A common theme that runs through my books is the main character suffering abuse, or a loveless childhood, then going on to overcome their terrible start in life, and then making something out of nothing. This mirrors my experience in life, but in 'The Beast Catcher' I touched on another dismal obstacle that I had to endure throughout my childhood, and that was being constantly left on my own for long periods of time from a very young age.
I had to fend for, and look after myself as both my parents worked long hours, and both my brother and sister were a lot older than me, and also went out to work. You grow up a lot quicker than other kids, and you become very independent, resilient, and tough which, I suppose, stood me in good stead for being able to stand on my own two feet as an adult. But, having said that, it was a very lonely and soul-destroying experience, and I would have preferred parents who were loving and caring, than being able to rewire the electrics in my house, or tile a bathroom!
Even when my parents were at home, they weren't very nice people to be around, and I would do all I could to avoid them, which meant spending long periods of time outside.
This wasn't so bad, as back in the 1970's, kids spent most of their time outside playing with the other kids in the street, so I would have friends to play with, but there were times when it rained, or there was no one about, and I had to occupy myself as best I could. Anything than go home and be in the company of my unpleasant, disagreeable, and thoroughly vile parents.
This inspired the back-story of 'The Beast Catcher', about a feral girl, later called Flora, who is living wild in the woods, and has to fend for herself from about the age of 12, which is much older than I was. Although, I didn't have to survive in a forest as I grew up in South West London.
When Flora is 'caught' by Harry Delavelle, he attempts to humanise her, and she has to learn how to be a a human and live in the human world, much as I did after I'd escaped the abusive prison that was my parents house. Harry is, at first, successful in transitioning Flora from a feral child into a human, but she has never experienced a loving and healthy relationship before, and their marriage was doomed from the start. She finally runs off back into the forest to the only life, one of misery and loneliness, that she has ever know.
I now know that after all these years of failed and abusive relationships I've had as an adult is due to both my toxic and abusive childhood, and abandonment issues, caused by being neglected and left on my own from a very young age. This has caused me to stay in abusive and unhealthy relationships for far too long from a fear of abandonment.
It's not all doom and gloom, though, as I live with my two beautiful sons who I love very much, and I'm now in a happier place than I've ever been in my life.
Background: Gracechurch Street, 1820's.
Oak tree in Bentley Woods, Hampshire.