initial meeting in May, we were then told the next stage would be the premiere of our stories. On Monday 11th August I met with Julia and the other four lucky winners to see our stories come to life. We were invited to Abbey’s tearooms in Grimsby, where a private function room was prepared for a special screening of our films. I can’t deny it, I was very excited. To think my written words were about to come out of a very famous actress’s mouth! I sat there filled with anticipation unsure how the production team would be able to change words into film. The first thing that struck me as I watched the first story Seafront Amusements was the quality of the production.
Julia and Julie filming the story ‘Heads’ which is about “garden gnomes, hammers and mass murder.
You could see instantly how the film crew had put a lot of work into ensuring the background and props not only drew your eye but were appropriate for each of the sets. I was also blown away by Julie Peasgood’s ability to have you sitting on the edge of your seat and when ‘The Generation Game’ finally appeared; to be able to sit and watch Julie bring my story to life was probably the best moment in my writing career. Julie’s capability as an actress to show compassion, determination and joy as she narrated all the stories was a truly magical experience for us all.
Julia from East Coast Productions said: “It’s been a great opportunity for the writers to showcase their talent and their episodes will be shown online later in the year – we’re also talking to television channels.”
So, all I can do now is sit and wait for that special date when the stories finally hit the TV screen. I just know in my heart that you will really enjoy all the stories which are very diverse. However, whenever I think about my story being on TV my stomach does a triple somersault! It really does prove that you must just keep trying and to never give up. It’s that old fashioned saying finally coming true!
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!”