My story was trapped in my mind for many years and my obsession to write this book became a frustration when I did not know how to start.

In London I was pushed into joining a weekly evening writing class which turned out to be a workshop for writers, and I would have left - when the teacher asked for examples of writing - had I not been sitting well away from the exit. Fortunately I stayed.

It has taken me the best part of ten years to write my memoir and I am indebted to my son, Peter Mason, for helping me translate words and phrases from my Cantonese way of thinking to English and, after rejections by several agents, for initially publishing my book and selling it into a major book chain in London. It was a buyer there who, feeling that the book needed a wider audience, sent a copy to a very large publisher who decided to publish the book.