I believe that writing is just as good – if not better – than any therapy I’ve ever received, and I’ve had my share of therapy over the years. I’ve seen counsellors mostly for the hard stuff, like the death of my mother, dealing with family trauma, separating from my husband, etc…
But weaving these traumas can be useful for writing.
When you hand your pain over to a character, you can let all that anger, grief, denial, etc free. It can feel like a weight has been lifted.
I read a novel recently titled THE LAST LOVE NOTE by Emma Grey. She writes beautifully about grief. As I was reading the novel, my own novel, THE DECISIONS WE MAKE, resurfaced in my mind. I, too, write about grief, writing about the loss of family members in all forms, and how it affects those left behind. I’ve woven this into a couple of my novels now because I’ve learned that grief is different for everyone, and writing about it can help you understand and empathise with others.
It took me a while to recognise that I weave my personal traumas into my writing.
When writing my first novel, BENEATH THE SURFACE, I wrote about one of my own traumatic experiences without realising I was doing it. I couldn’t understand why I felt so heavy as I typed out the words. I felt distraught and, ultimately, depressed. I was writing about a parental relationship, and while the main storyline wasn’t mine, some of the emotional elements were. I used my own experiences to bring out what the character was feeling – love and attachment, but also guilt, shame, and helplessness. And, ultimately, the overwhelming feeling to flee.
In another novel, I wrote about not only my own empty nest, but also my mother’s experience of having her last (*favourite*) child leave home.
The year after I moved away, my mother took an English class at the local high school. In one of her assignments, she wrote a letter to me about how she was feeling my absence. She wrote about the empty cork board in my bedroom being a reflection of her heart, when it was filled with images of Tom Cruise, pinned concert tickets, sketches I’d drawn, and dream lists. She wrote about my stuffed animals sitting on the bed, they’re longing for a hug. She wrote about her sadness of childhood days gone by, as I was her last to leave home. And she wrote of her dreams for me. I found the assignment after she died. (She got an A, by the way.)
When my own daughter left home to go to university, I was sad that her childhood was over, but I was happy for her too. She had a bright future and I was relieved to know her rollercoaster childhood would be behind her. But, I was different from my own mother in how I dealt with the empty nest. As she began her new chapter, so did I, donating all but the sentimental, then packing the car to travel full time.
All of this was useful for a storyline.
People often ask me if I’m just fictionalising my own story.
When writing my latest novel, a friend asked me if I realised I’d written my own childhood abandonment into the storyline. She is an early reader, one I have used and trusted over the years. By the time she pointed it out, I had already knew what was happening, and I was using it to my advantage. But what I didn’t realise – and what she pointed out – was the antagonist was based on a family member. (After the character was much easier to write! LOL!)
I had a friend once say to me: “Girl, you need to write this shit down, because no one is going to believe it’s true anyway.” There’s that. I have had an interesting life so far, with a lot of ‘plot twists’. And, in truth, there has been lot of my story in my novels. But they are all fiction. At least the main elements are.
But I have encompassed things from my own life. Things like: Looking for what’s next, after a divorce. Giving a voice to a relation’s abusive marriage. Gaslighting. Questioning whether to have a baby. Questioning the doctrines of a religion. Emotional trauma from parental figures. Dealing with a colleague’s DUI while on a business trip, only for an advancement in their career shortly after (w-w-what?! How?!). Depression. Asking yourself if your marriage can be saved, if only you looked at it from a different perspective. Sexual harassment. Tapping into one’s creative self. Breaking away from judgements of society. Living in a city and feeling alone. Abandonment by family members. Moral bankruptcy of family members. Suicide. The list goes on.
All of it is great fodder for a novel – or ten.
I mean, why wouldn’t you use your own experiences?
“They” say, write what you know, after all. And, as I do that, the less heartache I feel and the more healed I am.
Some dream of a house in the suburbs, a reliable car to drive, a dog in the backyard, and kids to cart off to soccer practice each week. Others dream of travelling the world for as long as they can. Both are great dreams to have. I’ve been fortunate to have lived both. (Or at least a version thereof.)
What does your dream life look like? Everyone’s dreams are different.
It’s doesn’t matter what your dream is, it’s what makes you happy that’s key.
What makes your heart sing?
Someone asked me that question many years ago, and it’s something stuck with me. What lights you up when you talk about it? What makes your heart sing? Truth be known, it took me a while to figure the answer out.
Twenty years ago, I owned a cute, blue two-storey house with a white picket fence. I knew my neighbours. I knew my daughter’s teachers well enough that when we saw each other at the supermarket, we’d stop for a chat. I took my daughter to soccer practice every Thursday afternoon in preparation for her Saturday morning games. I had a car I loved to drive, and I earned a decent income from my job.
Over time, I upgraded the house, the car, the neighbourhood, and the job. At work, I’d gained a reputation of being “committed, logical, organized and extremely hard working…(performing) at a very high standard, producing exceptional work.”
And yet, I was absolutely miserable. Why?
Because I lost who I was.
My life had become what most would consider a ‘normal life’.
But whenever I paid the mortgage, I felt ill. It was way more than I ever expected to pay for a house. When Christmas came around and overabundance was expected (“because that’s what you do” or “because <x> was on sale”), the number of gifts under the tree made me feel ill. When it came time to open them, we never had time to acknowledge the gift, let alone have a good look at the gift being given. We simply moved on to the next, otherwise it would have taken all day to open the pile.
I refused to do it anymore. I wanted more for my life.
I knew there was more to life than material possessions.
There were also some ‘ah-ha’ moments that made me wake up and face reality, but when the universe is throwing example after example at you, at some point you need to listen, right?!
So, I shifted gears and thought about what needed to change. Then I started planning.
I went from suburban soccer mum to photographer. Then world travel blogger to indie author.
I knew I had to take the leap when I left my corporate job in 2011. My mental health suffered, and I needed to do it for my physical and spiritual health too.
Finding the way to becoming an author took over ten years, and getting there was not easy.
Photography was the first gig I explored. I photographed a few weddings and events over the first year. Mainly I sold my photography at local art festivals and markets. I still love taking photos. But packing up the car at dark-thirty every Saturday morning, spending two hours setting up, only to endure the sweltering Texas heat for very little in return… well, it got old, fast.
I moved away from the place I was no longer happy.
When I first visited Austin, Texas in 1992, I loved it. My first experience with southern hospitality came that first morning during breakfast at Denny’s.
Here was the scenario: I was sitting in the restaurant booth, and a waitress approached our table. Her hair was up in a bouffant style. She wore frosted pink lipstick, and she wore an apron with a name tag. Her name could have been Alice or Fern. I really don’t remember. But as she approached our table, her smile beamed. Then, with pen poised above her notepad, she said in that syrupy southern drawl: “Hi. How y’all doing? What can I get you?”
It was like something out of a movie set, I kid you not.
I was hooked. Everything about Austin drew me in. Without hesitation, I moved from California a week later when my then-husband was offered a job. The plan was to stay 5 years, which somehow turned into 20.
If you’ve ever lived in one place for 20 years, you may understand that it can grow very stale. It’s especially vapid if you are living a life you don’t believe in anymore, and in a situation where you have no choice but to stay. That was my life.
When the opportunity came knocking to move home to Australia, we jumped at the chance. My family were all excited by the change. To be honest, I was the last one to get on board with the plan. What can I say, I worry!
Moving was easy compared to travel blogging.
We moved to Australia in 2013. For a long time, I dreamed of traveling full time and with our big move, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to think about making the dream a reality. With our daughter graduating at the end of 2016, we began to plan. To ready us for a nomadic life, I started a travel blog. I initially wrote about Sydney and our travels getting (re)acquainted with Australia.
While travel writing sounds glamorous, it takes tremendous effort to make it look magical. The business didn’t sustain our travels, but it did offer us some great opportunities. The challenge was to stay in love with travelling, and not constantly look at it through a business lens. Sadly, that happened by the end of 2018 for me.
After travelling full time for almost three years, I reassessed again what I loved doing.
By mid-2019, we were tired of living out of a suitcase and felt we needed a base. I knew by then that writing books was in my future. COVID hitting in early 2020 made the decision clear. Travel blogging was going to get a lot tougher, so I retired my website and business, Travel Far Enough.
By that stage, Camino Wandering was drafted. I had a second manuscript drafted as well, Beneath the Surface, which I started writing in 2016. While I walked the Camino in 2018, I had an editor look at the Beneath the Surface. I knew by the end of that year that the book needed serious rewriting, which is why that book was published in 2021.
Thus began my author career.
How could I afford to do all this?
It’s a question I’ve been asked many times. How could I give up a well-paying job to travel the world for three years, then settle in Tasmania to write books?
Here is my answer (yep, bullet pointed because it’s not a straightforward response):
Before we moved to Australia in 2013, we sold most of our worldly possessions in Texas. That included our house, two cars, our white goods, and most of the furniture.
When we left Sydney in 2017 to travel full time, we donated everything we had left to a family who’d lost everything in a devastating bushfire. Watching that moving truck drive away was cathartic. All we had left after that were the sentimental items, plus things we’d need if ever we stopped travelling. Those we put in storage. At the beginning of 2017, we had no intention of stopping. But in 2019, burnout and the need to base ourselves somewhere had us finding a place to rent. Which brought us to the east coast of Tasmania in mid-2019. (Good thing too!)
We invested wisely while we had decent-paying jobs. I worked for Apple for almost 20 years. My husband worked there for almost 11. We both had the opportunity to buy Apple stock at an employee’s discount, and since we started investing, the stock has split several times.
I work damn hard as a writer, working six days a week. I focus a lot of my energies on marketing and promotion because, without that, people wouldn’t know I have books published. Since I began in 2020, I’ve developed a loyal following.
I have worked as a freelance writer, a professional photographer, and have travelled to some amazing places thanks to some unique sponsorships in each place.
While travelling full time, we worked as house sitters, which kept the expenses down. Many of our favourite housesits have invited us back.
We live minimally, buying only what we need. We buy quality when we can, but also shop at op shops, consignment stores, or discount retailers. We make lists and stick to them. I can’t remember buying something simply because I wanted it. I’d rather invest in people and experiences.
We’re driven to live with our goals in mind.
I ask you: what makes your heart sing?
Making such changes has been scary. It’s still scary. I’m kind of surprised by the decisions I’ve made for my life. But I feel like I’ve lived my life fully. Did I question the decisions? Of course. That whole idea of “what if I fail?” went through my head many times. But it was quickly replaced by: “But what if I succeed”?
When I took the leap to leave my corporate job in 2011, I gave myself a year to find my footing. It took a bit longer than that, but I was on a good path by then. They say that you need one month for every year you work in at a company, to get it out of your system. That was true for me. It took me about 19 months to move on from feeling like an Apple employee.
But years later, I would do it all over again. Maybe even sooner, because now I’m living the life I always imagined. Life is simple. Less stressful with fewer obligations and no reason to live up to societal norms. I set my own schedule and my own deadlines. I decide who I want in my life and who I don’t. I have an unconventional life and you know what? That’s okay. Because I know I have worked hard to get here.
And you can too. Look inside. Find that thing that lights you up. You won’t regret it, even if it is a bit bumpy along the way.
CAMINO WANDERING did not start out to be a fiction novel. It was originally intended to be a memoir of my own Camino wanders. I walked 800km from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela, solo in 2018. Then I walked the same path again the following year, this time with my husband. (Hence why my husband calls me, lovingly, a Camino Tragic.)
After writing my memoir, some ninety thousand words, I realised quickly that it was a boredom fest. Even I was bored by it. I mulled it over a while, thinking about how I write about this life-changing experience and have it not only be interesting but something people would enjoy.
Then it came to me. Almost everyone who has walked the Camino has seen the Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie, THE WAY. The movie is even a hot topic on many Camino focused Facebook pages. And, after watching it again myself for the hundredth time, I realised if people watch and admire that movie, which is a fictional tale, then maybe a fiction novel set on the Camino Francés was not a crackpot idea after all.
So, I sat back down, took some of my own experiences – the stories and places that stuck with me – and created robust characters and wove together a fictional tale.
Publishing it was a whole other endeavour.
Most books about the Camino are published either by a religion-based publishing company, since it’s traditionally a religious pilgrimage, or the books are self-published.
With CAMINO WANDERING, one of my characters questions the doctrines of the Catholic Church because of her own experiences. Plus, there is swearing throughout the book (realistic for anyone who walks it, in my opinion). Because of those two reasons, I knew a religious publisher would not go near the book. Add in, I’m a bit of a control freak, so self-publishing seemed to fit well for me. So, there you have it. That’s how my self-publishing journey began and how I saved the world from another boring memoir!
Have you heard of the Camino de Santiago? Have you walked a route to Santiago, or plan to?
My writing journey has been slightly different to most. I like to think of myself as a bit of a crackpot writer (hence the name of my website), but once I explain this, you may understand why.
In 2016, I was working as a travel blogger, building an audience for when my husband and I would hit the road and travel full time in 2017. But one morning, I woke from a dream so vivid, I couldn’t ignore it. I thought, ‘Wow! That would make for a great scene in a novel!’ And so, I grabbed some coffee and headed downstairs to my home office to write.
Eighteen hours later, I was still writing.
That dream was the start of BENEATH THE SURFACE. Thankfully, my husband kept me ‘fed and watered’ during those eighteen hours because somehow, I couldn’t stop writing.
I didn’t publish BENEATH THE SURFACE until 2021, and that scene never made it into the published version. The book started as a romance novel, but in the end, I dug deep and took it in a whole other direction. I also realised then that I really wasn’t a fan of ‘white knights’ coming to save the day of the damsel in distress. She could save herself, thank you very much. She just had to find her confidence first.
Since then, I’ve been ultra-aware of my dreams. A lot of time, while I’m deep into the drafting process, I’ll often have my characters ‘chat to me’ in that period between asleep and awake. In fact, the twist in BENEATH THE SURFACE came through in a dream, and I also thought it fitting to use dreams as an element in the novel as well.
When I was young, maybe 7 or 8 years old, we had a family friend, who I absolutely idolized. She was older, about 13, with long, dark, curly hair and full lips. Even though I was beautifully innocent at that age, I thought this girl was it. She wrote love stories on her typewriter and because of that fact alone, she was the most amazing person ever I’d ever met. She was a writer! And when she was done writing her beautiful stories, she would let me read her stories. I thought they were the most wonderful things I’d ever read.
To this day, I could not tell you her name. She shattered the bubble one day when I showed her a story I had written. Remember, I was still just a baby. My stories were sweet and simple. I was so proud of my story. This girl’s feedback horrified me. She ripped the paper in long strips, my heart feeling every tear, as she cackled at how lame it was. This girl was a nasty piece of work who was clearly in the category of ‘mean girl’. Her words scarred me while her disregard haunted me. It’s no wonder I don’t remember her name.
The idea of being a writer at that point was my dream. Something I thought I would someday do. I didn’t let the mean girl get in my way. I persevered. My parents eventually gave me a typewriter for Christmas and, now that I’ve been a parent to a writer, I know I probably drove them bat-shit crazy with the tap-a-tap-tap as I cranked out those stories.
The mean girl was right in a way. My writing was not good as a kid. But, no matter how bad I was, the idea stuck in my head that one day, someday, I was going to be a writer.
It may have taken 50 years, but here I am. I’m finally doing it. I can finally say I’m a writer.
Being a writer is not what I imagined it to be. Not in the way that little girl dreamed anyway. The process is not as simple as sitting down and writing a nice little story. It’s damn hard. I’ve taken course after course, banging my head against the wall, trying to piece together the elements of writing over and over. (It’s possible that bitchy teenager hit me in the head with her typewriter to accentuate her point.)
Things like point of view, dialogue, setting etc eventually stuck. Now I’m the writer who, when reading a book for pleasure, will notice slip-ups the author has made. You know, stuff their editor didn’t catch. It’s annoying as hell once that pandora’s box is open, let me tell you. I’m sure I’ve driving my husband insane with the comments I make when shows drop obvious clues (to me) in mysteries or when the timelines aren’t correct.
But getting back to my writing, as I do have a point here.
When I finally wrote a book, it came with an interesting story: It came to me in a dream. I woke up thinking ‘wow, that would make a great scene for a book. I should write that one down.’ And I did. I was still writing 18 hours later. (My husband saw the drive in me and kept bringing me food and drinks. He’s a supportive one. A good egg.)
That was in 2014.
I took myself on self-writing retreats to get the book finished. One time I went to an old stomping ground, because it got me back in touch with the girl within, so I could finish it. I rented a cabin at the beach and, in the morning when I was due to check out, I went to the office to ask if I could extend the stay one more night. I explained I was so damn close to finishing the draft of my book, I thought I could do it with just one more day. They told me they would give me the cabin for free for the night, if I finished the book. And I did!
When that novel was finished, the first draft sat at 82k words. I had it professionally edited. Not a cheap thing to do, but necessary. My then editor told me it was “an impressive coming-of-age novel (with)… great location details, terrifically relatable characters…The mystery at the heart of who she is compelling, and the twist is heart-stopping. You should be very proud of this.”
Writing it was one thing. Publishing it was another. I was scared of that next step. (You can read about my publishing path here.)What if I failed? What if the book was shit? What if the editor was just being nice to me because she had seen how far I’d come, since I took her writing class many moons ago? What if that mean girl was right?!
The biggest fear – and one that remains even today. What if I publish the book (or books) and no books sell?
The thing is, no matter how many books I publish, hitting publish is still one of the scariest things I now do. It puts my heart into my throat every single time.
I have written about depression in some of my novels, because depression is all around us. The pain of depression is profound and it affects differently. I can’t begin to describe how horrible it is when a family member or friend takes their own life, either directly or indirectly. It’s something that stays with you forever.
Here is my truth:
❗I battled serious depression when my first husband left our marriage, three weeks after our daughter was born.
❗I battled serious depression again, falling into bad decisions, when my mother died when I was in my early thirties.
❗I had what was once referred to as a ‘mental breakdown’ when my stepfather and father-in-law died within three months of each other.
❗My step-father, a Vietnam Veteran, had a severe case of PTSD, exasperated by a traumatic personal event in his life that occurred around the same time. He lived with depression every day I knew him (since I was four).
❗My mother died of cancer when she was 56. I believe depression played a major factor in accelerating her cancer. (Try living with an alcoholic with severe PTSD and depression and see how you do.)
❗My stepsister committed suicide when I was sixteen. I’ve been told that she most likely suffered from an undiagnosed and severe case of bi-polar disorder.
❗I have had work colleagues who have committed suicide. Deaths that seemed preventable.
Here’s the reality: Depression is all around us.
I struggled when my (now) ex-husband left. I had friends I could talk to, but I also saw a therapist. Not many of my friends could understand the position I was. Hell, I couldn’t even understand the position I was in!
When I joined my (ex) husband for what I believed to be marriage counselling, the counsellor spoke to both of us, then my (ex) husband, then lastly, me. As soon as I sat down for that final piece, the counsellor said to me: “Now this is off the record, but I must ask: Did you slap him upside the head when he said he was going to leave you with a newborn? Because I sure would have! The boy – and he is a boy – wants his cake and eat it too. Someone who does that to the mother of his child, to his wife of nearly ten years, is not worth sticking around for.” My (ex) husband gave me a ‘break up’ letter in the parking garage after that appointment. So, you can imagine how I spiralled afterwards.
When my mother died two years later, I spoke to a different therapist. I wanted to know if I was going crazy. Seriously. I was having a lot of confusing thoughts about my marriage. I also had a lot of anger toward my family around how my mother died, and what happened around her funeral. I was making really poor decisions. I was a serious mess. The therapist told me, quite simply, that I was grieving and “if people couldn’t see that, they could go jump in a lake”. Not quite the advice I needed to hear, but it made me realise I was going to be okay eventually.
Those few years were the worst of my life. Therapy helped. So did amazing friends who checked in on me. What I didn’t know then (hindsight and all), was my mother’s death was the demise of my family unit in Australia. My mother had been the glue. I felt isolated and alone. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
So why do we always wear a mask to hide our depression?
It’s easy to wear a mask to hide depression – even just to hide our differences. Society struggles with different. We all want to portray the best of ourselves. It’s human nature. We don’t want to look like a failure because it seems too exposing. Let’s face it, it’s easy to show the world the best of ourselves. It’s harder to show the real story.
Perfection is a myth created by 1950’s television shows. It does not exist.
It’s our differences that define us. It shows who we really are. How strong we are. What we are capable of. We humans are astonishingly beings and, even though we are all different, we’re also all the same. We all suffer from down days. Many suffer from depression. Most are afraid to show their unvarnished self.
My Mum used to have a saying when she went out in public. How she needed to put her ‘face’ on. Yet my mother was beautiful. She had gorgeous skin and sparkling eyes. When she was happy, she radiated sunshine. But I also knew of her struggles and felt her pain deeply. She felt more comfortable wearing the mask and not sharing her pain with the world. I wish she had. When she struggled, we tried to help her. But she didn’t want to look like a failure, or to look weak.
I hope times have changed since then.
We need to do better. Here’s how.
We need to reveal our true selves. It’s time to shed the mask
and share how different we are, to celebrate our quirks but also not hide our pain.
Let’s be honest: ‘Thoughts and prayers’ are bullshit.
To help someone, you need to be there for them. Listen. Ask questions. Actions speak louder than words ever did. If you see someone struggling, offer a way to ease their day. Don’t bully them if they’re not acting as you would expect, or how to feel. Certainly don’t tell them what they are feeling is wrong! Everyone reacts, grieves, and deals differently in different situations. All we can do is be there.
Take the time to ask those in your life if they are okay. Do something that will make them feel special. Do something that shows you care. Show them some way that you are there for them. Be their person. If they don’t seem quite right, talk to them directly about it. Most importantly, listen.
Knowing someone is listening makes all the difference. I know it did for me.
Why am I talking about depression?
Why am I, as an author, talking about a topic so serious? Because I write about mental health and societal issues in my novels. I don’t write fluffy feel-good novels. I think it’s time these things are talked about. We need to normalise these topics in every day conversations.
The short answer to that question is: No, we don’t get paid when readers buy second hand books.
So how do I feel about it? Hmm… that’s a complicated answer.
As an author: I cringe. The work an author puts into their novel isn’t rewarded when people buy books this way.
As a reader: These places are a great place to find new authors. But when I buy a book through a second-hand bookshop or a charity shop – and I do – I always post a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon afterwards. I do this because any review, good or bad, helps the author gain traction through the sales channels they use. As the old adage goes, ‘Any publicity is better than nothing at all.’
We want to support the charity selling the book, but we want to keep food on our own table too.
So how do authors get paid?
Royalities – Traditionally Published
For those who publish through the larger publishers like Simon and Schuster, Little, Brown and Co., Harper Collins, etc, it is a long and arduous process. Authors have to first submit their manuscripts through a literary agent, who then pitches the manuscript to publishers.
When a publisher accepts the contract, which may take months or even years, the contract may or may not include an advance. The publisher determines how many copies will be printed based on how many copies they believe will sell. New authors may not receive an advance at all and, if they do, it may only be a few hundred dollars. Famous authors, such as Nora Roberts and Kristen Hannah, may receive five, six, sometimes seven figure advances. An advance is not free money, but rather money that is earned. The author does not receive any additional royalties until the amount of the advance is reached.
With the traditional route, an author’s royalties will be anywhere from 5-10% of the recommended retail price of the book. And that royalty may depend on where the book is sold. Some contracts may stipulate lower royalties for discount markets (like Walmart or Big W) and a higher royalty for high-end bookshops (like Barnes and Noble or indie bookshops). The author may receive their royalty cheque once a quarter or it may be once a year, depending again on the contract terms.
The traditional publisher owns the rights of the book for the contracted period of time, which may be three to five years.
Royalities – Hybrid Published
It’s still a long process for Hybrid publishers, but the author pays the publisher money up front to publish their novel. Yes, you read that correctly. The AUTHOR pays the PUBLISHER to publish their book. The publisher owns the rights of the book for anywhere between one to five years, and the author doesn’t get paid until after a six-month holding period when the book is published. Royalty payments from there vary. They may arrive quarterly. They may be annually. It’s all dependent on the hybrid publisher.
Do you see the red flags with the Hybrid model? I do. My advice? Run. Run away as fast as you can from a Hybrid publisher. An author should never pay what can be thousands of dollars to have their book published.
If you’re tempted to go the Hybrid route because it’s ‘easier’ and find yourself too nervous to take a different route, I urge you to do more research. I’ve heard of authors paying thousands of dollars to a hybrid publisher only to find themselves ghosted, wondering where it all went so wrong If self-publishing is attractive to you, there is information everywhere on self-publishing and it’s really not as daunting as it seems.
Which brings me to…
Royalities – Self-Published
This is my area of expertise.
Self-published authors do not get advances. They manage all parts of the publishing process themselves which is one of the main reasons authors like to self-publish. They keep control of their book, as well as the rights. Self-published authors receive royalties on a monthly basis, with a delay of about three months on the sale. eBooks bring in more royalties than print books, so you may find a lot of self-published authors only offer that format. (Did you know you can buy eBook formats of my published novels, directly from my website?)
Most self-published authors will publish on Amazon via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) at a minimum. It’s by far the most accessible for most writers. But if authors want to sell their books in bookshops, they need to go through a distributor like IngramSpark. There are are other distributors, depending on locale, but IngramSpark is the largest distributor in the world, and the one most bookshops purchase through.
Yes, the royalties are higher than Hybrid and Traditional publishers, as there is no middleman, but this is where I burst the bubble. The amount self-published authors receive is not significantly more, especially since printing and distribution costs have dramatically increased over the last few years. As much as we would love to increase the price of our books to cover these increased costs, that puts us out of market range. The printing and distribution costs make up the majority of the fixed expenses we incur, but there are other costs to factor in: editing, proofreading, cover design, copywriting, typesetting, marketing, advertising, and publicity. You don’t want to know what I make on an hourly basis right now.
Other ways authors make money
Because we can’t rely solely on book sales as our only means of income, authors have to get creative in other ways.
Libraries buy the copies of books to put on their shelves. They do not get these for free. The books are purchased either from local bookshops, or through distributors. Authors can get paid when you borrow a novel from the library IF the author signed up to receive this payment (it’s not automatic). These payments are paid to the author and publisher annually.
There are two very important points to be made here – and this is where you can help.
Authors and publishers do not get paid for eBooks or audiobooks, only print books.
Authors (and publishers) are only paid if they have a certain number of books in the library system, and if their book was borrowed a sufficient number of times. That means, if the book you want is not showing in your local library, request they order it in.
Some authors can make money through special events, like writer’s festivals or library tours. This isn’t common, but the more popular authors do get paid appearance fees. The Australian Society of Authors recommend authors get paid over $300 for interviews, over $200 for a panel discussion and almost a $1000 for workshops, but I have not met an author yet in the self-publishing world given this type of respect.
Some authors may create writing classes or host workshops on their own and publicise these in their local communities. There is significant time and effort that go into these, and they aren’t profitable timewise, but if it helps to pay the bills, we will happily share our knowledge. I’ve known a few authors who do this to supplement their income.
The dreaded commission. I have these on my blog because it’s a way to earn a passive income. Any time someone signs up for a writing/publishing/marketing tool like Scrivener,Vellum or StoryOrigin via my website, I get a small commission. But for all of these, we’re talking pennies. Certainly not enough to buy a cup of coffee. Which brings me to…
Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee etc… Services like these give readers a simple way to support their favourite authors to keep them writing.
Some authors offer Patreon to their readers and deliver behind the scenes insight into their writing in exchange for sponsorship.
You’ll see ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ on my webpage as a way for readers to ‘tip the author’ as my blog posts share (hopefully useful) information without making any income from them.
A reality check about how much author’s make.
Last financial year, I sold about 1100 books. I’m hoping to double that number this financial year. But if you break that figure down, factoring in I work six days a week, seven hours a day, I make less minimum wage – AND that doesn’t account for expenses.
I can hear that question screaming in your head: So why do publish books at all?
Here’s the easy answer: Because we LOVE what we do.
How you can help an author:
I am fully aware that buying new books is a privilege, especially considering books in Australia can retail for $30 or more for a paperback. Joining your local library is a great way to save money and discover new authors.
Consider borrowing from your library instead of buying from a second-hand shop. If there’s a book at the second hand/charity shop that you love, one you can’t resist, take the time to write a review of the book afterwards. You can share your thoughts on Amazon or on Goodreads. Goodreads is the largest free website for readers, and you can find some amazing recommendations there. Reviews do not have to be long. Two sentences work just as well as two paragraphs.
Share the book on social media.
Tell a friend or suggest it for a book club.
Buy new books from new authors and borrow the blockbusters.
Sign up for your favourite author’s newsletter. You may receive some special promos, gain information on a new release, or even learn a fun new fact. By having a strong following, this allows the author to gain more credibility with bookstores, as well as with podcasters and magazines etc for interviews.
Pre-order books. Authors do not get paid more for pre-orders. They are set up only to create interest. If the author sells a high number of books before the day of release, that may bump the book up into the best-selling category, which garners more interest.
The more books are seen online (and become popular), the more likely bookshops will order more books. That’s why authors love readers who share the books they read on-line and social media influencers. #Bookstagram is a serious business and if a popular ‘bookstagrammer’ touts our book, that helps increase book sales.
I have been cranking out stories since I was about ten years old. When I was thirteen, I received an old Smith-Corona typewriter for Christmas, which quickly became a gift my dad regretted giving. I used to drive him nuts with the clickity clack of those keys!
Throughout my childhood, in a time without internet or cell phones (I’m aging myself here), I was surrounded by stories. We listed to vinyl records on Saturday mornings while we cleaned the house with Mum. Since my dad was in the Army, we were constantly moving, which meant always making new friends and discovering new places. We spent our days outside with new friends, playing no further than the streetlamp at the end of the street, until Mum yelled to for us to come inside, usually around sunset.
Many years later, when I took a writing class in Sydney in 2016, one of the first questions our instructor asked was what influences your writing? To be honest, the question threw me. I had no clue, nor had I really thought about it. I just wrote down what was in my head. What I learned because of that question, is one of the most important lessons I took from that class.
What has influenced my writing over the years?
The short answer? Everything. Memories. Books. Music. People. Dreams.
Let’s start with books.
I grew up reading Amelia Bedelia and Pippi Longstocking. I loved Amelia Bedelia’s bumbling flaws and beautiful intentions. She was an absolute mess, and I loved that. It was like reading Mary Poppins without the magic and ‘holier than thou’ prissiness. Amelia Bedelia taught me it was okay to fumble your way through, because you got there in the end. If you had a good heart, kindness, and the best intentions, you would eventually achieve any goal you set your mind to.
Now Pippi Longstocking had adventure in her soul. Because we moved a lot, I was always starting new schools and trying to make new friends. Pippi provided a way to escape into an adventure and get into mischief. I was that goody-two-shoes kind of kid. I always wanted to fit in, and my parents had enough going on, without me getting into any real trouble (that came later). Pippi became the rebel inside me.
I moved from Amelia and Pippy into – I groan as I write this – Danielle Steel. I distinctly remember reading “Summers End” when I was 15. I ran down the outdoor corridor at school, past the library and economics room, yelling (spoiler alert), “she’s pregnant with Ben’s baby!” Okay, so I know it wasn’t classic literature. I was getting enough of that through my English classes. Reading Danielle Steel made me believe that I, too, could be a writer someday and bring the same joy to others through story twists and turns.
And that brings me to my current day obsession with J.D. Robb. Until the 2000s I was a chick lit/romance reader. I still read new Danielle Steel releases, a guilty pleasure that always puts my head into ‘holiday mode’. But Nora Roberts, who writes as J.D. Robb, can draw you in to gore and mayhem like no other. Add in some gorgeously interesting characters – I’d love to have Peabody as a bestie – and you’ve got a reader for life. I think she’s up to Book 54 with her next release in the “In Death” series. It’s with Ms. Roberts that made me feel that I, too, could write a thriller. Not as good as hers, mind you, but a story with some twists and turns of my own.
Mum faced constant change as an Army wife. She never knew where home would be in a year or two. She made the most of what we had and made sure we enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. Seeing my mother’s strength and resilience, when faced with a lifestyle so different to her own upbringing, well, that was an enormous influence with my writing. (Mum continues to be influential when writing about ‘mother hen’ characters overflowing with generosity and kindness.)
My paternal grandfather thought travel was the best thing you could ever do. His later letters spoke of travels with my grandmother and how travel quickly became an addiction. He was always asking us of places we’d like to see when we grew up. My grandparents often wrote to me, especially once I moved overseas. I loved those letters. In my novel, The Decisions We Make, I weave the idea of letter writing into the story. (You’ll have to read it to understand how.) My grandfather’s handwriting was beautiful and spoke of far-away places. My grandmother’s, scratchy and rushed, told stories that were so blunt they made me laugh out loud (like the time my grandfather slept through his electric blanket catching fire. He was okay, but the way my grandmother described it, you could imagine her shaking her head and saying, ‘Oh Keith….’)
People watching is one of my favourite things to do. Living in the country (now) doesn’t allow for much of it, but whenever I travel, I’m devouring everything that is happening around me. It’s always the little things. Like the old man on the train playing peek a boo with the toddler. The dad reading to the baby strapped to his chest, as he waits for his partner in the nearby shop. I received a tip I received from that Sydney writing instructor: Note everything around you as there’s a story in everything. Best advice ever.
There is a joke that floats around the writing community: “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel”. It is probably no surprise that most characters are inspired by real people.
Friends say they see traces of me in each character from Camino Wandering. It’s true I suppose. I am spiritual like Aubrey (and was called an Indigo Girl on both my Camino wanders, both times by complete strangers). I am creative like Georgina. I love photography and it took me a long time to pluck enough courage to become a professional photographer before I pivoted to be a writer. And, yes, I’m a mother hen and a Camino tragic like Pam – and have been known to swear like a sailor at times too. These characters are also influenced by others I’ve met too. And no, I won’t reveal who.
I’ve recently asked for a vinyl record player for an upcoming birthday. I loved the days of popping on a record while pottering around the house when I was a kid. It’s a favourite memory of my mother (she passed away in 2001) and the best days of my childhood.
Billy Joel was often played in a house. “For the Longest Time” had us all singing our various roles to that tune, while suds dripped from the dishes. One would sing lead vocal, while the others sang backup. Billy Joel was (is) a master of storytelling. So were Peter Allen, Stevie Wonder, and Barbra Streisand in their heydays… all family favourites. Eventually I moved on to Noiseworks, Crowded House, then Cold Chisel (once you could interpret Jimmy Barnes slurring vocals). While the beat was great, I was enraptured by the lyrics.
None of my writing could have begun without two things that kicked me into gear. My dreams and that writing class I took in Sydney.
Beneath the Surface was my first manuscript. The storyline was inspired by a dream. I woke thinking my dream would make for an excellent scene in a book, and so I began writing… and was still writing eighteen hours later. Ironically, that scene never made it into the book. (I’ll have to find it to share some day.) The story began in a completely different direction.
The layers of the story (Beneath the Surface) unfolded in the writing class. My fellow writers asked questions in the critique component that made me dig deeper, and the deeper I dug, the more I disliked the romance angle it started from. “White Knight” was thrown around a lot. Thus became the start of multiple rewrites. No wonder it took so long to finish the book!
Since then, I’ve noted my dreams. If you write them down when they are fresh, you can sometimes use them as writing prompts or, if they are vivid, use them as specific scenes. I find dreams a powerful source of influence.
The Camino de Santiago.
Let’s not forget one of the biggest influences in my writing adventure: the Camino. When I finished my first (solo) Camino, I was still working as a travel blogger and so it made sense to write a memoir. But the more I researched it, the more I was put off by the idea. I pondered the idea for a time, and in the meantime, walked another Camino with my husband. By this time, I thought I’d write about the differences between the two experiences. How walking solo opens conversations and connections while walking with another person can create a built-in buffer to others.
Then I saw one movie that influenced the direction of that book. “The Way” starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. The movie is a fictional tale of grief and connection, while walking the eight-hundred-kilometre trail. That’s when it clicked for me that my Camino story would be a fictional one, and so Camino Wandering emerged.
Influences come in all forms. People. Books. Music. Dreams. I know I’m a different kind of writer than many, especially when it comes to taking close note of my dreams. But I think everyone could benefit from the question: What influences your writing?
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Ten years ago, I worked for a large corporation, working up to seventy hours a week. My mental and physical health suffered considerably as a result. When I left that role, I promised myself that I would never put myself in that position again.
I work just as hard today but I kept my vow. I’ve learned to listen to my body and work when I’m most productive.
But here’s the crackpot thing: I work about the same number of hours.
The stress is different now. I don’t have seven bosses breathing down my neck. I don’t have to do (stupid) status reports that are never read. The ridiculous deadlines are now of my own volition. (I’m really trying to get better at this one). And when I feel like I’m approaching overload, I take a break. It could be for 10 minutes or ten days. But there is not a day goes by that I’m not working on something. That’s just part of the writing life.
Call me a workaholic but this works for me.
When I sat down at the end of the year to evaluate the year’s work, I was shocked at what I had accomplished in twelve months. I had written three books, published two. I had set up a publishing company. I had taken on a few side projects. I had set up a separate business, then closed it. I had learned a lot about marketing – what to do and definitely what not to do. Not to mention the short stories and blog posts I’d written throughout the year. My list of accomplishments was long.
Then I remembered that working successfully as an author is a long game.
When planning out the year, I decided to slow things down a bit. I’m continuing with a lofty goal of publishing a new book every 6-8 months . But I need to find balance between work and play. I need to listen to my heart, as well as my mind. I also need to tap into what I already know and leverage my resources better, in a more productive way. (I’ll have more on that in a future blog post)
Sounds like I’m trying to convince myself of all this, doesn’t it? Not the mindset at all of a workaholic!
Maybe that’s part of it. This is a challenge for me as I feel like I have a deadline against myself. I wrote about it in this post: How Grief Has Guided My Writing.
I read somewhere that Nora Roberts writes 6-8 hours every day. Alice Munro writes seven days a week. Stephen King writes for about four hours every single morning, vowing to write two thousand words. Ernest Hemmingway wrote in the mornings until ‘you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.’ Now you can’t tell me that those authors aren’t workaholics!
So, it’s not just me who feels the compulsion to keep writing. Just as each writer has a unique method for getting words on the page, their practice is just as dynamic. Whether an early bird like Hemingway or a night owl like President Obama, the difference for me is that I keep working when my juice glass is empty. And that needs to change.
It’s a different game for an indie writer compared to those that want to be traditionally published. I wear all the hats. I’m the writer, the media specialist, the promotor, the admin. The list goes on and on. It’s a never-ending cycle, but I’m not complaining.
I have the privilege of creating work that people are enjoying, and I’m living my life on my terms now. For me, that means creating SMART goals (thank you, corporate life), outsourcing what doesn’t bring me joy, so that I can focus on the things I love.
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During 2021, I joined a reading challenge called 52 Books in 52 Weeks. I LOVED this challenge. It prompted me to read books outside of my comfort zone, or look for books that I may not have considered before. Some of those books even made into my Favourite Book list!
But I also got frustrated. Trying to read 52 books while writing three novels was probably a little too ambitious in one year! Plus, I found myself forgoing walks and being in nature so that I could read a few more pages. The challenge tied me down a little too much and that’s not good for me.
I’m going to try the challenge again next year, but I’m setting a goal for myself of 25 books. I’ll have the list of 50 prompts to choose from, but my goal will be realistic for me. I need better balance to keep writing well and that means being one with nature again.
If you want to join me in the challenge, I’d love that. I’m going to be talking about the books I’m reading during my livestreams in 2022, so join me! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more information!
So, what were my favourite books for 2021? I give you the book, the blurb, the link to the book, and my review.
These are not in order of preference. Just a list.
Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.
Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
This book is … magnificent. I giggled. I cried. And I devoured every incredible word. Deliciously written and beautifully told. This is not my normal genre. In fact, I probably would not have read this book, had it not been for this challenge. Which is why I’m going to continue with it. I think everyone should read this book and experience Lucy for themselves.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
I listened to the audiobook for this book and was blown away at how well Elizabeth Moss brings this story to life. I have seen the mini-series, which prompted me to go back and read this classic. It still scares the crap out of me how this could (and still may) happen in today’s society. Would I have found this book as compelling without Elizabeth’s voice? Maybe not. But I loved this ‘thriller’ all the same.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
I was a bit reluctant to read this book. So many people on the Facebook forum for the challenged hailed it as a must read and there were a few others they were hailing that I just didn’t agree with. Did I swim against the current? I decided I’d see what it was about and I’m really glad I did. I couldn’t put this one down. I loved the way it was written. It was a story within a story and it drew you in, made you question what was next. But best of all, it took you back to a time when Hollywood was fabulous.
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.
I love books that take you into the lesser known history of Asian countries (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, also a Lisa See novel, is such a book and one I still think about). This book is heartbreaking. You can imagine the struggles, the love, the poverty, and the connections in every page. Oh, but the strength of these women! It’s incredible. This book is based on real stories and it makes me want to know more about that era. Get out the tissues with this one.
Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…
Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.
I love books about women with gumption and this novel is no exception. You can feel every part in this book.Her struggles. Her ingenuity. Her strength. But it was the vibrancy of the setting that captured me. This book is so rich in colour, sounds, and smells. It brought India to life for me.
The body was left in a dumpster like so much trash, the victim a woman of no fixed address, known for offering paper flowers in return for spare change—and for keeping the cops informed of any infractions she witnessed on the street. But the notebook where she scribbled her intel on litterers and other such offenders is nowhere to be found.
Then Eve is summoned away to a nearby building site to view more remains—in this case decades old, adorned with gold jewelry and fine clothing—unearthed by recent construction work. She isn’t happy when she realizes that the scene of the crime belongs to her husband, Roarke—not that it should surprise her, since the Irish billionaire owns a good chunk of New York. Now Eve must enter a complex world of real estate development, family history, shady deals, and shocking secrets to find justice for two women whose lives were thrown away…
If you’ve been following me a while, you’ll know I’m a HUGE J.D.Robb fan. This is #53 in the Eve Dallas series. And even though I know the structure of the story, it’s the characters that draw me back in. I want to know what happens in their lives next… Eve and Roarke are a strong duo and they have a dynamic that works. But it’s the rest of the characters I love just as much… I mean, Peabody and I would be besties in real life. I know that. I’ll keep reading these as long as Nora Roberts keeps writing them (Her writing as J.D. Robb is completely different than her usual books.) Now, time to pre-order #54.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
There is a lot to be said for kindness and the impact it has in the world. Whether you realise it or not, it may or may not change the direction of someone’s life. This book reminds us of that. This book makes us think of our life choices. Would we have done things any differently? What if we’d taken that path? I love the stories within this book and the thoughts it conjures. An amazing book that reminds us to reach out to that friend or relative who may be quiet or struggling.
In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
If you’ve read Beneath the Surface, you’ll know that Lowell loans Grace a book… “This, Jelly, was a fabulous read. The main character? Incredible.” This is the book he loans her. I was going to name the book in Beneath the Surface, but was advised against it. The main character is incredible and this book brings the 1940s New York theatre life alive. I loved it and will be reading it again and again.
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night her family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue loving her.
This is not the usual genre for Colleen Hoover and in my opinion, she needs to stick with this it. It is a book you will remember. Colleen Hoover published this as an indie author, but the book has since been picked up by a major publisher, which makes me sad in a way. I mean good for her and I hope this one becomes a movie, although considering how much the book affected me, I’m not sure I’d WANT to watch the movie. If you like a good thriller, this one to add to your list. I am still thinking about this book and wondering ‘did she or didn’t she?’
PLEASE NOTE: Affiliate links were used in this post. I do not promote anything I have not used or experienced myself. All opinions are my own. Please follow our advice at your own risk. By clicking these links allows me to receive a small commission, which in turn keeps website running. For that, I thank you.