‘I once read that the end of a relationship is like being involved in a road traffic accident. Which is quite fitting really, given what happened.’
After seven years, Lizzie wonders whether she’s truly happy with her long-term boyfriend. When one wrong step and a chance meeting set off an unexpected chain of events, her life begins to unravel. On the same day that she meets Martin, an attractive lifeguard, her old friend, Catherine, re-appears. But is Martin really all he seems? And what is the secret that Catherine is hiding? As Lizzie struggles to confront the ghosts of her past, can she survive the shocking twist that will change the course of her future?
Swimming Upstream is a life-affirming and often humorous story about a young woman's pursuit of happiness. It is also a story of female friendship, love, and divided loyalties - and the moral choices that we find ourselves making when the chips are down.
About the author. I was born in South-West London and educated in Cambridge and London where I gained a bachelors degree in French and Spanish and a post-graduate diploma in Law. For several years I worked in the publishing industry before leaving my job, my relationship with my long-term partner and my home to travel and also to write the first draft of Swimming Upstream. I then put my writing career on hold for several years while I retrained as a lawyer. I have always had an interest in civil liberties and I care strongly about social justice as well as loving books and wanting to write. Swimming Upstream is my debut novel. It has just been released with Booktrope Publishing and currently has 4.6 out of 5 stars over 55 reviews on Amazon UK and 4.1 over 83 reviews on Amazon.com.
Welcome, Ruth, to M's Bookshelf!
The idea for my debut novel Swimming Upstream was born out of my own experiences, as most first novels (if not all novels!) are. I’d just come out of a long-term relationship. We’d realised that we’d gone as far on our life journey as we could go together, but he’d been the love of my life and we still had strong feelings for each other so it was a very painful experience. His way of dealing with it was to jump straight into another relationship, with one of our mutual friends, which was really hard to be around. I, on the other hand, realised that that wasn’t the answer for me. Whilst I craved the freedom to follow my true path in life, I’d been very dependent on my partner emotionally and I realised that the fact that I needed a romantic relationship so much was the same reason that I couldn’t be in one for a while. It was a time for some self-reflection and a time to be alone. Writing down my feelings was my release.
I’ve been an avid reader all my life and I’m quite a fan of popular psychology books as well as fiction that makes me think and learn, and grow as a person. I felt very lost at the time and was searching for inspiration. I wanted to read about someone who was going through something similar (and had survived!). There was a great album that had been released at the time by a band called Fairground Attraction and every song seemed to sum up a step on the journey of breaking up with someone that you knew wasn’t right for you, before finding happiness again with someone else. One of the songs, “Find My Love” described turning on the dial on the radio and trying to find a song about your situation, and that’s what I was trying to do with books. I couldn’t find anything that reflected back the emotions I felt, and so I decided to write it down instead.
It was a process that took several years and quite a lot of self-honesty, and in fact it’s now twenty years since I wrote the first draft of my novel. I was encouraged by some instant interest by a well known London literary agent, but I knew that there was too much of myself in the story and whilst writing it had been immensely therapeutic, it needed work.
Much has happened in the last twenty years. I eventually met the man who is now my husband and we have two children. I also left my job in publishing and retrained as a lawyer and I still practice to this day, juggling that with writing and looking after my family. Two years ago, I picked up my novel, dusted it down and rewrote it. It’s now very much a story, but one that seems to resonate with, and inspire, other women. That’s so fulfilling for me. It’s exactly what I was hoping for!