I have been busy for the last few months writing a novel about family life and life-limiting illness. I am going down the self-publishing route and hopefully, next week, it will be off to the printers! I thought I would write a little about the inspiration behind it. For some years now I have been interested in the impact parental illness has on children and family life. I have written an academic book about communicating with children when a parent is at the end of life and also various papers for academic journals. I have also been working hard to get this subject on the agenda. There is little support for the children of patients (and while there is some great work out there it is very much a postcode lottery) and they are often not recognised as being potentially children in need. It beggars belief but there is no mandatory training for professionals (health, education or social) in this subject and then we wonder why professionals are often fearful of working with and supporting these children and their families. So after trying conventional routes to get this on the agenda (any agenda – political, social, moral…) I was inspired by my wonderful partner to write a novel. And voila our book is about to be sent to the printers. The book tackles a very emotive subject and at times might not be easy reading – just as we are very bad at talking about dying and death we are also pretty bad at reading about it. But as I have said many times before, life-limiting illness is not prejudiced and will (and does) affect people from every background. It isn’t designed to be a ‘self-help’ book or one that offers advice. It is about an ordinary family who are suddenly faced with a major crisis in their lives. What I hope to achieve is that people enjoy reading it – it is after all a story, but that they also think about the content and see just how difficult family life can be when living with life-limiting illness. I will post again soon once we have gone to print.