Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow writer Moira McPartlin (website: whose first novel, The Incomers has recently been short listed for The Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award 2012.

I'm instructed by Moira to tell you all about my next or latest book by answering these questions and then I tag other authors about their Next Big Thing. So here I go!

What is the title of your latest book?
It’s called Second Chances: true stories of living with Addison’s disease. I’m the editor.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A couple of years ago, I found out I had a rare autoimmune disease called Addison’s. It’s a life-threatening disease, which is a bit scary, so I set out to contact other people who are affected by the condition as I wanted to know how other people deal with it. I invited fifteen to write their story and it’s these which I’ve gathered together, with mine, in Second Chances.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s creative non-fiction. Life writing. Memoir. Call it what you will.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Och, Angelina Jolie as me, of course :-)  I suppose my hero partner Keith would want to be James Bond Daniel Craig.  As for the other contributors - they all have amazing stories. There would need to be lots of red carpet stars to play them. From Deanna and Natalia who are long distance runners, to Brett who river races, to Jasmine, who was diagnosed with this life-threatening condition just twelve days after having her baby. And the hospital staff, who were the real heroes, would definitely have more than walk-on parts.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sixteen men and women from across the world seize a second chance when their world is rocked by a deadly disease.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published on 18 November 2012 as an e-book by PotHole Press, which is a small e-publishing company my husband Keith has set up. Second Chances is available on Kindle and Kobo.  Because Addison’s disease is rare, there isn’t enough of a market for it to be viable through the traditional book publishing model. E-publishing gives it that chance to appeal to Addison's people across a global market.

Here's the link to Second Chances on Kobo

And here it is on Amazon

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I put out an appeal for contributions via Facebook and other forums in May 2012, and passed the 65,000 word finished manuscript to PotHole Press in October 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any that deal with facing illness and refusing to give in to it. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to hear people talk about how they got their head round this condition. I wanted to know how people seized the second chance modern medicine had given them. But with Addison’s disease being quite rare, there aren’t any books like that out there. There are medical texts, but I wanted to read about people’s experiences. That’s what inspired me to compile it, and I found like-minded people who were happy to share their stories for the benefit of others who are newly diagnosed.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The contributors come from Canada, the USA, the UK, Belgium, Australia, South Africa and South Korea. There’s some harrowing stuff in there, but there’s also humour, and some mighty emotional highs. It’s real ‘human interest’ stuff and is immensely readable.

Here are some lovely authors I've tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing! …..

David Manderson – author of Lost Bodies
Leela Soma – author of Twice Born and Bombay Baby
Andrew Doig – author of Wee Davy
Maureen Myant – author of The Search.

Sincere thanks to Moira McPartlin for tagging me. And good luck at the Saltire Awards on St Andrew's Day!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Second Chances

When I was diagnosed with Addison's disease a little over two years ago, I felt very isolated. Addison's is life-threatening. Around the world people die from it, and I only survived because I had access to good doctors and modern medicine - steroid hormones to replace the ones my body no longer produces.

Addison's affects only 14 in 100,000 people. So, in Scotland, with its population of five million, there may only be about 700 people who understand it. There are no local support groups, and I really missed being able to speak with fellow Addisonians to find out how they coped with the physical and psychological shock of ill-health, diagnosis and aftercare.

In summer 2012, I put out an appeal on one of Facebook's Addison's groups and set out to commission stories from Addison's people around the world.  I wanted honesty, but I wanted, also, something uplifting. Something that demonstrated that people could be struck down by this illness, but could take control of their new health regime and live a full life.

I was privileged to work with fifteen men and women who shared their experience with me. They shared their stories because they, too, understood that sense of isolation newly diagnosed Addison's people feel, and because they wanted people to know more about this rare condition. In addition, my endocrinologist very kindly supplied the ideal medical preface to the collection.

The contributors come from the UK, Canada, the USA, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and South Korea, and their stories are all different, since their lives are all different. One thing is the same - they all want to make the most of the second chance modern medicine has given them.

That's why I called the collection of our life stories 'Second Chances'. Or, more properly, 'Second Chances: true stories of living with Addison's disease'.

'Second Chances' has been published as an e-book by PotHole Press, and is available on Amazon around the world for Kindle. Versions formatted for I-pad, Kobo and other e-readers will be available soon.