Ever wondered, what if?
Ever stopped and pondered ‘what if?’ In this article author of Pivotal, Nikki Vallance, shares her own perspective on those pivotal moments in life…
What if? – a question we have all surely asked ourselves at one point or another. I believe in living mindfully and ‘in the moment’, although I am a work in progress and not perfect at it by any stretch of the imagination! Sometimes we can’t help but look back, reflecting on past events and decisions made at the time and wonder what might have been.
‘Pivotal’ looks at the multiple paths a life may take at the crossroads of each significant decision. The premise centres on the decisions we make in life and the self-determination versus destiny debate.
How many doors does one person open in a lifetime? When you pass through a door does your life change forever or do you have power over who you become by the choices you make? I wanted to pose those questions in the book.
I firmly believe we have control over who we become. Of course, our early years shape us, our families, the environments we grow up in, the teachers who inspire or discourage us, our significant others, all have an impact. We can’t change our genes or external events but we can choose how we respond to them.
Writing the novel gave me the chance to explore how the different characters might react at a pivotal moment. A moment where their decision could impact their whole lives and livelihoods, which in their mid-life had seemed set on a particular path. I wanted to write the kind of book I would enjoy reading myself too, full of relatable female characters in their forties. There weren’t too many of these books about.
It is difficult to say whether these stories were not being published because editors felt they wouldn’t sell, or because they weren’t being written. Like many underrepresented sections of society in publishing, it’s a little bit chicken and egg. It’s encouraging to see more stories being told with older female characters in books, film and on television. I loved the ‘women of a certain age’ in Kay Mellor’s Girlfriends.
I’ve always enjoyed reading a wide range of stories and genres and have never really limited myself to characters of any particular age. Often readers turn to books when life is in a state of flux and sometimes seeing yourself reflected in the characters can help steer you through whatever stage in life you’re at.
I do think, in the same way that the YA (Young Adult) market has become established in recent years, there is definitely room for more books with relatable older characters, OA (Older Adult) if you will.
Crucially for me, both as a coach and a writer, the key is to start where you are, identify what you’d like to achieve and work towards it. I’ve changed direction, or ‘pivoted’ several times in my working life, when I wanted to choose a different path. None of those experiences are wasted. They each contribute to who I am as person and provide a rich seam of inspiration and ideas for my writing.
‘It’s never too late to be who you might have been.’
I love this quote from George Eliot. I’ve been quoting it ever since I began coaching and long before I started writing the novel. To me it perfectly sums up my philosophy, an inspirational phrase to encourage anyone who feels they might want to change direction.
The late Mary Wesley, my favourite author, became a bestselling novelist in her 70s and is a perfect example of someone who made a success of changing direction in later life.
I do believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to regardless of the path you have previously chosen.
Pivotal; Four Lives. Three Siblings. Two Secrets. One Pivotal Moment.
Pivotal tells the story of four women in their forties, whose lives are disrupted by an extraordinary event.
Get 10% off a signed copy of Pivotal with Pivotal Merchandise bundles*
Head to Nikki’s website HERE and use coupon code MIDL10 at checkout.
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More About Nikki Vallance
Nikki is an author, speaker and coach who works with others to unlock their writing talents. She runs a group coaching program, The Writers’ Pod, and one to one sessions, to help aspiring writers achieve their goals.
She began writing Pivotal, whilst still working in her recruitment career, following a flash of inspiration in a session with her own coach. Passionate about creative expression, books and encouraging others to reach their full potential, Nikki describes herself as an amateur psychologist and is fascinated by people and understanding what makes us who we are.
Nikki is married with a blended family of five children across two hemispheres. Although a beginner, she’s a big fan of argentine tango, which she hopes to dance in Buenos Aires one day, once travel is back on the cards