Being a first-time author is tough. Being in a lockdown is tougher. Being a first-time author in a lockdown should be impossible but here, Angela (or Angie), shares how she went from being a successful PT to author of The Secret Diary of a Lockdown Mum.
This interview is part of our It's Never Too Late series, championing women regardless of age, to follow their big, bold ambitions.
Hi Angie - tell us what you're all about!
I'm an author - I recently wrote The Secret Diary of a Lockdown Mum. I believe my business is to make people laugh when at times it is hard to smile, to create escapism and show to camaraderie.
How old were you when you published your book?
So before author-life, what were you doing?
I have been an employed and self-employed Personal Trainer for 20 years. In May of 2020, after 7 years of study with the Open University, I obtained a first-class honours science degree. I have, in my past, run a pub with my family which was a totally different lifestyle in itself. I am also a qualified bookkeeper. So, I have worn many hats in my 40 years; being a Mum though is my proudest and most inspiring job.
It's amazing you've done all these different things; what inspired you to write?
I worked so hard for 7 years to obtain my degree, whilst working and raising my sons (Dexter 8 and Jackson 5), that I was devastated when lockdown happened and the job market appeared to close in on my aspirations. I have always written, poems and odes and found it a therapeutic outlet. So, one day in lockdown when I was thinking about how I could best kill my conspiracy theorist husband and tie the children up in the shed, I started writing a poem about lockdown. Which quickly turned into a daily log of how I was feeling, how lockdown was causing us to turn on the people we love the most, making us eat more and drink more. Then a medium friend of mine told me to take the leap, to believe in myself and that creative writing was my future.
I thought I have absolutely nothing to lose, so I took a deep breath, put on my positive pants, and went for it.
What did you find tricky?
I found so many things hard and I have learnt so much! I initially uploaded the wrong manuscript with hundreds of mistakes in, I had no clue about promoting the book. I had a marketing budget of £0 and no clue on how to get it out there. As I was donating the royalties to the NHS I managed to get a little help with local radio and local papers, but it really is hard. I just wanted to raise a bit of money and make people laugh, who knew it would be so hard. Trying to do that as well as home school and keep your children alive and your husband thinking it happens overnight, fitting in housework and racking your brains how to get people to read your book on your own is so hard. Plus, I started writing another book in a totally different genre for age 10 years plus, it was like I'd opened a fountain and I just couldn't stop writing.
That's a lot to keep you occupied there! What did you find surprising?
How much I love it. I knew I like to think up stories and write funny little odes and poems, but I never dreamed I'd be so passionate and that it would consume my thoughts day and night. With my new book, I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a plot twist or a character flaw I needed to write in. I then wouldn't be able to get back to sleep until I'd written it down. I'm obsessed and utterly in love with my characters, it is corny but it's a beautiful thing.
It doesn't sound corny at all! Is there anything you'd do differently?
Not rush. This is one of the things I regret with the first book, I was so eager to get it out there I could have done better. I could have researched more, I should have checked the manuscript, but I was just so excited to have written it, I just wanted it out there.
What are you passionate about?
Writing is my passion, Believe (my new book) is my passion, The Secret Dairy of a Lockdown Mum is my passion. But most of all, my family is my passion, they make my heart ache with joy, and even though I want to kill them or tie them up sometimes, they are what I live for. They are what makes me tick, what inspires me to write and to be a better person.
What makes you feel good inside?
Making people smile makes me feel good. I don't know if it's growing up in a pub and constantly being around people that it is imbedded into me, but making people feel better is what I love. I hope that is what The Secret Diary of a Lockdown Mum does, makes you laugh, makes you smile, makes you think 'Yep, I do that too!' Makes you feel not so alone. That is the best feeling.
So what is something that has made you proud in the last 12 months
Finishing my new book and the sales of The Secret Diary of a Lockdown Mum, considering everything else that is going on, another lockdown, more home schooling, and more pressure, I have managed to keep going, keep sane (ish), and not murdering my husband after he had followed me around for an hour trying to make me watch a film about how The Simpsons TV show predicts the future.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
Just do it! you only live once and what's the worse that can happen? Plan, take your time, put your big girl pants on and go for it. I have found so many brilliant and talented woman on my journey that are willing to help it has been truly inspirational.
What are you goals for the next 12-months Angie?
My goals are to hopefully get an agent for my new book Believe and get that published in a bid to rival JK Rowling (that's the dream) and to self-publish 'The Secret Diary of a Lockdown Mum 2,' of which all royalties I will be donating to a Mental Health Charity. Plus, not to go to jail or get caught burying my husband's body.
If you want to find out more about Angie & her books you can connect with her here:
It's Never Too Late
Once thing we hear a lot from women over 40 is "I'd love to do x,y,z but it's just too late now". It's not. It never, ever is. We started this series as a way to encourage more women to follow their dreams and ambitions regardless of how many years they've been on the planet!
If you've got a story to tell you can contact us on Emma@womenwd.co.uk
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