Q: Tell us about your book. Although the title gives us a huge clue, what is the basis for your book? Could you describe it in just a few sentences?
A: My book is an intimate journal from my breast cancer experience. I was just married, pregnant and then we discovered a lump in my breast. Much of my treatment and recovery was about suppressing my grief and anger, yet I felt them and wrote them down. This book gave me permission to feel whatever I wanted to feel with my experience and I’d like it be an example for others to do the same. Feel what you want to feel with your cancer – it’s your cancer.
Q: What made you did you decide to write it?
A: I was scared to come out as a writer. I shoved myself into publishing it. The diary entries had to be raw and unedited, but with the written text if I waited until my writing was perfect, I would never write.
Q: Why do you think your book needed to be written?
A: To honor my voice as a writer and to create a safe ground for others to feel and do what they wish with their cancer experience.
Q: Who do you think will read your book? Who would you like to read it? Did you have a target audience in mind before you wrote it?
A: I wrote this book for other women with breast cancer who may also be suppressing their emotions. Just after diagnosis I received the message that I had to be positive – I took this to mean suppress all bad feelings and plaster a smile on my face. Yet I was grieving so many things and there was no safe space to grieve. This book may also be useful for partners and family members who don’t realise what their loved ones are going through.
Q: What steps have you taken or are planning to take to promote your book? Which methods do you think will work best to meet your target audience?
A: I have a website, My Nipple Party and a Facebook page of the same name. I’m going to do Google Hangouts and give online talks and I’m trying to contact breast cancer organizations. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with marketing so I’m taking baby steps.
Q: How did you choose your publisher and method of publishing? Did you do much research did you do before you made your choice? And what made you chose this route?
A: My friend wrote a book with the publisher, Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing/ Springtime Books, so I contacted her and she said “yes”. This immediate “yes” was such a boost. It was like the gods in the form of Jo pushing me forward. There was no struggle or angst.
Q: What was your biggest challenge once you decided to write your book and how did you overcome it?
A: Near the end I was filled with doubt and fear. Who wants to read this drivel? I’m crazy, a narcissist, self-absorbed, I’m bearing all my inner thoughts to the world – what a weirdo. And then my next thought was – I want my drivel to help people – how can I make my book do that? And that’s what I focus on now. How can I make a difference and my book is my first step.
Q: Now you have written your book how has writing it impacted you, your family, your self-esteem or your business?
A: I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life. My first published book is a salute to my soul. Go! Sue Go!
Q: What were the highlights of the writing and publishing process from starting to write your book to it being sent to print?
A: When Jo said, “yes, I’ll publish it”, my heart sang. Can you imagine someone else thinking this work is publishable? And then when Leigh made the cover, wow – it’s tangible – I will have something to sell! And when you were solidly working with me to create a good product I felt all you were taking me seriously as a writer. At that moment, I shifted into Sue, the writer. So Summertime Publishing and Springtime Books are publishers of books and dreams.
Q: If you were to give advice to someone thinking about writing their memoir, what would be your number one tip?
A: Write your heart out.
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