OK, so where to start? I’m sitting here, in absolute amazement at the response I’m getting to an offer I made to give a couple of sets of my books away through Facebook. I thought I might receive a couple of hundred responses but the actual volume of people that have replied is staggering. How did I get here?
For years, I’ve known I’ve been able to tell a tale. People I’ve worked with over the last ten years often asked me to tell them another story,during quiet times. But these stories weren’t fiction, they were tales and anecdotes of my life. I know my life hasn’t been simple and straightforward. In fact, it’s been unusual. It’s been difficult at times, but I think it’s been funny a lot of the time. Maybe that’s because I see things differently. I’ve been married more times than I would have planned, and I lived abroad in Turkey for ten years which is where my amazing life really started.
When I came back to the UK from Turkey, whenever I was telling a story I always joked that I should write a book. People would agree and say that I’d had an amazing time, and that I should share it. The idea grew for years but was left in a filing cabinet in my head. How could I, the daughter of a coal miner, educated only to comprehensive school level, write a book? Someone who couldn’t leave school fast enough at sixteen. I had written a very naive book when I lived in Turkey, but it was quite a simplebook about living and getting by in Turkey as a foreigner. I’d also written articles for a magazine that was published in Alanya, and I’d had a blog that was followed by a lot of people. But a book?
However, my wonderful husband David, who is very supportive, had written his own engineering book during 2019. He started a gentle, subtle push, telling me I should start writing. My reply was always that I didn’t have the time. He works a lot from home, so he had made the time to work on his. But I work full time. Between working, organising our lives and keeping my eye on an elderly family member, where was the time to sit and write a book? It just wasn’t an option.
But, as we all know, 2020 was a very odd year. Once I was furloughed in March, I had no more excuses. David said he would help by editing anything I wrote, and he also started to investigate how easy or feasible it was to self-publish with Amazon. That, without a doubt was something I never would have been able to achieve myself. David has his own business and we planned to publish through that. It gave more options regarding where I could sell my book. I still don’t fully understand those aspects, but I don’t really need to. I just needed to sit and empty my head onto paper.
At the end of the first week of being furloughed, I opened my laptop and sat staring at the empty page, unsure how I should start. David could see my predicament and suggested that I just put whatever was in my head on the page and see what happened. So, I did. I decided that I’d try by starting at the beginning; how I met my Turkish husband, the future father of my sons. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I’d opened those filing cabinets in my brain. Everything I’d been storing away came flowing out. It was a cathartic thing to do. The idea of how I wanted to structure my book was also forming. I wanted a book that made people feel like they were there too. I wanted it to feel as if the reader and I were sitting having a coffee together, and I was telling one of my stories. I decided to keep the stories short and bite-sized, so that the book would be easy to read and to pick up and put down, because we all lead busy lives with little down time. I wanted to tell my story, the true story of life in Turkey; with and without a husband, with and without money! I really wanted to make people laugh.
As I sat tapping away, I would send the finished story to David on the other side of the room and he would sit editing it. Eventually I reached a point where I had gaps. So, I made a list of the stories I had finished, made notes for the gaps I needed to fill, and I wrote them.
A friend of mine from school days has a very artistically talented daughter, and I approached her and asked if she could draw a cover picture based on some ideas I had. She did, and I loved it. The name for the book was such an obvious thing. I have always been overweight, and out of all the alternatives possible, I haven’t minded being called a fat bird. I wrote the back cover, picked a photo, and suddenly the book was published! That was 29th April 2020. A month from start to finish.
I’ve come so far since. My book was published through Amazon as both a paperback and an E-Book, and I also wanted it on Kindle unlimited. Becoming an accidental author was never about money. We tried hard to keep the cost of my books as low as we could. On 13th October 2020 I put a small announcement on some of the Facebook Groups related to Turkey. Suddenly, everything exploded!
At that point, I’d already put further stories on paper, But, as I had started receiving comments from some amazing people on the Facebook groups, I realised that it was almost as if they thought my life had stopped when I left Turkey. So, I decided to include some of my other travels. That led to the second book being published on 9th November 2020.
So, here I am. The accidental author who has opened her heart, in a pure, honest, and hopefully funny way.
Both books are only available on Amazon as The Amazing Fat Bird Series. They areThe Amazing Life of a Fat Bird – A Slice of Turkey and More Tales and Travels of The Fat Bird – A Yorkshire Pudding. They are available as Paperbacks and as E-Books, and they are also available on Kindle Unlimited.