Brigid Coady wrote her romantic novel ‘No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham’ while going to and from work in Maidstone.
During her daily hour long journey, the 43-year-old busily tapped away on her tablet while listening to music on her headphones.
Now Brigid’s novel has been published by HarperImpulse, an imprint of HarperCollins, and has won the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers.
Recently, Brigid emailed Southeastern to say she had written an award-winning novel on her train, joking that she is an unofficial writer in residence. And the train company decided to make it official.
Brigid, who lives in Pimlico, central London, said: “I have always wanted to write a novel and the train seemed like the ideal place to sit down, collect my thoughts and write my first book.”
The project manager, who works in Maidstone, came up with the idea for her book in 2009.
At first, she wrote it as a short story, but an editor said it was worthy of a novel.
So, as other commuters around her stared out of the train window at the Kent countryside, read the newspaper or had a quick snooze, Brigid set to work.
After writing away morning and evening she settled on a finished version of her work – which is over 80,000 words long – last February.
The story is inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and follows Edie Dickens, a divorce lawyer who doesn’t believe in love and the idea of there being a happily ever after style fairy tale ending.
Haunted by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, she must change her ways before her best friend’s wedding, or end up being damned to an eternity watching others’ happiness.
The book was published as an e-book in May and a hardback edition is due for release this August. Brigid is now writing her second novel, whilst commuting on the same train to Maidstone East.
Brigid said: “We all say ‘I would do X if only I had the time’ but it’s about finding those little pockets of time that can be used to really follow our dreams. There’s no way I could have finished my book without using that time on my commute sitting at my table and writing.”
Barbara Thomas, Passenger Services Director for Southeastern added: “We want to congratulate Brigid on the publication of her first book and winning an award.
“It’s great to hear stories of how our passengers spend their time on their commute and it is clear that Brigid used her commute very constructively.
“When Brigid contacted us about her achievement, we were happy to announce her as writer in residence on this service – the 6.37am train from London Victoria to Maidstone East.”