Today I’m so pleased to welcome author Pat Abercromby to Snazzy Books. She’ll be sharing a bit about herself, as well as her inspiration for Just One Life, as part of my stop on the blog tour!
Over to Pat:
“I have always been intensely interested in other people’s life’s and stories. Not wanting to live vicariously through them, but possibly been influenced and inspired by some people I have had the privilege of knowing.
I have always loved animals but was not clever enough to train as a vet (mathematics and me did not get on) so instead, I went into veterinary laboratory research and from this early career pathway starting at the Veterinary Hospital in Glasgow, I worked for a further six years in medical research in London and Germany. After finally deciding that medical research was not for me, I started my own recruiting company for medical representatives until my two daughters were born sixteen months apart and I found it impossible to keep on working as my job took me away from home for days at a time. My husband was a flight engineer flying long haul trips and I had no other family available or willing to help me out with the babies. I could have afforded a nanny then, but to be honest, I could not bear to leave them for so long.
For the next twenty years, my career went on the back burner as we travelled round the world with my husband who took on long contracts with several international airlines. We lived in Singapore, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Seattle, USA. However, I was always working on some project or another, never making much money, but enjoying the experiences. I dabbled in telecommunication sales, skincare products, MLM style, that was awful and and definitely not for me! In Jeddah I hosted a radio talk show and wrote articles for the Arab press which gave me the opportunity to interview some fascinating people. We returned to the UK from America when my daughters were ready to attend university.
I retrained as a massage therapist at the age of fifty. Something I had always been interested it but was unable to train as we were abroad for so long. By the age of fifty three I had trained in several holistic massage disciplines, including Seated Acupressure massage and wanted to train other therapists. I gained a post graduate degree in education (PGCE,) and set up a training school with my business partner Davina. In the year 2000 we published our own training book Seated Acupressure Massage (still available on Amazon 17 years later.) For ten years we offered our City and Guilds accredited training course throughout the UK and Ireland. Alongside that, I ran a First Aid training company for the corporate and private sector.
Then my life took an unexpected twist. I met a retired pilot on a domestic flight coming back from a training course in Scotland. He had an idea about a start-up long haul low cost airline using combo 747 aircraft which would carry freight and passengers. I introduced him to my newly retired husband who knew the airline industry inside out. This kicked off a three year project with an experienced team of aviators and me heavily involved as well. At the eleventh hour, the night before the launch, our main investor was arrested by the FBI for money laundering and the whole venture collapsed with devastating consequences for all concerned. A few months later, we were almost bankrupt and then my husband had a massive stroke.
For the next eight years, I was a full-time carer for him, unable to continue working apart from running the First Aid training company, matching trainers with client companies which I could do from home. We sold our comfortable family home and moved into a small two bedroomed house, but two years ago, he developed vascular dementia and had to go into a residential dementia care nursing home. I visit him every week and he seems quite settled. Having six days of the week now available, has allowed me to claim back some of my life and my first novel, Just One Life is one result of that. I also have a few private clients who come for remedial massage treatments and I have started up another business with Davina my training school partner from before and we offer chair massage sessions in the corporate sector through our company Wellbeing Direct. I also find time to garden, walk the dog and look after my grandchildren regularly. I love classical music and go to concerts as often as I can.
I have a non-fiction technical book and another novel in the pipeline so I won’t be retiring any time soon. I have taken up pilates and yoga recently to keep the stiff knees under control!
Just One Life is dedicated to all unsung carers, young and old, male or female and to friendship.”
Just One Life: Synopsis
When you realise you have just one life left to live, how do you make peace with the mistakes of your past?
Fran should be looking back on her life with pride. She’s risen to the top of the job ladder, having left behind a council housing estate in post-war Glasgow, to forge a colourful, fulfilling career and enjoy all the trappings of success.
But instead, Fran is consumed by regret. A shocking revelation has cast her life, and her thirty-year marriage, asunder. She finds herself the full-time carer for her husband, a man she now accepts, she has never loved. The sacrifices she has made, the personal freedoms she has lost, have left Fran crushed. Her free-spirited friend Iona is her one salvation. Their friendship has survived the storms of conflict and loss since childhood, their deep affection for one another the only constant remaining in Fran’s life, a life she no longer recognises as her own.
Her husband’s new brush with death will give Fran the chance to reflect on what she has left, the choices she has made and the two men she has loved and lost.
Can Fran find a way through the ruins of her marriage and find inner peace, to make the most of what remains of her life’s journey?
A Bit About Pat
Living in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Pat Abercromby has enjoyed a varied career – from recruitment consultant to journalist in Saudi Arabia and massage therapist – eventually setting up a training school for Seated Acupressure Massage. Today she continues to work within the field of corporate wellness with her business partner Davina Thomson with their joint company Wellbeing Direct. She also co-wrote and published Seated Acupressure Massage with Davina Thomson in 2000. In her spare time, Pat enjoys being an active member of her local creative writing group, classical music and the outdoors.