What inspired you to write your first book?
I was working for an IT company and had set up my own company called Real Life Solutions and I was selling sperm count tests and ovulation tests. What I discovered was that people kept asking the same questions about their health and wellbeing and how their bodies actually worked. I started by writing articles and these then became two books. Natural Family Planning Solutions and Seven Weeks to a New You.
A little later when I set up my marketing and personal branding consultancy, I wrote three more books which I sold as PDF’s. Marketing for Small Businesses, The Marketing Audit Workbook and The Personal Branding Workbook. Again all inspired by questions that I was being asked.
What is the title of your latest book?
What is it about?
Writing to Heal is a book about how the power of words can help you to heal. It takes you on a journey through journaling, reflecting and on into creative life writing. By changing your story you can change your life.
Dancing with Dark Angels (available from 6th April) is my cathartic journey. I have struggled with writing my story for all of the same reasons as many other authors, but I knew the time was right and so this is my tale of living with dark angels dancing in my head, why and how I would continually self destruct and the journey through those times. I cried a lot writing it and mum and I laughed at lot when we reminisced.
Who is your target audience?
Both books are aimed at people who have been struggling with moving on through troubled times. It is for those people who have decided that NOW is the time to take control, no matter how tough it will be to face their demons or dance with their devils, NOW is the time to put pen to paper and share their stories first with themselves, and then with others, so that they too may heal.
How did you come up with the title?
They both just came to me.
What were (or are) the challenges in bringing it to life?
Writing to Heal evolved from my coaching and training work, which meant that I had a lot of material to work with. The challenge was to get it into the right order.
Dancing with Dark Angels just made me cry. I had to face my deepest fears and even now my heart beats really fast when I think about my life and how I did so many silly things.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No and yes. I would keep the same content, but I would be firmer with my writing schedule and put more boundaries around my time.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
People! I work from home and despite my very best calm efforts in explaining that I needed me time and if my fingers were on the keyboard or pen on my journal it meant I was working, I was constantly interrupted. I will admit to you, but please don’t breathe a word, I did on many occasions lose my temper and once I put a very rude sign on my office door. Ferdy dog I can forgive as he can’t read, the rest well…
What did you learn from writing your book?
Writing really does heal. Of course I knew that before I started, but now whilst it is all fresh in my mind I can see very clearly why I am so driven and I have to remind myself to slow it down. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The other thing that I have learnt is my writing style, which sounds silly, writing a how to book and a memoir are very different and now as I move onto writing my first novel, I can see how my writing has progressed. I am learning all the time. Words, language and the construction of stories is fascinating.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Please, please have faith, just do it. Trust the process. Work with others who will keep you on track and accountable. Critique is not the same as criticism, accept all of the feedback it will make your book a better book. Plan it all out, write to your outline and keep the questions you are answering somewhere visible.
What do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?
Walking my dog. Writing seems to consume so much of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have promised myself more time for creative projects.
About Jacqui Malpass