Author puts her feet up

SUFFOLK-born author Sarah Bilston is today celebrating the publication of her first novel. As the book climbs the bestseller charts, feature writer JAMES MARSTON caught up with the mum-of-three and asked her about her inspiration for Bed Rest.

SUFFOLK-born author Sarah Bilston is today celebrating the publication of her first novel.

As the book climbs the bestseller charts, feature writer JAMES MARSTON caught up with the mum-of-three and asked her about her inspiration for Bed Rest.

QUINN 'Q' Boothroyd is a New York lawyer with a busy life.

She's got a good job, a handsome husband, money and she's pregnant but then her world turns upside down.

Author Sarah Bilston said: “She's English but living in New York. She's a really busy professional when her life suddenly just stops.

“Her hours of work are insane, her relationships with erh mother and sister have been sending her to meltdown and her friends are no where to be seen and she begins to ask herself if her life is what she thought it was.

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“Then her doctor tells her she must rest completely for the remainder of her pregnancy or risk having the baby more than three months early.”

“The book is about how she copes with her situation. After a few days on the sofa plans of learning how to knit and becoming an expert in black and white cinema have been replaced with daytime tv and biscuits.”

Her life turned upside down Q begins to examine her life, her marriage, her relationship with her mother.

Sarah said: “She's on bed rest for three months so she starts thinking about her own life and the decisions she has made.

“Her life begins to unravel. She realises there are problems in her marriage that she hasn't faced up to. She has time to make things right and figure out exactly what she wants out of life.

“It's comic in places and serious in others and it is also a positive story.”

Fascinated by plot and literature, Sarah is an academic with a specialism in Victorian literature.

She said: “I had written academic books and then I was put on Bed Rest myself when the idea came to me. I started the novel then and it took about 18 months to complete in the end.

“I thought the idea of a woman forced to rest was an interesting situation. It was a challenge as I was lying on my left side during the bed rest but I had got the book going.”

Born and bred in Suffolk, the former Ipswich High School pupil said it was a relief when the book was finished.

She said: “I had a huge sense of achievement and I was very pleased when it was all finished. I'm now working on my second novel and a children's book which is based in East Anglia.”

Though she lives in Connecticut Suffolk remains home for Sarah.

The 34-year-old said: “My parents bought a house in Old Newton in 1972 and my mother still lives there. We just spent Easter in Suffolk and it was lovely to be back.

“I still feel very much part of the Suffolk community and even where I live in America is as close to rural Suffolk as you could get.”

Released earlier this month Bed Rest, is described by publishers little brown as a “charming and witty novel in the tradition of Allison Pearson and Sophie Kinsella.”

Sarah added: “I had written quite serious and sober non fiction about literatirte but I also wanted to write fiuction to remind myself wof why I was attracted to literature in the first place. I have loved writing the novel and there is nothing better than losing yourself in your characters. Its sounds ridiculous but they do become real people to you and even do things you don't expect. It is very exciting.”

“Weds 11.05am: This is the first morning of my first full day of bed rest and I think I'm doing great. And I haven't switched on the television once!

Weds 6.15pm: Why do people disturb me half way through Ricki? Just as I'm settling down to watch “I was a ho but now I'm a hottie” the phone rings or the doorbell goes and that's the end of that.”

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“Weds 8.30am: I woke up at 3am in a vast, sweaty panic. I have just realises something. I'm going to have a baby in five weeks time. Not ten weeks, like most women, but five. And I don't have a bed for the baby to sleep in. I don't have a seat for the baby to bounce in. I don't even have - wait, what else do babies need? I have no idea. And what about play time - do newborns really need those hideous brightly coloured mats my friends' children sprawl on, like tiny upended beetles? Will I be starving my child off sensory experience if I don't have Lamaze clutch cubes ready to go on the day of delivery?”

“Sarah Bilston has written a very clear-sighted novel about how tough it is for women to juggle career, marriage and childbirth. I laughed out loud and couldn't put it down.” Marian Keyes.

“Prescribe yourself some of the same, so that you can bask in the humour, poignancy and warmth of this gorgeous novel.” Elizabeth Noble.

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