Author Emily Koch: 'I'm not angry at the driver who broke my legs'

image copyrightBarbara Evripidou
image captionBristol author Emily Koch's first novel won a major award

A woman left seriously injured after being hit by a car says she would thank the driver if they met now.

Emily Koch suffered two broken legs and ligament damage in the collision in London.

But despite her initial anger at the man responsible, she says the accident led to her pursuing her dream to become a writer.

Her first novel won a major award and her second will be released in March.

Ms Koch says her career as an author began when she stepped on to a pedestrian crossing in Mile End, east London, in 2008.

With the lights flashing amber it should have been safe for her to cross but she was hit by a car, breaking her legs and leading to months of physio and rehabilitation before she could walk again.

image copyrightEmily Koch
image captionThe accident left Ms Koch facing months of recovery

Ms Koch is about to release her second novel Keep Him Close after her debut book If I Die Before I Wake was named one of Waterstones paperbacks of the year for 2019.

Both are set in Bristol, where she lives. Keep Him Close tells the story of a woman who befriends the mother of her son's killer. Horfield Prison, which Ms Koch says she passes every day, is at the centre of the plot.

'Life is short'

"The accident galvanised me to write," said Ms Koch, 34. "It made me realise that life is too short not to do the things that you love.

"The writing came several years afterwards but if I hadn't had that accident there's a good chance I'd still be sitting at my desk in an office thinking 'oh, one day I'll have that great idea and write a book'."

Despite her philosophical outlook now, at the time Ms Koch, originally from Cheltenham, says she was furious with the driver, who was spoken to by the police but not prosecuted. He was sent on a driver improvement course and paid Ms Koch compensation.

"Having to be wheeled to the toilet by your father at the age of 22 or being unable to sleep due to the pain and discomfort of wearing leg braces - it was tough and for a long time, I found it really hard to cross roads," she said.

"There were moments in the early days of my recovery when I did get angry and shouted at him [the driver]. Even though he wasn't there, I directed my frustrations at him.

"But I've managed to let that anger go. I think if I met him now I think I would say thank you.

"But I'd also tell him to drive more carefully."

image copyrightGoogle
image captionMs Koch was hit by a car outside Mile End Tube station

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