Sharing her five photos with us today is Jessie Cahalin. Jessie is best known to many of us in the book world as the creator of the fabulous and quirky book blog, Books in my Handbag, which is well worth a visit! However, she’s also an author in her own right, having published her debut novel, You Can’t Go it Alone, last year. Here are Jessie’s photographs:
‘Every day’s a bonus. Promise me, you won’t do anything you don’t want to do,’ said my father, in the last weeks of his life. My father’s advice niggled me for a decade. Knee deep in action plans, I chose to leave the rat race. Briefcase abandoned in the garage, I had the freedom to write and appreciate the simple things in life.
In work, I was always running late like the White Rabbit, in Alice in Wonderland. Now, I acknowledge the start of the new day and eat breakfast, with my husband. It is a humble breakfast of tea and toast.
As I wrote this post, I gazed out of the window. The clear, blue sky and promise of spring jolted my senses and made me smile. I delight in garden waking from its slumber, rather than getting annoyed that weeding is another chore on my to do list.
The clear, blue sky and promise of spring has just jolted my senses.
Indulging in writing is wonderful, but I also appreciate time with my husband. Previously, we would grab a moment here and there. Often, I would arrive home very late, only to commence work again. We don’t have as much money, but it doesn’t matter. We do not eat out in fancy restaurants. Instead, we prepare simple sandwiches, walk along Penarth Pier and visit coffee shops. Perfect! During our last visit to Penarth, we sat on the bench and I grabbed my notebook to write about ‘the sun dissolving topaz crystals’. The photograph doesn’t capture the movement of the clouds gliding above the water.
Cutting the cloth according to funds does make me more creative. For instance, I can’t buy myself lots of handbags, so I swapped my stash with friends. The lilac bag, used for Books in my Handbag Blog, was my mother’s handbag. This is a photo of the first edition of my book, in the bag. I haven’t used the photograph, as I re-edited the book and designed another cover. This was the day I came up with the idea of authors placing their books in the Handbag Gallery. Tintern is one of the villages that inspired the setting of Delfryn, in my novel.
We no longer have expensive holidays and take time to enjoy the local sights, but this also means we don’t waste as much time in airports. Ogmore by Sea is one of our favourite destinations. Walks along the deserted beach, in springtime, rewarded us with some magical photographs. On viewing the photos, I decided that one of them would be perfect to signify the title of my novel ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’. Indeed, one of my characters says: ‘Stop thinking you’ve got to go it alone and hide your feelings…’ Ironically, I have found this applies to writing a book and have connected with generous, supportive authors. I am currently re-editing my novel ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’ based on the advice of some experienced writers. I will automatically send a revised version to anyone who has purchased the novel.
Presenting these photographs, I have reflected on my new approach to life. I have more time for the simple things in life but less money. However, I am much happier! Following my father’s advice that ‘every day’s a bonus’ has led me to some wonderful people online. Writing is solitary, and I do miss interactions with colleagues. Thankfully, social media and the blog has enabled me to connect with like-minded people. It is an honour to share my thoughts via wonderful platforms such as these. I had been going it alone with my dreams until now.
Thank you so much for sharing your photos and your story with us, Jessie.
Jessie is a bookish blogger, word warrior and intrepid virtual explorer. She loves to entertain with stories, and is never seen without: her camera, phone, notebook and handbag. Fellow authors have deemed her ‘creative and quirky’ and she wears these words like a blogging badge of honour.
Having overcome her fear of self-publishing, she is now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling her for decades. Her debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope. As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’
Connecting with authors via her Books in my Handbag Blog is a blast. She showcases authors’ books in the popular Handbag Gallery and has fun meeting authors in her virtual world. Communicating with her authors, still gives Jessie a creative buzz.
Jessie Cahalin hails from Yorkshire, but as a book blogger, she has realised that her country of origin is probably The World. She loves to travel the world and collects cultural gems like a magpie. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give her inspiration.
You Can’t Go It Alone
Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…
You can buy You Can’t Go it Alone here.