Today on my blog I’m very pleased to welcome the lovely Joy M. Lilley, author and former nurse.
Hi Joy, thanks for chatting with me today. Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? I understand you’re a retired nurse?
Hello Eva, yes, I worked in the NHS for a long time. My nursing years were wonderful. I enjoyed every minute. Caring for others gave me much satisfaction. And I made some wonderful life-long friends.
Taking on three stepchildren along with one son of my own when I married, while working to train as a registered nurse was hard work. At that time I already had seventeen years under my belt nursing as a State Enrolled nurse. That training no longer exists. Looking back I wonder how I did it.
My nursing skills were required at home too. My husband was diagnosed with critical coronary heart disease aged 45. It was in 2008 I retired, when he needed his third major heart operation. Thereafter, I was able to get on with a goal I’d dreamt of for years, namely to write and publish my first novel.
I am a Grandmother of 6 and a great grandmother (gosh).
As well as writing, I also work as a voice over recording artist. I work mainly for the U.S. market, some European and the U.K. I have a British, mature voice and can manage most British accents and some others.
How long have you been writing? Did you always want to be a writer?
Seriously since 2008.And yes, I always hoped I’d end up writing novels.
What is the most difficult/frustrating part of being a nurse and how does it compare to the most difficult/frustrating part of being a writer?
Interesting question. Nursing during the 60’s was hard slog compared with the modern era. Don’t get me wrong; nurses still have to work very hard, but there are a number of better systems in place now. We had to hand wash out the catheters of each prostatectomy every 30 minutes, with likely three patients having had the operation that day, along with 28 other patients to care for – it was exhausting. And wow betide any nurse who reneged on that duty as the patient could go into clot retention and need to return to theatre. There was only one trained nurse on night duty. Thankfully, that situation no longer exists as patients are now connected to a continuous infusion, releasing the nurses to cover all their other duties.
Perhaps not so much a comparison, but thinking through an appropriate, readable story to tell is frustrating to me, along with the discipline required to sit down and write.
And finally, what advice would you offer anyone thinking of becoming a nurse or a writer?
If you are thinking about becoming a nurse the most important skills you need are compassion, empathy and patience. Be prepared for much study and a whole lot of giving oneself to others. Five GCE’S are required before the colleges will accept a student. The rewards are immense and as a Registered General nurse you will need a degree under your belt.
As for becoming a writer, similarly you’ll need empathy with your characters. Much patience is required when the rewrites take over. As is the need to go over the script, time and time again. I would also say it’s imperative to get an editor. They are often able to see the ‘schoolboy howlers’ we don’t.
Thanks for chatting to me today, Joy.
If you want to know more about Joy’s books you can read about them here