I am one of those mothers who counts down with anticipation to the school holidays.

I would like to be able to say that the countdown is filled with anticipation about getting to spend all that time with my two adorable daughters. They are definitely adorable but the shameful truth is that it is really a countdown to mornings where I do not have to pack lunch boxes and can stay in my PJs till 10 if I want to.

The other day, in an effort to embrace what should be the true joy of school holidays, and knowing that nothing says ‘I love you’ as much as a good board game, I challenged my 12-year old to a game of Scattergories. For the uninitiated, Scattergories is a game where you are given 12 subjects and the challenge (against the backdrop of a very noisy clicking timer) is to name a person or object relating to each, which begins with the same letter as shown on the dice. Extra points are awarded if your answer has more than one word starting with the letter shown – for example, Tina Turner will get you two points for a subject matter of ‘musician’ and the letter ‘T’.


With a win in round number one already under my belt (I gave up letting her win when it became clear that as a six-year old she was already losing all respect for me), round number two began. The letter was ‘D’. One of the 12 subjects was ‘Author’. I wrote ‘Dickens’. My name is Deborah Disney. The 12-year old named me, received double points and won the round …

The thing is, I am still coming to grips with calling myself an author. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to bits about it. In fact, the day I received an offer from HarperCollins to publish my novel, I was so excited that I could hardly speak. But it is still all sinking in, especially as I had not done any creative writing since high school. I recall that my English teacher at Downlands (she is still my hero), Irene Wheatley, suggested many years ago that I should pursue a career in writing. And I did. As a solicitor practising in litigation, I was involved in many a written showdown. More recently I have fashioned an enjoyable career in features and copywriting. The idea of becoming a published author, however, always seemed like an improbable dream.

My first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the school mum hierarchy. The main character, Maria, has struggled to find her place among the well-heeled mothers at the exclusive girls school attended by her daughter, Kate. Feeling frozen out after a Saturday morning netball hair-tie incident, Maria discovers that even as a grown up, there is still much to learn about playground politics. Up and In is published digitally by HarperCollins and is available from 1 December on iBooks, Amazon, Googleplay and more … I hope you like it.

Words by Deborah Disney | Image by Andrew Coates