WEDNESDAY 28th MAY 2014
I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Tanya Bullock.
Jaya, 18, is growing up. To single mum Izzie’s alarm, all her learning-disabled daughter wants from life is to get married and have babies. Which creates a moral dilemma for Izzie. How she can continue to protect Jaya whilst at the same time letting her go?
Life as the single mum of a learning-disabled daughter in a small town in the West Midlands is tough. But the boundless love between Izzie and her beautiful, sparky daughter is reward enough in itself, fuelling the energy she pours into fighting her child’s corner who ‘isn’t disabled enough’ for much professional help beyond education in a college’s Special Educational Needs department.
With little prospect of meaningful employment or continuing education, Izzie wonders if perhaps finding Jaya a ‘suitable husband’ via an arranged marriage wouldn’t be so crazy. It’s the common tradition of Jaya’s unknown, Indian biological father, after all, and an Indian girl in her class is already betrothed. But Jaya believes her obsessive love for John, a naive young teaching assistant, is reciprocated and it’s only a matter of time before they will be married. A disastrous sequence of events unfold until Jaya’s teenage fixation on love and marriage turns things around in a way that nobody could have ever foreseen.
Let’s grab our cuppa’s as we settle down to find out a bit more about Tanya Bullock …
Hi Tanya and welcome!!
Where did the inspiration behind your story for ‘That Special Someone’ come from?
It’s a book I’ve wanted to write for a while. I’ve worked in education for over fifteen years and specialise in the field of Special Educational Needs. The young people I’ve worked with over the years have the same hopes and aspirations as everyone else, but often have less opportunity to fulfil their dreams. I didn’t want to make a strong political statement about this, but thought it was an important issue to address. Also, the notion that people with learning difficulties are somehow ‘childlike’ is a misconception that I was keen to tackle. I therefore set out to write what I hoped would be quite a gritty and realistic novel, from the perspective of a young woman with learning difficulties.
How would you compare writing this story with anything you’ve previously written?
I’ve never written a novel before, but writing is in my blood and I always keep a notebook and pen by my bedside! In my current job role, I write a lot of theatre and film scripts for my students. We put on at least two theatrical productions a year and I do a lot of the writing for these. I’m also a filmmaker and have written short film scripts which my film company, Pat the Bull Films, has then gone on to make. Writing a novel is very different from writing a film or theatre script. I usually write for specific performers or am asked to write about a set theme, but with That Special Someone I could write whatever came into my mind – it was a great feeling!
How do you manage your writing time?
Finding the time to write is unfortunately almost impossible for me. I work full-time and have two young children. My husband works long hours, so most of the childcare also falls to me. My husband is very supportive and, at the weekends, always makes sure I have a few hours free to write. However, over the years, my determination to write has turned me into a bit of an insomniac and I do most of my scribbling in the wee hours of the morning.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
Being on maternity leave from work after the birth of my second child was definitely what spurred me on! Being at home with my baby and toddler was wonderful, but I really missed the creative outlet that my job provides me with. Whenever my two young children slept, I found myself picking up my laptop, or a pen and notebook and ‘escaping’ for a couple of hours. That’s really when That Special Someone began to take shape. When I went back to work, the book wasn’t quite finished, but the interest shown by my fabulous publisher, Stephanie Zia, was the encouragement I needed to get it finished. Also, I have to mention my dad, Keith Bullock, here. He’s a wonderful writer and a published author of short stories. He’s definitely inspired me to follow in his footsteps.
Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
In bed! Always!! I wrap myself in my duvet, prop myself up on pillows and I’m away!
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
Ooo…good question! Well, about fifteen years ago, me and a group of girlfriends were mistaken for The Spice Girls in the South of France. We were mobbed by a group of French schoolboys and didn’t have the heart to disappoint them, so gave them all an autograph. I think I was ‘Sporty Spice’. Is that the kind of interesting fact you were after…?
Thank you for being here today Tanya.
Thank you. It’s been lovely.
~Where to find Tanya Bullock~
1.) An enjoyable and thought-provoking read that offers insight into parenting a child with learning disability into adulthood. These very real problems, sensitively tackled by this author are given both a humourous and at times heart wrenching story. (Customer review on Amazon.com)
2.) The moving story of a young girl with learning difficulties, her journey into womanhood, and of her mother Izzie whose resilience and courage are unbending. That Special Someone touched me with its human spirit, its heart and its portrayal of a mother’s boundless love for her child. It made me laugh and it made me cry; a stunning debut novel. (Emma Rose Millar, Author Strains from an Aeolian Harp.)
Love Missuswolf xxx