A story of strength and tenderness
If only he’d told her is the story of Emma, who at the age of 32, loses her boyfriend to cancer. Their relationship before his death, though, was difficult and Emma is left with one important unanswered question – did he really love her?
Beginning at the funeral, the story moves forwards in time as she comes to terms with her loss, and backwards in time as Emma untangles a complex relationship overshadowed by a terminal illness. Tested to breaking point, she and Mark demonstrate the courage and kindness they have for each other, but also the courage and kindness that they both need, and only by understanding the love that they shared, will Emma be able to move forward. From the loss and emptiness surrounding death, the injustice of illness and failed treatment, to the hope and strength provided by love, this is an emotional, but ultimately uplifting account, with elements that will speak to us all.
Many thanks to Grace Pilkington, @GracePublicity, for inviting me to take part in this very special blog tour of If only he’d told me by Katherine Markland. Do check out the other dates for reviews and much more.
I am delighted to have Katherine Markland as the guest on my blog today. Katherine is talking about her writing process and what inspired her to write If only he’d told her.
Just reading her piece will make you understand what a remarkable person Katherine Markland is. To have made such a commitment to this wonderful story in order to let others know that they are not alone. So without further ado here is Katherine.
If only he’d told her is essentially my story. It’s the story of a girl who falls in love with a man who is dying and while they both try and deny it to start, they have to face it, it tears them apart, but in the end, they come back together. It’s a romance, but not a standard boy-girl romance – it’s clear from the start that they get together, it’s more about relationships, the good and the bad, and what these tell us about ourselves.
I have always loved writing. I can be creative, but I also get very easily bored. I couldn’t write all day or write full time, and I can’t be creative under pressure, but relaxed and at my own pace, I enjoy it. I’d done a few creative writing courses, but couldn’t really come up with a story – I was writing a lot of single scenes, and they were good and I enjoyed that, then life presented a story to me and I have made the most of the opportunity.
The story starts with the funeral, and then moves backwards and forwards in time, but this is where the writing process started for me. I didn’t start writing straight away, it took me a while to try a few pieces, firm up the structure and decide I could commit to writing a novel, but once I’d decided, I bought a special chair to sit at the windowsill in my spare room – this gave me a special place for writing where I didn’t get distracted by other things, and I tried to write a little every week, sometimes a little every day, and I enjoyed it. I work full time, so it needed to fit around other things.
I was inspired to write because the whole story, my life event, was difficult for me, and this was a way of working through it. As it says on the cover, the story deals with death, illness and failed treatment, and as a result of my experience, I had a lot of feelings to sort out, but I’m a very private person, I’m not good at talking, and by writing things down that was helpful. Every time you rewrite or reread a passage, you see something slightly different, I learnt a lot.
I wanted also to help others if I could. I found other stories helpful early in the grieving process, and death, illness and treatment – these topics are difficult, no-one really speaks about them, yet we all will or have experienced them. Everyone’s experience will be different, but I wanted basically to let others know that they’re not alone, there’s nothing wrong with how they’re feeling, and in the end that they will come through.
Four years after I’d started writing, I had a first draft. I then spent a long time looking for an agent, and then a long time redrafting once I’d found a self-publisher who was willing to work with me, but I’m very pleased with the final product. I hope other people like it too.
Thank you so much, Katherine, for this wonderful guest post. Your story is amazing and I wish you and it every success .
Publicity: by Grace Pilkington Publicity
Publisher: 2QT Limited (Publishing) 1st edition (27 Aug. 2021)
ISBN 978-1-914083-19-8; eBook: ISBN 978-1-914083-20-4
If only he’d told her was launched ‘with a glass of champagne on the 27th August at The Pig on the Beach in Studland, Dorset’.
Copies are also available from Bloom and Curll, 74 Colston Street, Bristol, UK.
Katherine Markland lives in Dorset with her two cats. At the age of 32, she lost her boyfriend to cancer. Based largely on her own true story, If Only He’d Told Her recounts her journey through grief, to find that love does exist after all. Her journey was aided by the writing process, and she hopes the finished product may aid others too.
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