Lawyer turned writer is living the dream

Lucy Lawrie with her children Emily and Charlotte. Picture Ian Rutherford
Lucy Lawrie with her children Emily and Charlotte. Picture Ian Rutherford
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IT has been a long time in the making – and at times looked impossible.

But almost a decade after Lucy Lawrie stumbled across her primary two jotter which stated she wanted to become an author when she grew up, she has finally realised her six-year-old self’s dream.

Now 37 with two daughters – Emily, eight, and Charlotte, four – Lucy has just had her first novel, Tiny Acts of Love, published, and has completed the first draft of her second.

She has turned her back on a career as a lawyer to pursue her ambition to become an author – and is determined to succeed.

“I always had this dream of doing it and I did English at university before I went into law,” she says.

“When I was on maternity leave with Emily, I found this school notebook and it was a bit of a wake-up call.

“I thought, ‘oh my goodness, this is what I always wanted to do, why haven’t I tried to do it?’. It remains to be seen whether I can make money from it – it depends how the sales go.

“But I’m definitely going to give it the best shot I can. I feel that’s what I do now.” Lucy, who lives in Loanhead with her daughters and husband Colin, went back to work part-time as an employment and pensions lawyer after her first child, but decided to try to follow her dream of becoming an author after her second.

“I felt I was being pulled in two different directions,” she explains. “I wanted to spend that time with the children and it’s difficult to really immerse yourself in work so I decided to stop working and see what happened. I wanted to have a really good crack at writing and see if I could get a novel published.

“Motherhood was all quite a different world and I felt inspired and finally felt I had something to write about, which I hadn’t had before.

“I remember Colin was out one night, there was nothing on TV and I just thought I would get the laptop out and start writing. It was the first thing I’d written since I was 13.”

Although the main character in Lucy’s novel is also an employment lawyer and mother, Lucy is quick to point out the plot is purely fictional.

It sees the central character, Cassie, despairing with an unsympathetic husband at the same time as an old flame re-appears on the scene.

“I didn’t really know what the plot was going to be,” she says. “They say there are plotters and ‘pantsers’ – fly by the seat of your pants – in writing and I’m a pantser. I just wanted to see what happened.

“It grew into a story and the characters grew as I wrote and I got hooked on the whole thing.

“My husband is reading it at the moment. He didn’t read it as a draft – he always said he would read it when it was published.

“I did have to explain it’s not about us, it’s about imaginary characters, although there is a lot of me in Cassie.”

Although Lucy has been committed to her book ever since she started writing, it has been a long process to get it on the shelves. Being a stay-at-home mum with two children has limited her writing time, and the lack of experience has also hindered her.

“It took me about 15 months to write the first draft, then I gave up on it for a couple of years because I didn’t know what to do to get it up to the standard needed to get it published,” she says.

“I met someone at the book festival just after I finished it who was interested and asked to read it but then rejected it, so that set me back a bit.

“But then I joined an online writing group where you can get honest feedback from other writers and it helped to get me up to the standard needed. I hooked up with an agent who helped me get the deal.

“From finding the notebook to getting the book published has taken about eight-and-a-half years. There were lots of times I thought it wasn’t going to happen.

“Everyone says you never get your first novel published, you’ve got to write four or five first. I believed that, but at the same time I couldn’t give up on this book because it was so close to my heart. I just kept persevering with it and I’m so delighted to get to this stage. I hope it’s not going to take another nine years to get my next novel published.”

Tiny Acts of Love, published by Black & White Publishing, is available to buy now.