Helen, 40, London
I've been in love with words ever since I can remember. My father told me that I learned to use the right words very quickly as a child, and I remember quite clearly that I loved telling stories! And reading them too: as a teenager, my head was always in a book. I read and I wrote, and although I was no Charlotte Brontë, I felt the need to write. And then it all stopped. Suddenly I needed to get on with my life. After I finished my studies my parents wanted me to get a stable job, so I became a civil servant. It put their minds at rest and I found it bearable.
But then my father passed away, which was just devastating. I really needed to speak to him but I wasn't able to. The words wouldn't come out. One night, I got up and wrote him a letter. There and then I understood that my life was about writing.
I initially thought about taking a year out but I realized that it wouldn't work. So I dropped everything to write my first novel. It's going to be published soon and it's dedicated to my father.