Friday, 15 September 2017

Journey to Publication! - Isabella May

Ever wanted to become a published author? Today I'm delighted to be joined by my fellow Crooked Cat author Isabella May, who tells me all about her journey to publication! 

The Journey to Publication:

Oh! What a Pavlova

I guess the clues that I would one day become an author have always been there…

As a toddler I’d sit for hours on the potty with a pile of books at my feet, refusing to move until I had ‘read’ through them all, Mum dragging me off in the end to stop the ring on my bottom getting any redder or larger!

I have been scribbling and verbalizing in one way or another for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would invent stories (along with my little sister) about people we knew… as well as fictional characters - Worzel Gummidge, Aunt Sally and Emu to name a few. They would usually trail behind us in our hire car, chasing us through the mountains on holidays in Portugal and Cyprus – I know; I was a little bit ‘kooky’ to say the least! 

And when I wasn’t doing that I was penning equally random and daft tales about the neighbours on our street, together with very amateur felt-tip illustrations. Thankfully my story-telling abilities have moved up several notches, even if my artistry hasn’t.

When it came to reading, I wouldn’t say I was as book-wormish as some of my friends. I adored Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers. I wished (oh, I wished!) that I went to that boarding school where everything seemed to be fun and games. I must have got into reading those stories when I’d just started high school, and they offered up a safe haven of contrast to the school bullies who made it their daily mission to become my shadow at the time. Shortly before that, at primary school, I was in love with the busy madcap world of Richard Scarry. The illustrations captivated me, transporting me to another fun world full of endless possibilities.

But eventually, when writing is the path you just have to get back on, it will sneak up on you when you least expect it. The universe will drop hints like that. 

Marriage and children came along, but even before then, I had started to toy with the idea of a novel. I had a burning desire to write about domestic violence (something I had encountered in a former relationship), but I had a desire to write about it very differently, to dispel the misconception that an abusive relationship is abusive all the time: it is not. I also wanted to portray a very honest picture of the way D.V can splinter the victim’s life. Quite often they are leading a double life, their outer façade so astonishingly different to the unthinkable acts they are tolerating behind closed doors. Ultimately though, I wanted to create a story with a message of empowerment for any woman or man who is currently feeling anything but strong.

That’s why ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ contains so many diverse subjects, and it’s why it mixes satire with a more serious subject. Laughter can play a very important role when it comes to devising a coping mechanism.

And yet, putting all of these ideas to one side, there was still a literary mountain to climb. It was around this time (and a couple of years after the stillbirth of my second child, a tragedy you never quite get over as a parent), that I stumbled across a little something called the Law of Attraction.

Perhaps it sounds clichéd to say it, but suddenly many things in my life started to make sense, and so many opportunities ‘just happened’ to come my way. Things like… two writers’ groups starting up a few miles either side of my house. I met with a super talented author who was about to put on a six week course. I met two other writers with whom an online magazine was formed (The Glass House Girls – Now my writing skills were really starting to enable me to polish up the manuscript that was once a very rough diamond! I shall forever be thankful for it.

And so here I am. ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ was given a final polish last year. I began subbing her out in November. In March I was signing my very first publishing contract.

‘Pavlova’ is a tale of cake meets domestic violence, travel, spirituality, comedy, and a bid for freedom in the arms of many an unsuitable man… all set against the backdrop of the weird and wonderful characters of the publishing industry. It also features Glastonbury, a town I have long believed is totally under-represented when it comes to fiction! 

Crooked Cat Books ‘got it’ immediately and signed me up. They truly are the perfect publishing home for a writer like me, for they champion a multitude of authors who cross genres, touching on a number of important subjects, celebrating fabulous fiction in all its guises. Our author community is super supportive and I feel very blessed! The universe definitely delivered.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

Twitter - @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram - @isabella_may_author

Oh! What a Pavlova

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

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