Lack of fame is no barrier to Attleborough author
The autobiography is usually the preserve of the rich and famous.
However one Attleborough woman decided that a lack of celebrity status was no barrier to her sharing her life story – in an eight-volume book series.
Jennifer Meakin said that, although she was not a public figure, she had always wanted to put pen to paper to tell her life’s journey.
The 73-year-old of Birch Close, Attleborough, explained: “I’m a lady who has got myself into all sorts of troubles and lived an interesting life.”
“I thought there would be quite a lot of people who would get a lot from it.”
Threads – A Norfolk Girl’s Life starts in the 1960s, when Mrs Meakin had what she described as a “shotgun marriage” where “everything went wrong”.
The grandmother-of-two tells the story of how she arrived in Attleborough, aged 30, with just a suitcase and a baby – her son Wesley.
Mrs Meakin trained to be an art teacher and worked at Attleborough High School – but made what she called a “reckless” decision to take early retirement, aged just 48.
“I thought I’d manage somehow and did various part-time jobs,” she said.
The book details how she then embarked on an unsuccessful journey to find a partner, responding to lonely hearts advertisements in newspapers and travelling across the region to meet potential other-halves.
“It was a disaster,” she said. “But it took me all over East Anglia and I met all sorts of characters.” The book also tells of her later travels to Burma and Thailand.
Mrs Meakin started writing the book about eight years ago.
“At first I thought it was going to be boring,” she said.
“But it progressed and I really enjoyed it. Once I set about it, my confidence and its general interest invited me to see it through.”
However she said: “Because of my lack of celebrity status, I realised that a publisher would probably ignore me.”
Undeterred, she had it produced to her own design – even though it meant taking equity out of her house to pay for it.
She also faced a challenge in getting it printed. As a technophobe, Mrs Meakin had hand-written the book, meaning it took three to four years to get it copy-typed.
She had to advertise for and pay a team of five typists to do the work. “The printers did beg me to try to cut it down,” she said. “However I felt if I tried to cut it, I would’ve lost the whole ethos of what I’m trying to do.”
Mrs Meakin has had 120 copies of the book published.
She does not expect to hit the bestsellers charts or recoup the thousands of pounds she has spent on producing the book, but said she is hopeful some people would be interested to read about a Norfolk girl’s life.
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