Jill Stephens began writing when she retired from full-time work. Her first self-published work was a series of illustrated short stories entitled Tales of the Malmesbury Merrie Monks. This proved popular locally, but she was unable to promote them when she became a carer for her very elderly mother. Further tales were not formally published but some were enjoyed, even on local radio.
Cruel Mistress was started by way of showing her children that there was a reason for their father’s behaviour, and that he was at heart a good man. Writing the book was cathartic, and she remembered the happy times and never really gave up on him over the fifty years they were together.
The combination of life in the navy with its drinking culture, not admitting to problems and then the trauma of war takes its toll. She is glad that now there is a greater recognition of post-traumatic stress and the problems not only faced by members of the armed forces but also their families. For this reason, she hopes that her own tale will reach out and help others to seek help before more damage is done to both health and relationships.
Since writing this autobiography, she has written novels and more short stories and enjoys membership of a writing group in her hometown.