My name is Louise Jensen and if you ask me to define myself I’d probably say mum, wife, daughter, sister, almost anything but an author, and I think that’s because I still feel a bit of a fraud.
I’ve dreamed of being a writer all my life, but for much of it that’s all it was, a pipe dream. A ‘I don’t have the time,’ a ‘one day I’ll write a novel’ but honestly the only thing that stopped me putting pen to paper was myself. The fear of failing. The overwhelming sensation that rose whenever I thought about writing 90k words.
In my 30’s I lost a huge chunk of my mobility overnight and as a result of my new enforced physical limitations and the chronic pain I found myself in I became depressed. Big black hole depressed and the future looked bleak. My confidence drained away and I rarely left the house and began having panic attacks whenever I tried.
Mindfulness was my saviour. Learning to be present, to be grateful, was the singularly most important thing I have ever learned. Little by little life got brighter and I trained as a Mindfulness coach and decided to write a book about my experience.
Wanting to explore self publishing I went along to a local writing group and they started the meeting with a hot pen exercise and I was given 3 words and 10 minutes to write something. That something turned out to be the opening of my debut novel, The Sister.
At home, I couldn’t stop thinking of Grace and Charlie and tentatively sat down to try and expand my 3 paragraphs into a short story, and the short story went on and on until it became a novel and 18 months later it was finished.
Last December I started submitting to agents and publishers and to my delight in January I was offered a 3 book deal and The Sister was released in July. I had no expectations but I hoped someone would read it. I never dreamed that it would hit No.1 in the UK and Canada and No.2 in the US and sell half a million copies in the first few weeks. Every time I think things can’t get any better something else happens, The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Award Best Debut of 2016, and was the sixth best selling book on Amazon last year.
It was nerve racking releasing my second novel, The Gift, in December and I was utterly overjoyed to achieve my second No.1.
My confidence is returning. In the last 12 months I’ve appeared on radio and tv but inside I still feel like an imposter. Like any minute now someone will point a finger at me and boom ‘stop pretending to be an author.’ So when someone asks what I do for a living, I mumble and stare at my shoes before swiftly changing the subject. Perhaps when I’ve written book three I’ll be able to look them in the eye and say ‘I write books’ because I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.