What inspired me to write the book Becoming Julie?
How, when and where?

Sunday 16th February 2014

The last decade has been pivotal for me. It was the culmination of my lifelong struggle to find my true female self. I’d for a while been thinking it might be an idea to just write about it, not in a book way, though. Then I had a few friends in for a wee drink one night and one of them said, out of the blue, "Why don’t you write a book Jules?". That really struck me, and the very next day I went to my computer and created a word document and saved it as: ‘My Book’.

Even at that stage I only intended it to be a kind of chronological account of my experience, as a transsexual. I wrote 2 pages on that first night, and thought, that looks pretty good, thinking that I could maybe get this thing to 20 pages all in, in a few days. After I got to my intended target of 20 pages, I stopped and left it for the night.

The next night I read the 20 pages right through, and thought, that is really quite good and realized; I’ve got so much more I want to say about this.

Not only that, I thought it was quite well written, and far from being a kind of chronological diary, it read like the start of a wee novel, to me at least, so I just kept going as everything came flooding back. Astonishingly though, I seemed to have discovered I had a writing style and an imaginative way of putting things over. Fifteen months later I had written a manuscript of around 78,000 words.

Most of my writing was done after 9 o’clock at night, although there were exceptions to that. All of my writing was done on my desktop computer, but I made many pages of hand written notes in a ledger before transferring script to the computer. I also carried a pocket note book everywhere, and made notes throughout the day as things came into my head, so it was very full on. I actually re-wrote and edited the book six times, before thinking about looking for a publisher

Finding a publisher was not straight forward or easy. All publishers and literary agent receive hundreds of submissions each month from 'would be authors' like me. In particular, debut authors will have to make dozens of submissions. I know some will make up to a hundred. However most will be rejected and never get published at all. In my case I made 17 submissions over 6 months and, only got 7 replies. Amazingly, though, out of that 7, I had two publishers offering to publish my book, and I am so grateful for that. I think that has to say something about strength and power of my book.

One question I keep getting asked is: Will you write another book? The answer is yes; I have two ideas and may well do them both. The first and most obvious is a sequel, where I would fill in the gaps in Becoming Julie the other would be a work of fiction, loosely based on my own life story.

In the next instalment I’ll tell you more about my life here on the Isle of Coll, and continue with my London experience.