Quite unexpectedly, NFReads.com enquired if I was interested in providing an author interview. As a result, I did my due diligence and in doing so had the opportunity to read other interesting author interviews. I do hope that others will read the story of my journey to publication and feel inspired or motivated to begin or continue their own journey into the world of publishing.
My own story began when I was quite young. Although at the time, I was not aware that I was laying down the foundations for my future as a writer of contemporary fiction and poetry.
During my childhood, I kept a diary, which I wrote in, with great enthusiasm, later writing in a journal. It will come as no great surprise to hear that I was an avid reader. Still, am. There is truth in the saying ‘So many books, so little time’.
As I left childhood behind my love of reading and writing did not wane. If anything, it went from strength to strength. I read the classics and studied A-Level language and literature. In awe of all published authors; one day striving to write a novel myself. From time to time, I wrote poetry eventually putting together a collection, which has recently been published by ‘Globeflower Books’. Chameleon days explores the changing and sometimes camouflaged emotions of a woman unleashed. Beautifully illustrated by the artist Elvina Dulac. This is available from Amazon and other retail outlets. (ISBN: 9781999829483)
Life for most of us dictates the necessity to work and earn a wage. I realised early on, the difficulty of earning a living from writing. Fortunately, I chose a career that I adored and was well suited to. Nursing involved a lot of hard work, unsociable hours, and dedication. There was also a terrific amount of study, which for me took no effort. I had a thirst for knowledge in those days, which was quenched from reading the many books and journals. Writing essays was an opportunity to practice my writing skills. Out of necessity, the nature of my writing at this stage was of a different genre to my current work. Scientific writing continued to be a part of my life for many years, well after completing a degree in Biological Science.
As much as I enjoyed this, it did not feed my creativity. Although writing in my journal allowed me to express myself in the written word. It did not completely hit the spot for me. When my family left home to become independent adults, I was able to reduce my working hours, enabling the pursuit of my dream to write a novel.
My journey to published author.
It was inevitable that my debut novel would incorporate my existing knowledge about real-life social issues. It came to my attention through my role as a Practice Nurse in Primary care that alcohol misuse among women in modern life was fast becoming a major public health and social issue. My debut novel simply called ‘Alice’ and published by Austin Macaulay publishers, is a fictionalised account that reflects the struggle of many women who find themselves in circumstances that feel beyond their control. Women who in their twenties saw themselves with a long and happy future ahead of them. Sadly, the reality for some women is that these aspirations and dreams are shattered when the family unit breaks down. These women may follow a different path with a change in their drinking habits.
The story follows the life of one such woman. Alice is available to purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Barnes and Noble and other retail outlets. ISBN-10: 1786129728
ISBN-13: 978-1786129727 Available as a hardback, paperback and EBook.
July 2015 I completed the first draft of my debut novel Alice. In truth, I hoped but doubted very much that it would be of interest to mainstream publishers. An unknown author like me. Who would take such a chance? Out of interest, I began my google search of publishers. Where does one start? Well, at the very beginning of course. With the letter A.
In retrospect, I realise now, just how naïve I was, and still am to some extent. However, since the early days of my journey, I have learned a lot more. I told myself that I was just testing the water and prepared for many rejection letters or maybe, no reply at all. From my search of the internet, I discovered that there were very few publishers willing to take on new writers. However, hey, I was testing the water, right. I went back to the first search page and chose the first publisher willing to take on new authors. A = Austin Macaulay.
Forward to August 2015 and I received a reply from them. The first of many rejection letters I thought. Wrong! To my utter amazement, the letter was positive.
‘The publishing board have reported favourably on a piece of work which you submitted for consideration. ‘
No way, I thought. This is incredible news. After sending them the full manuscript, they offered me a publishing contract. Not a traditional contract where the author is paid an advance, but one with good royalty payments set against a one-off payment by myself to cover costs. It was a reasonable amount and I understood it was a risk on their part. I was assigned a production coordinator who was very professional. After approximately eighteen months, the book was ready to go to press. I was able to decide on my own front cover design and the blurb. Although they provided me with a few front cover designs, none truly appealed. Therefore, I sought help from a contact of mine who lived local and was able to meet with me to plan a suitable front cover. The publisher was happy with the arrangement, and the first books were hot off the press in January 2017. I organised a book launch party in a fabulous listed building in my local village. It was well attended and such an awesome experience for my family and myself.
Once I had completed the editing and proofreading process of my debut novel, I began working on my second book. However, I did not take into account the amount of effort and hard work required to promote and market my debut novel. The lady who helped with my front cover design, Anna’lisa meanwhile developed a marketing company of her own. With her help, I set up the most popular social platforms to promote my book. She developed a website for me and taught me about how to manage it and write blog posts. She arranged radio interviews media coverage and magazine contacts. Anna’lisa also arranged a couple of blog tours and give aways, something I was not aware of. In effect, she became my marketing manager.
When my second book ‘Love, Secrets And Absolution’ (ISBN-13: 978-1999829407) was ready for publication I was so satisfied with her work that I agreed to her publishing it for me under the imprint of ‘Globeflower books’.
As with the subject matter of my debut novel, I chose a topic that was very much in the public arena. Over the past decade, there has been increasing awareness of children’s mental health issues. This has not always been so. With this in mind, I ventured to create a fictitious family who would portray some of the struggles that families and individuals suffered when certain conditions are not recognised or understood.
This was a difficult novel to write due to the structure. I would describe it as a coming of age story with a difference. The reader first meets Alfie the protagonist before he is born. I guess that sounds strange and to be honest it was a risk on my part. I felt this was a risk worth taking, so the reader begins to get a clear understanding that it was nature as opposed to nurture that shaped Alfie’s life.
The title Love, Secrets and Absolution describes the love between mother and child.
The secrets and how difficult it can be for a young child to keep them.
Absolution, Will anyone find closure?
Also available from Amazon and other book outlets. Available as a paperback and EBook.
What I found the hardest.
It takes a lot of nerve to get from an idea to a novel. It is important to keep believing in your book and the ability to complete it. Writing can be a solitary pastime and a time for reflection. With the exception of celebrity writers, most authors like me, are not comfortable performing. It was the public appearances, no matter how small a gathering that I found daunting. However early on I realised that in our world of fierce competition one needs to be seen as well as heard.
I had a steep learning curve when it came to the world of marketing and quickly needed to learn new skills.
Do you have a special place to write?
My special place is on our narrowboat, although when I am overflowing with ideas I can quite easily write anywhere. For example, while travelling on the train I carry my notebook and can often be seen making notes. In addition, I have an office overlooking our beautiful garden where I witness the changing seasons and gain inspiration.
How much of the storyline is connected to your own life?
I am often asked this question and given the nature of the issues with Alice in my first book. The answer is thankfully not much. That does not mean that I have not used and exaggerated some of my own life experiences and observations. Some of the conversations I have taken from life and put into the mouths of my fictional characters.
What next for K L Loveley?
Having completed my third book titled ‘Union Blues’ I am now in the process of editing and making plans for publication which will hopefully be early next year.