Sue Hawkins

I began to put thoughts on paper after our son had a close encounter with death in May 2010. Whilst on a routine patrol with 40 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan he was injured when an improvised explosive device detonated not far from the area he was clearing. His survival was in the lap of the gods so my role as next of kin felt incredibly harrowing.

In surprising ways, the day I got the ‘knock on the door’ to tell me this news, my life became enriched and perhaps we all grow and fulfil our lives when facing challenges. Writing from a mother’s perspective in ‘Next of Kin’ has been therapeutic and I hope it will help others through their personal experience of secondary trauma.

When a short extract of ‘Next of Kin’ won first place in a competition run by ‘Words for the Wounded’, I was absolutely delighted. Founded by the author Margaret Graham, the charity ‘Words for the Wounded’ raises money to support the rehabilitation of the wounded. I was thrilled to bits to win and equally pleased that at the same time more money had been raised to help the injured.

Whilst I try to put my story together, I have been hugely privileged to be supported by the Elstead Writers’ Group in Surrey. The writing process does continue to be a daunting experience for me but once my story is told I am sure I will be justly proud. Fingers crossed!