SCF Ambassador, Brighton-based novelist Joanna Rees also writes as Josie Lloyd. Her novel, ‘The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club’ came out last year and was inspired by her experience of running with the Albion In The Community’s Brighter Outlook programme, (partly funded by the SCF).
Her next novel, ‘Lifesaving For Beginners’ is all about group of sea-swimmers. Josie says, ‘I wanted to write about what we gained rather than lost during lockdown, which, for me was a greater sense of community and an appreciation of the sea being right on my doorstep.’ The novel is fictional, but very much inspired by her experience of swimming throughout the year. ‘Swimming in cold water invokes your inner super-hero,’ she says. ‘You never think you’re going to do it, but then you do and afterward you feel invincible.’ Josie also says that her cold-water dips have helped tremendously with her recovery after cancer. ‘After cancer, it’s difficult to be well and to move on. I found that the hormone drugs threw me straight into the deep end of menopause with lots of hot flushes. Swimming in the sea regularly has helped alleviate all of my symptoms. It lifts me mentally in a way nothing else can and puts everything into perspective.’
‘Lifesaving For Beginners’ by Josie Lloyd is published by HQ on 21st July and is available online and in all good bookshops.