I am one of the lucky ones. I had career I loved, working with amazing people in great organizations, doing roles I enjoyed. Then, early in 2021, largely as a result of the global pandemic, an opportunity arose to apply for voluntary redundancy. Now, those of you who have read my books will know that Merry’s adventures begin on a ‘time-out’ holiday, having taken a voluntary redundancy from a 15 year career in corporate communications (just because, really!). My career has been just a little over double that timespan. But I couldn’t help but want to follow in my central protagonist’s footsteps and see what might await me on the other side … if only I could be brave enough to take the leap…
Sadly, I doubt I will have adventures of the sort Merry finds herself wrapped up in ! But, inside my head, I might just be there at her side as she has them …
My dream has always been to have time to pursue writing as something more than a hobby. The first nine of my books charting Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt were all penned while I worked full time in demanding executive roles, in my case in Human Resources and Organisational Development. Writing the books was my way of switching off, of escaping to a different life. And of going to my favourite place on the planet – Egypt – in my imagination even when it was impossible to go there for real. My first book in the series, Carter’s Conundrums, was written in the spring of 2012. In some ways, it seems a long time ago, in others, just yesterday.
I remember how the first line came to me, sitting at traffic lights, having filled my car up with fuel after going see a movie – Sleeping Beauty – with Julia Roberts as the queen and Lily Collins as Snow White. I came home, fired up my laptop and wrote most of the first chapter of Carter’s Conundrums.
Now, nine years later, I’ve written ten books. And now, I need to learn how to get them in front of people.
I have just published book 10 in the series, Ramses’ Revenge. I started writing it in the first UK lockdown in spring 2020, but found it impossible to get a clear run at it, given the much more pressing needs of the day job. I think the idea was already starting to form that what I really wanted was to see if I could turn my writing into something more than a hobby.
Since leaving my last role at the end of March 2021, I have written solidly. And the result is the tenth book in my series, published last week.
I self-publish. As an executive with a demanding and rewarding day job, I always told myself my books were my hobby. Again, I was lucky: I had hobby that paid me ! Not very much, admittedly. But better than paying for a gym membership (I’m full of good intentions) or ski equipment, or whatever.
Now, I need to see if I can turn this passion into something that will actually pay the bills !! I find I need to learn an entirely different set of skills. It is not enough to write the books. I must market them too. I’m new to this. I’m English too, so I find it hard to ask for reviews (but if you should be so motivated, I’d be ever so grateful !)
So, the purpose of this post is twofold: First, I want to pay homage to an incredible career and to all the wonderful people who helped make it such a positive experience. Second, to ask for your support in making this transition. If you can like, or share, or, better yet, read my books and review them on Amazon and ideally recommend them to others, well, that would be amazing.
So, a shout out to some incredible people (you know who you are) Mary, Steve, Michael, Tracey, Tina, Rhona … you either showed me the way, or stood at my shoulder.
Together, we achieved a lot. 9th place in the Sunday Times Top 100 when I was Executive Director of Corporate Services AmicusHorizon. Plus 6 x HR Excellence Awards.
Then, at Network Homes, 5 x HR Excellence Awards, 39th place in the Sunday Times Top 100, and 2 x Personnel Today Awards. In 2019, I won HR Director of the Year in two separate award ceremonies. A legacy I’m proud of.
But now, I have given up the day job – must see if I can make the transition of turning a hobby into a new career. I can live on my redundancy money for so long, but then I will need to get another position. But I would love not to have to …
This is a peek behind the curtain into my life, who I am, who I have been. I don’t pretend, yet, to be any good at the promotional stuff – but I have to learn. Some people may love my audacity. Some will hate me for putting myself out there, asking for reviews or shares. Par for the course.
So, please wish me luck as I start on this new chapter of my own life. And, if you’re interested in seeing more about my own adventures in Egypt, please click here to see photos of me on my travels.
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.