Thursday, 8 June 2017

Guest Post - Tara's Chance by Tara Lyons - Chances Fortnight

I’m not adverse to change but, like most people, it’s not my most favourite thing either. Change brings with it a mixed back of emotions, from worry to excitement and nervousness to anticipation. But, what happens when you take a chance in life? When you invite the change to come? Well, it’s life, so naturally it can swing either way. But, I feel very lucky to say when I took a chance on myself, just before Christmas in 2013, it paid off.

I started working when I was 14. It was actually a friend’s idea, but we decided we wanted some extra money of our own. I went for a little interview at a local hairdressing salon and became their Saturday washer and tea/coffee maker (actually, I suddenly freaked out before the interview and thought they wouldn’t hire a 14-year-old, so I said I was 15; not much difference but it worked for me). My wages were £25 for the day, and then whatever tips I made on top of that. It was a magical feeling, well it’s a rite of passage, isn’t it? To taste that first drop of independence and have financial freedom.

I can’t remember how long I stayed at the hairdresser’s (definitely over a year as they all thought I turned sixteen while working there), but from there I went to working Saturdays and Sundays in a children’s play centre with another close friend of mine. As I grew older, I began socialising more and loved the security of my wages – I didn’t have to rely on anyone else if I wanted to go out, or buy myself a new outfit.

Needless to say, my work ethic grew and while studying my A Levels and university degree, I always had a part-time job: retail, bar work and I even worked in a bingo hall – serving the food, not calling the numbers. After graduating, I immediately secured a full-time job and stayed with that company for eight years, as the assistant and then assistant editor for their in-house magazine.

Early 2012, I found out I was pregnant. It had been unexpected, especially as I’d been told I’d have difficulty having children, if it was at all possible. Work wise, I wasn’t worried, I knew I’d return in some capacity after my son was born in the December of that same year. However, while I was on maternity, the company decided to make changes to the job roles and specifications and my role became redundant. I was, of course, offered to apply for the new role and return part-time hours, or I could accept voluntary redundancy.

Here is where my conundrum began: I had worked for fourteen years, and always happy doing so, but I now had a baby who relied on me for everything. Thinking it wouldn’t hurt to have a trial run of the new role in the new hours, I went for it. I think while being on my maternity leave, something changed inside of me. It wasn’t just about me anymore, or making money and doing a job I enjoyed. I also realised how expensive it can be to try and work part-time and pay for childcare.
I had a chance in front of me. If I accepted the voluntary redundancy, I could start a new life for me and my son – including moving out of my parent’s house and into a home of our own. I would also be there to raise my son every day. I think I surprised more than myself, but I took the chance and accepted the redundancy.

It’s funny how things work out – if they do in fact just “work out” or if we push things in certain directions. But, because at the end of 2013 I decided to become a full-time mum and give up work, it meant I was also at home for my grandad. In 2014, we found out he had cancer. As the only driver in the immediate family, who wasn’t at work during the week, it meant I could take him to his daily radiotherapy sessions. If any of you have read some of my interviews or guest posts over the last year or so, you’ll know he was a very important man in my life. Sadly, my grandad lost his battle in 2015, but I’m glad I was there to help him until the end.

That chance I took back in 2013, not only gave me the chance to be at home with my son and ease him into pre-school, or spend some extra special time with my grandad listening to stories about when he was young, it also gave me the chance to follow my lifelong dream – to write. The reason I had studied English Literature at university was for no other reason than because I loved to read and create my own stories. Despite already working for four years, when I turned 18 I had no idea what I wanted as a “proper job,” but I knew what I enjoyed, so I went for that. To me, writing a novel was always something I thought as an amazing achievement, but one that was certainly out of reach.

However, accepting the redundancy finally gave me the time I needed to make my dream a reality. It opened up so many doors for me that by March 2016, I had published my debut solo novel and published a novella with author M.A. Comley. And so much more has happened since then, like being signed to Bloodhound Books and publishing the second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home. Sometimes, it’s worth taking a chance on yourself.

Thank you so much Tara for this great post on taking a chance. I'm fairly sure all of your fans will be delighted that you took a chance accepting redundancy so that you could write. 

 About Tara Lyons

Tara Lyons is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara's debut solo novel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley.

In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home, was published in January 2017.
When she's not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son. 

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