Gillian, 42, is a former teacher who began her writing career in earnest in 2012 after the birth of her twin boys, Tim and Joe.  She regularly writes features and opinion pieces for national newspapers and magazines and is now a mother of 5. 

Her debut novel, Everything is Fine, is out on 28 May with Orion and is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook versions.

It’s wonderful to discover more about Gillian’s life.

Gillian Harvey

Describe a typical day for you?

My day often starts abruptly, with a kick in the back or a breathy whisper in my ear.  I have five children aged ten and under, so usually have at least one interloper in my bed by morning.

The next hour is usually a blur of preparing breakfast, nagging children to get dressed, checking schoolbags and cleaning teeth. After the school-run at 9, peace descends and I slip into my office to write.

At 4pm, it’s time to pick the little ones up. I always look forward to seeing them and hearing about their day, despite the inevitable arguments about who gets to sit in the front.

Evenings are spent reading stories, giving kisses and switching off lights, before settling down to a well-earned cuppa with my husband, Ray.

Since lockdown, our routine has been slightly different. We start the day later, and I spend most mornings helping the children with their schoolwork or chasing them in the garden.

 

What do you feel are your greatest achievements?

It’s a cliché, but my kids are by far and away my greatest achievements.  Back in 2009, I didn’t think I’d ever be a mum. But three IVFs and two surprises later, here I am.  I spent a lot of time feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, but a little smile, a tiny cuddle or hearing my children laughing together brings so much joy.

Aside from those beautiful humans, my upcoming novel ‘Everything is Fine’ is my greatest achievement. I’ve written a few books in the past but struggled to find an agent or a publisher. With this one, things have suddenly fallen into place – a lifelong dream has been achieved. I’m still waiting for my publisher to come to her senses and realise she’s made a giant mistake!

 

What’s in your handbag/ satchel?

I’m currently experimenting with going handbag-free. I’m not sure whether it’s going to last – I definitely need more pockets. But I was so fed up of carrying a giant handbag full of debris other people had chosen to stuff in it: my husband’s wallet; half-sucked lollies from the kids wrapped in sticky tissue.  Crumbs, receipts, a mangled hairbrush and if I was lucky, my purse lying at the bottom.

I also began to realise how much carrying a bag was actually getting in the way when I went out with the kids – where should I leave it at the playcentre? How am I going to carry a fussing four-year-old with a bag over my shoulder?  So I’m trying to stick to just carrying a purse and phone and putting them in my pockets. Let’s see if I can continue a bag-free life…

 

What are your ambitions in life?

Career-wise, it’s always the writing. I want to write unputdownable novels that people enjoy.  That said, whether or not my novels are successful, I know writing will always be part of my life – even if it’s just for me.

Career-aside, after going through several years of anxiety and depression, I’ve realised that the most important thing in life is being happy.  Another cliché! But it’s really true.  Feeling content and able to cope with what life might throw at you; feeling strong and able to face the world. Both of these things are invaluable. It took me forty years to fully realise that, and life is so much better for it.

 

What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?

In terms of my writing, I wish I’d thought a bit more about my audience when I first started writing novels 20 years ago! I wrote for the pleasure of it, but didn’t always keep my reader in mind as much as I should have.  Now I’ve learned to think more about how my work might come across, I’m not fussy about changing things around when it comes to editing. I suppose having confidence in my writing has helped this – I now understand that editorial comment and feedback is not criticism, but helps me to improve.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

That’s a scary thought!  My children will almost all be teenagers, so probably pulling my hair out or staying up late to wait for the older ones to come home.

Career-wise, I just hope that I’m still writing – that I have several novels out and that readers are enjoying my work.  

 

What advice would you give a budding novelist?

Don’t be too precious about your initial ideas. Take feedback on board. Sometimes when we have an idea, other people’s input can feel like criticism. But being prepared to listen to others can take a good idea and make it truly great.

I’d also say, if you feel you have something fabulous to share with the world – whether it’s a business idea, a product or something creative – never give up!

 

What advice would you give a first-time mother? 

Expect to be completely bowled over both by how wonderful it is and how difficult it can be. Don’t beat yourself up and try not to buy into the idea of ‘perfect.’  There are no perfect mums – most of us strive to be ‘good enough.’

 

Finally, happiness is…

A cup of tea, a good book and a warm cuddle.

Novel URL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Fine-Gillian-Harvey-ebook/dp/B07VND24RS/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=everything+is+fine&qid=1588768825&sr=8-2

Excitingly, I have 3 copies to give away below.

Ends July 4th 2020.

UK only.

No cash alternative.

If the winner does not respond within 7 days of the notification emails being sent, new winner/s will be randomly. selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gillian Harvey

Competition is promoted at Prize finderLoquaxSuper LuckyUK Wins and Competition Database.

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45 Responses

  1. holly harmsworth

    I would love to win because I love reading and this sounds like an interesting book

    Reply
  2. jo liddement

    I have been reading a lot more during lock down to de -stress myself and would love a new book to read.

    Reply
  3. Patricia Avery

    I’d love to win as I’m always looking to broaden the range of the books I read. Its good reading debut novels and then following an author as they progress with their books

    Reply
  4. Angela Kelly

    I’m always looking for something new to read and lockdown has really accelerated this process!

    Reply
  5. Isabell Whitenstall

    The book sounds good, I haven’t read it and I have plenty of time to sit back, chill out and read this book

    Reply
  6. Katrina Adams

    I’m always looking for new authors to try and genres that I wouldn’t normally read to broaden my taste! This would be fantastic to try.

    Reply
  7. Sharon Wilkes

    Sounds a great read for when I’m sunning myself in the garden or having a nice soak in the bath. 🤞🏼🍀🤞🏼

    Reply
  8. Tracy Gladman

    I love to read all types of books. I do most of my reading in the summer.

    Reply
  9. Caroline Hunter

    I’d love to win this book so I’ve got something interesting to read in the garden once the nice weather comes back 🙂

    Reply
  10. Ruth Harwood

    I love to read, and discovering new authors is always lovely xx

    Reply
  11. Maya Russell

    I need another book to read as I’m going out less and it sounds like a good read.

    Reply
  12. Corinne Peat

    I would love to win as I think I would identify with the book.

    Reply
  13. Karen Usher

    Would love to read the book. I think I say “everything is fine!” at least once a day!

    Reply
  14. Megan Kinsey

    This would be perfect lockdown reading and it sounds like I could really identify with Jessica.

    Reply
  15. Danielle Spencer

    I’d love to win as I’m trying to get into reading a bit more and this looks like a good read.

    Reply
  16. Ellie Spider

    I’d like to win as I need some new reading material 🙂

    Reply
  17. DENISE WILDEN

    I’d love to win because it looks an enjoyable read and I love having lots of books on my shelves

    Reply
  18. Barbara Rayner

    Never enjoyed reading more than at the present time. I have finished my huge pile of library books!

    Reply
    • Natalie Burgess

      I’d love to settle down with this and a glass of wine once the kids are in bed xx

      Reply
  19. Laura Pritchard

    I love discovering new authors, and this looks like the perfect Summer-feet-up-with-a-glass-of-wine-in-the-garden type of read!

    Reply
  20. Sophie Roberts

    I would love to win as the reviews sound funny and relatable and those are the kinds of books I enjoy the most!

    Reply
  21. Tina H

    I’d love to win because I’m tearing through books at the moment. I’m pregnant with my first and strongly suspect I won’t have much time for reading once the wee one arrives.

    Reply
  22. Jo m welsh

    I’m always open to reading new books and would love to read this .

    Reply
  23. Helen Arlow

    Sounds like a great read. I’ve been reading so much more than usual, whilst being on furlough x

    Reply
  24. Mel Pennie

    Have read the reviews and sounds like a very funny and entertaining read that I would enjoy!

    Reply
  25. Chris Andrews

    l love reading and during this epidemic my supply of books has seriously dwindled

    Reply
  26. fiona waterworth

    Its lovely to get a new book from a new author, its always fresh and exciting

    Reply
  27. Karen Richards

    Would love to win as I just love to read all types of books. From thriller to romance to biographies.

    Reply

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