GUEST POST for Wrong Side of Forty Books


I’d like to welcome Siobhan to my blog today, she has a great guest post…


"Writing can be bad for my health… thank God for dogs."

I adore writing books, but it can be a lonely old business.

To get into the ‘zone’ I have to shut myself away and cut off from the world. It can take days of living a mushroom-like existence to get everyday chitter-chatter out of my head, empty my thoughts and create space for the spaghetti-esque storylines I’m trying to keep one step ahead of.

My books tend to have complex characters with three or four subplots, which is a lot for this dumb old blonde to control without losing the reader or the natural flow of the story. It can be hair-pullingly frustrating, so I’m afraid I do tend to swear a lot. Thankfully only the dogs at my feet can hear me.

When writing is in full swing I no longer care about my health or appearance. Diets go out the window and I don’t bother washing or cooking. My job is to entertain, so my characters, their scheming and the hectic worlds they live in come first.

I can go for days, weeks, without speaking to anyone except cashiers in my local shops. They’ve gotten to know when I’m in the middle of a tricky scenario, one look at my basket and the game is up.

If I get to a slump and need a sugar hit, I grab my purse, pull on a pair of old trainers and rush out to the village. Where I stock up on all things that are a) easy to eat at a computer, b) give an instant glucose high and c) are bad for me.

My favourite guilty pleasures are soft sweets, biscuits, ice cream, cashew nuts, crisps, chocolate bars and profiteroles. And on some occasions when things are extra tough, easy peel clementine’s and anchovies… go figure! (the local fish monger says fish is brain food).

One very sweet store cashier in particular takes a quick look at my basket, unwashed hair and dishevelled appearance, and knows immediately what’s up.

“Writing again?” she asks with a sympathetic tilt of her head.

“Yep,” I nod through a shrug of shame.

She quickly gathers up my items and throws them into a bag, hiding the evidence from the tut-tutting queue forming behind me. With a head down illicit-drug-deal feel, I hurriedly pay her, sneak out of the shop and scurry back to my computer clutching the guilty stash. I love that woman, she doesn’t judge.

I have tried eating healthy at my desk… honestly. But those pesky carrot sticks are way too noisy, all that crunchy chewy teeth-action disrupts my flow.

The only healthy thing about my writers life is having dogs. When the going gets tough, they sense my stress levels are going through the roof and know it’s time to get me away from the computer.

They go in for a two pronged attack. One sits at my feet and gives me the psychological silent glare that makes me feel I’m being watched and forces me to look down at him. The other jumps up and bashes his paw at my mouse-holding arm. It works. Time for walkies.

And they’re right. The enforced exercise twice a day is probably the only thing that keeps me alive.

As much as I moan about it, the minute I’m out the door walking in the fresh air, ideas start to fall into place.

Dogs are wonderful co-writers. They’re another heart beat in the room, so that you never feel alone. They know their job is to keep me sane and I know my job is to give them cuddles and dog biscuits. We make a great team.

THANK GOD FOR DOGS….. (am shouting).


Check Out Amazon Author S C Cunningham