On Thursday 22 July (2021) my debut novel, Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life will be published - and I want to say a huge thank you to you personally, and to all at FASD Awareness for the help, support and encouragement which you have given me.
Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life tells the story of Hope, a young woman who has joined an evening writing class because she believes that writing her autobiography will help her to find the birth mother who abandoned her as a baby. Hope is twenty-five years old. She works as a dog walker, and has FASD.
Since I first contacted FASD Awareness to ask if you would be kind enough to share your expertise and feedback with me, I have learned a lot not just about FASD, but also about commitment and perseverance. I have had a glimpse of how tireless you are when it comes to your mission of improving life for people who have the condition.
I want you to know how grateful I am for the time you have given to me, particularly when it is so clear how very little you ever leave for yourself. Tracy, you are a phenomenon. In the time I have known you, I have seen you set up your new base, grow the group and take it in new, ambitious directions, whilst taking the upheaval of a pandemic in your stride. I have shared in the fun of Leeds Castle in the rain and learned about the science of how a child comes to be born with FASD. I have picked your brain, often at length, by Zoom, by phone, by email and in person, and you have patiently worked through scenes and sentences and ideas, right down to individual words, with me. I hope that the young man - he knows who he is - who has read and listened to my words, and told me that my main character’s feelings reflected his own, understands that this was more important to me than any review could ever be.
My husband, Ben, and I have met your family and Andrew, and others from the group, and gained an insight into some of the frustrations which you and others with lived experience of FASD come up against on a daily basis - but, I think, the rewards also.
My abiding image is of a remarkable woman in a very orange raincoat. And I think that it is pretty characteristic of her that she is laughing in the rain.
In my book, Hope Nicely faces many challenges and learns a lot about herself, and about friendship and acceptance. In writing it, I have learned so much too.
Thank you, Tracy and all at FASD Awareness.
Caroline Day, author of Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life, published by Zaffre.
Links to Caroline's book: