The fondest and most precious memory I have as a child with my grandmother is when she used to sit me on her knee and sing the song, “She’s her Nana’s love. She’s her Nana’s honey. And right down in her back pocket, she keeps her Nana’s money.”

As I got older, and sitting on her knee became a health hazard, we bonded over a love of books.

My grandmother was an avid reader, and when she noticed I also had an interest, she encouraged it.

Our weekly conversations revolved around what book we were reading. Obviously careful not to give away spoilers because we swapped those books after we finished them.

The genre was mainly thriller/crime but on occasion, we swapped the sweet romance. After all, she was my grandmother, so they were very wholesome.

Even at seventeen (almost an adult), if even a kiss got a little too heated, she always asked my mother’s permission before giving me that book to read. I’d roll my eyes and she’d wink at me.

And then she gave me one book in particular – ‘Sing As They Go’ by Margaret Dickinson. That was the book that would start me on my writing journey. Although my stories are not similar, there was something about the style of writing that captivated me, and I knew I had to get my own words down on paper. I started and couldn’t stop. Words poured out of me and onto the page until they stacked up.

When I visited her one day, folder in hand, filled with A4 pages of a story I had written, she was so eager to read it.

And I can be truthful here and say that my grandmother was brutally honest. If she didn’t think my writing was good then she would have said it – for my own sake, of course. But she loved and encouraged it. Every week some new feedback or critique to work on. She was my biggest fan but knew what I needed to work on. And she was right – as she mostly always was.

When I started writing Watch Over My Life, she was the first to read it, and that, in itself, is why that book will always have my heart, because it had hers too.

She may not be with us any longer and she won’t get to see the publication of the book, but just knowing she got to read it will always be a great solace. And I’d like to think, wherever she may be now, that I’m still my nana’s love because she is most definitely mine.

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