Tag Archives: Crooked Cat Publishing

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The Thursday Blog Feature about writing despite challenge or adversity.
The Thursday Blog Feature about writing despite challenge or adversity.

Today's Thursday Write Despite features the incredibly inspiring Ailsa Abraham. Ailsa is a multi-published author who writes fiction despite having suffered brain damage and a stroke as a result of three separate accidents - a fractured skull at the age of 15 when she fell onto rocks from a cliff top, a stroke following a car accident, and a near-fatal motorcycle accident which put her into a coma for three weeks.

Beautiful but deadly. Ailsa fell onto rocks from these cliffs at the age of 15.
Beautiful but deadly. Ailsa fell onto rocks from these cliffs at the age of 15.

If you can write despite all of that, I think you can write despite pretty much anything!

But I'll let Ailsa tell her story of writing against the odds.

What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?

Brain damage and severe pain are the most awkward. My spine is pretty well crippled which can make sitting at a desk rather sore. I have experimented with voice recognition but it turns my Julie Andrews' accent into a mangled version of rubbish so it's easier to touch type, at which I am fortunate enough to be good.

Since a few head-injuries plus a stroke, my mind becomes disconnected. Often I don't know which language I'm speaking, one of the disadvantages of being bilingual. This results in me losing words in both tongues and screaming in frustration. Sometimes I have to act them out to a friend to get the answer.

Ailsa on the motorbike which ended up putting her in a coma for 3 weeks.
Ailsa on the motorbike which ended up putting her in a coma for 3 weeks.

I'm a very impatient person. I want it done now. No, I want it done five minutes before I thought about it which makes writing a very frustrating occupation. Consequently I write in the patchwork quilt method – whatever scene grabs me gets written. When I have a few in hand I stitch them together in the right pattern until the tale is coherent. Overall this works better for me than trying to write chronologically.

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Ailsa finds a 'patchwork' way of writing suits her best.

How do you think this challenge has impacted on your writing?

Possibly it has given me insight into other people's suffering. I tend to be compassionate both with real folks and with characters, both good and bad. When I have a bad character I need to work out what made them like that and so they become less two-dimensional, perhaps even pitiable.

IRL (in real life) I laugh at everything. That is my defence method. When lying on the floor, having been attacked by furniture when my feet and brain aren't speaking, I can hardly stand on my dignity, can I? Face it, I can't really stand up so...I giggle. There tends to be a lot of “off the cuff” humour in my work. A woman involved in very serious and dark work will suddenly “throw a googlie” by saying “Well, you don't piss off gods, do you? Just in case!” That's really me speaking!

My profile picture
Ailsa Abraham

What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?

I didn't have any. Given that I was only writing for the amusement of friends it was not a fearful situation. I don't tend to scare easily anyway. Having shaken hands with DEATH regularly I tend to look at it and say “What's the worst that can happen?” With writing the answer is that in the worst case scenario, everyone will hate your book. Hey but then you would be famous for writing the worst book EVER!

When I first started I was writing male romance under a pseudonym and the only trepidation for me was that some gay men resent women writing that kind of fiction. So far nobody has had anything but praise for it. Even straight people apparently like them!

A's kiss book

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write, but who is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?

Don't let it. Writing is something you should HAVE to do, not want to do. I would never have got into this malarky if people hadn't bullied, pushed and shoved me. I didn't think my stuff was good enough but publishers have agreed so I'll go along with them. They know what they are talking about. The only thing that should put you off writing is if you can't possibly face rejection because it will happen. 99 people will love your book and one miserable git will leave a one-star review. Being a normal human being, you will ignore the ninety-nine and notice only the bad one. Stop it. If you can't take that, don't write. Get as much feedback from friends, writing groups etc. and be open to constructive criticism.

Tell us a bit about something you've written that you're really proud of, or something you're writing now

As usual, with my disorganised brain I am writing three WIPs (works in progress) at once. I'm not especially proud of any of my books in particular, as they all mean as much to me. Each was a huge achievement. I think when I get Book 3 of Alchemy series finished, it will be the greatest one because I have literally had to come back from the dead to write it. I was getting on fine with the first draft until a motorcycle accident nearly wiped me out and put me in a coma for three weeks. It has taken over a year for me to get back to writing properly. I couldn't even do blog posts at first which will teach me to do somersaults over the handlebars at my age!

I am quite proud of being able to mix genres so well. I consider it rather like cooking. So I don't just make cakes, I do a mean home-made soup as well. Alchemy series is magical reality, my boys are in romantic detective drama and I'm about to embark on non-fiction too.

Out of the way, folks, the literary motorbike is revving up again. Thanks for having me over Margaret and here are my links (works from all over the world!)

both with Amazon

***

BIO – Ailsa Abraham retired early from a string of jobs, ending up with teaching English to adults. She has lived in France since 1990 and is married with no children but six grandchildren.  She copes with Bipolar Condition, a twisted spine and increasing deafness with her usual wry humour – “well if I didn't have all those, I'd have to work for a living, instead of writing, which is much more fun.”. Her ambition in life is to keep breathing and maybe move back to the UK. She has no intention of stopping writing. Her other passions are running an orphanage for homeless teddy bears plus knitting or crochet now that she has had to give up her beloved black Yamaha.

Ailsa's Publications:

As Ailsa Abraham :

Alchemy and Shaman's Drum published by Crooked Cat

alchemy

shamans drum4 go mad

 

(Shaman's Drum was nominated for the People's Choice Book Award)

 

Four Go Mad in Catalonia – self-published, available from Smashwords

Twitter - @ailsaabraham

Facebook – Ailsa Abraham

Amazon Author Page

Web page

Thank you so much, Ailsa. You're a complete inspiration to me, and I'm sure to everyone who reads this post!

Until next time.

Margaret

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Write Despite with Author Miriam Drori

Finding Your Writer's Path

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The Thursday Blog Feature about writing despite challenge or adversity.
The Thursday Blog Feature about writing despite challenge or adversity.

Welcome to the first post in my new Write Despite Thursday Feature, where writers and would-be writers answer 5 questions about the obstacles they've had to overcome in order to write. I'm so excited to hear what everyone has to say, and I know these posts are going to be really inspiring to us.

So, over to Miriam!

miriam
Miriam Drori

Hi, Miriam! Thanks so much for kicking off this feature on my blog. Now to the questions!

What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?

I’ve had to overcome a conviction that I couldn’t write creatively. It was so strong that the possibility of being a writer didn’t even occur to me.

Why was that? Because it was clear to my teachers, my parents and me: writing wasn’t my thing. I was good at the grammar part, of course, because that requires a sense of logic, and an understanding of and adherence to rules. But I wasn’t a creative person. Much better to stick to Maths, which was the subject of my degree. Some creativity must have shown in singing and playing music, but that was never going to be my forte either.

math-notebook-492351_640

 

It took decades to get over that. I only thought of writing because, after discovering social anxiety, I knew I wanted to raise awareness of this common but little-known disorder, and writing was the only way I could try to do that. At least I knew I could express myself well in writing, through my work as a technical writer. I began with non-fiction and only later thought of writing fiction. If I’d known how much I would have to learn about writing fiction, I don’t think I’d have started!

How do you think this challenge has impacted on your writing?

The whole attempt to fictionalize the social anxiety experience formed most of my learning curve up to now. One problem I didn’t have was writer’s block. I always knew what I wanted to write. My problem was: how. When I’d finished my first draft, I joined a writing group, where I learned a lot and I’ve been learning ever since and always will be, online and offline.

What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?

I don’t think I had real fears then. I should have done, but I was too naïve. I didn’t know how difficult the process would be. I think I’m more fearful now. I worry that I’m not a good enough writer to make a big impression.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write, but who is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?

So much depends on what the challenge is. If it’s a fear of writing, just do it. If it’s a lack of time, stop doing something that’s less important than writing. If it’s writer’s block, move away from the computer and think about your passions.

 

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Tell us a bit about something you've written that you're really proud of, or something you're writing now. 

I’m proud of everything that has been accepted for publication. I’m also proud of my latest work in progress, which is a first for me on at least two accounts. It involves collaboration with another author and it’s historical.

What I’m most proud of at the moment is my novel, Neither Here Nor There, published by Crooked Cat Publishing. It’s a romance with a difference. It’s a light read, but it touches on complex topics and takes readers into a world that most don’t recognise.

neither here nor there

Here’s the blurb:

Esty's life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world.

But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream.

Neither Here Nor There is available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes and elsewhere.

Thanks so much for answering my questions and kicking off my Thursday Write Despite feature, Miriam! It's been a pleasure speaking to you.

Miriam's answers to my questions - especially when she talks about the opinion and expectations of her parents and her school - sparked memories for me and inspired me to write a post of my own. Here's the link, if you'd like to read it.

Finding Your Writer's Path.

I hope you found what Miriam had to say inspiring, everyone.

See you next time!

Margaret

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What is Writing Success For You?

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