This week I’m delighted to be interviewing award winning author Diane Chandler. Her most recent novel is called Moondance, and it draws heavily on her own experiences. The book is about a career woman who struggled to conceive naturally. It follows her in her struggle with IVF, a topic close to Diane’s heart. The book will be published on 1 November 2016 to coincide with National Infertility Awareness Week.
1. Tell me about the most unexpected change to you as a person or to your life since becoming a parent?
I was always a notoriously impatient person, and was stunned to find incredible depths of patience within me when my daughter Maddie was born. She’s now thirteen though, and I think I might be losing it again!
2. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since having children?
My daughter was born through IVF. I gave up work to dedicate myself to the four cycles it took for us to have Maddie. Once she was born, I decided to stay home with her, and those first two years were probably the most challenging of my life. Having been used to swinging a briefcase through airports with my job, I then found myself simply trying to get through every hour. In my novel, Moondance, there’s a character who rants about how difficult it is to be with a small baby and I drew heavily on my own memories for that scene!
3. What do you regard as your greatest achievement?
I guess I feel proud to have had two novels published. My first one, The Road to Donetsk, won a book prize this year too. As I said in my acceptance speech, I was “gobsmacked” by that!
4. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What hasn’t killed you?
Well, battling through IVF was probably one of the darkest periods of my life. I’d never been in hospital before and the injections, general anaesthetics – and the miscarriages were punishing. I drew on my own experience of the emotional and physical impact of IVF when writing Moondance. But I was one of the lucky ones who got there and I’ll always feel blessed for that.
5. Who inspires you?
Strangely, I might just say my mother-in- law! She’s such a positive, cheerful and kind person and definitely someone to emulate. And she lives close by too. Again, perhaps I’m one of the lucky ones!
6. I have just invented a time machine (and you thought you’d achieved something great). You can now go backwards or forwards to any point in time and deliver any message to any person, what’s your message and who is it for?
OK… well what springs to mind is that I always tell my daughter to be true to herself – to live her life according to who she is, what her values are, and what she feels to be right. I guess I’d like to imbue that upon her one last time just before I pop my clogs.
7. You have the opportunity to influence the entrepreneurs of the future. What life changing invention would you like to see on the drawing board?
A litter tray that my two Ragdoll cats would actually prefer using to my front door mat.
8. I have waved a magic wand and all of your responsibilities have been taken care of for 24 hours. What are you going to do?
Easy. I would snuggle down with a great book and read it in once sitting. Then pick another one up and go at that until bedtime. Then I’d lie-in until I woke up naturally.
9. How can parents best be empowered to properly balance a career and a family life?
As a writer, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home. I think this takes so much of the stress away and I’m definitely the family shock-absorber. My writing fits well round my family’s needs, the odd tennis game – and all that domestic bliss!
10. You’re off for a night out tonight. Where will you go, what will you drink and what will be the topic of conversation?
We live near the busy and brilliant Chiswick High Road in London, which is full of bars and restaurants. My favourite food is Vietnamese and I love good wine – have been drinking rose all summer but soon to switch to red. I guess we might talk about my next novel,which I’m supposed to be writing right now.