Age just a number for Northern Ireland author who thought working life was over

Elaine Somers from Crawfordsburn has had her first book published in her seventiesElaine Somers from Crawfordsburn has had her first book published in her seventies
Elaine Somers from Crawfordsburn has had her first book published in her seventies
A Co Down mother-of-five has had her first book published in her seventies, inspired by her friend’s stories from during the war.

Elaine Somers, from Crawfordsburn said though she always loved writing she had believed her working life was over.

She said: “As a mum of five and the owner of a busy art gallery in Holywood, I was kept on my feet all throughout my life, I loved working and being such a big part of my kids lives, but it left me with little time for anything else.

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“Since my kids are now adults and I’m retired from the art world, I was settling nicely into retirement, enjoying a simple life at home and I was content.”

Early in the pandemic, Elaine was struck down with Covid and while she didn’t require hospitalisation she says the virus really knocked her for months on end.

Elaine commented: “I was exhausted and could do very little but sit and watch TV or read, physically I had no energy and I really missed my daily walks with the dogs but I just couldn’t do it. It was during my recovery that I started writing again.

“Writing was the only thing that got me through school, it was my escape, my safe place and the one thing that took all the stress out of my head. I wasn’t academic at all and actually struggled with everything else, I think if I were at school today I would likely be diagnosed with a form of ADHD. It’s taken me years to accept that I am different, my mind works differently to others, but now I’m OK with that -this is who I am – writing brings me the release and the sense of calm I so often need.

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“During the pandemic I had more time to follow my dreams and started writing more. I began writing about an old friend called Marjorie, Marjorie has long since passed but the stories she shared with me on the life she led inspired me to create a book based on her amazing life which starts during the war.

“The story of ‘Marjorie and Claudette’ is a fictional novel but based in real life characters, and real places. I hope if either Marjorie or Claudette were able to read my book that they would enjoy how their lives unfolded.”

She added: “Ultimately, writing was a form of therapy for me, I did it for me and no-one else. When I was encouraged to seek a publisher I was nervous and excited, now to see that book I have written on the shelves and hear the positive reviews, I am elated that I have achieved this amazing dream.

“I’m proud of myself and I feel brave for chasing it.”

• ‘Marjorie and Claudette’ is available on Amazon, at WH Smith, Stewart Millar, World of Books and Waterstones

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