At the start of 2015, my world was getting smaller as the depression I was experiencing was causing me to isolate myself. The big problem was in late February my novel, The Single Feather was being released. How do I promote a book when I’m fearful of leaving my home? The answer soon became clear, other people, through their friendship and actions supported me, and that is why today, I want to say thank you.
I want to say thank you to http://www.writingclasses.co.uk Author, Marianne Wheelaghan and Pilrig Press, for believing in me, and the book. My beta readers, Tom Gold, and Louisa Jones who both were extremely helpful. My editor Anne Hamilton, for giving me a masterclass in writing every time we communicated. My two friends who are also authors Kendra Olson, and Katrina Hart for support and encouragement.
Thank you to the following who all helped tremendously when the novel was released
Jacquiline Grima, Humanity Hallows, Sonya Alford, Hayley (Rather Too Fond of Books), Naomi Frisby, Amanda Saint, Rosie Claverton, Jane Issac, Rebecca Bradley, Alison Drew, Helen MacKinven, Liz Barnsley, Englantie Editing, Aquinas English Dept,Anthony Trevelyan, Rick Burgess, Russ Gascoigne, Linda Gask, Leo X Robertson, Mike Robbins, Paul Howsley and Rupert Dreyfus. There are lots more people I could mention, but for space, and the limits of this post, I’ve had to leave it at this point…
I had articles in the local press, and had been on the two main Radio Stations in my area, I had also been at Book signings at Sally Bee’s, Broadhursts Bookshop in Southport, The Olde Book Shop, Formby, Pritchards Bookshop in Crosby and News from Nowhere in Liverpool. Thank you to all those bookshops, radio stations and press. I also appeared in some disability newspapers, and a brief appearance in Mslexia along with The Writing Magazine.
Then out of the blue, I was invited by the BBC (BBC Ouch) to go to London to record a podcast with them, to talk about the book and the writing site for disabled http://thesinglefeather.com
Thank you also to Sefton Library Service for arranging talks, and to the other book groups, in particular those in Maghull and Southport.
Meanwhile, the book was continuing to make ripples, and some very lovely friends appeared who all had a connection with The Single Feather and who all made the year so much more bearable. These are the Feather Girls – Anne Babbs, author, Annie Watkinson, Rachel Whitechurch and Alison Drew. Special mention to Lesley and Chris Marshall who came along to support me at more one signing. You all made 2015 what it is!
I did worry nobody would ‘get’ The Single Feather, and I would get very few reviews, at the moment that figure is 53, with some reviews on Amazon.com as well. The book has been in the top 100 on Amazon, and I am continuing to meet people who say the book has helped them personally. To all those who’ve sent letters and cards, left reviews, and all those who’ve read the novel, thank you!
There has been also a lot of activity on Goodreads, so again, thank you all for reading and leaving such wonderful reviews.
As I was having a break from novel writing, I went back to one of my first loves which is article writing. Thank you to The Morning Star and thank you to Jayson Carmichael, Nick Dilworth, author,Linda Gask, and authors, Paul Howsley, Rupert Dreyfus, and Tara Lighten Msiska for providing some superb material
I also had the chance to interview six talented writers who all had a connection to the OU for the Open University Student Magazine. The authors/writers were: Jacqueline Grima, Louise Walters, Carys Bray Nick Quantrill, Janet O’Kane, and Amanda Saint.
I managed to fit in visits to Edinburgh Book Festival, where it was a delight to see my novel proudly displayed at the Edinburgh Books Fest Bookshop, and to meet Anne Hamilton and Marianne Wheelaghan for a coffee. I also went to one session at Ilkley Books Festival, which was a rather magical evening.
Keeping me company on Twitter and Facebook were a wide group of people, but special mention to Vicky Newham, Janet O’Kane Chris Marshall, Belinda Pollard, Wendy Clarke, Sarah Blohm, Anne Coates and Cath Bore, who have been all very supportive.
I passed my first O.U. exam for ages, and found out that I could count a previous course at Level 3 in with this degree, thereby shaving off an academic year of study (at Level 3). I could in theory finish my (second) degree by the summer of 2017.
Special mention to Paul Simon, who not only reviewed The Single Feather in The Morning Star, but followed it up with an article about the background to the book. As a lovely early Christmas Present, he has named The Single Feather as one of his best books of the year!!
My mood still is low, but when I look back at 2015 I see friends have all helped tremendously. When thinking about this blog post, I realized this too is the message of The Single Feather, without the acceptance of those in her community Rachel’s time in Carthom would be much more difficult. So here’s to friends, friendship and to 2016