This is a very different Beyond The Title interview and one that is proving extremely difficult to write. Normally my subject of my interviews are talented and celebrated masters in their specific area of talent or identified household names. Yet on the week of the launch of my autobiography Adapted, I was honoured to sit down with my very good friend and journalist Simon Clark as he turned the tables on me. Despite Beyond The Title running for almost two years, this was the first time listeners have heard my own voice. As a result of my Cerebral Palsy, my speech is frequently difficult to understand to the untrained ear which isn’t ideal for audio interviews and so it’s easier to get someone to lead the interview on my behalf. Yet as I’m the subject of this week’s interview, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally step in front of the microphone and allow my audience to hear my dulcet tones. Please bear with me when I’m talking as it’s a little slow and we’ve dubbed over a translation by one of my carer’s who’s voice you will have heard before to make it an easier experience for everyone! P.S. I am well aware that I sound like Chewbacca – not ideal for a podcast!
Press play, below, to listen to the full interview
I began developing the book during my gap year from university at a time when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Frankly it was merely a nice pastime to occupy me until I returned to university and it never occurred to me that I could get it published. It wasn’t until I moved into my own home in 2012 and got my creativity back that I rediscovered all my original planning. This gave me the incentive to return to it and start taking it seriously. I was slightly older and able to reflect upon situations, feelings and experiences with more of an analytical mind which I feel has offered the book more gravity. Disability had always been something that I had always put to the back of my mind and tried to avoid thinking about. Not because I could ever forget my Cerebral Palsy, I just thought it wasn’t relevant to the rest of my life. This was an extremely difficult concept to get over to the reader as I was scared that it would offend those living with disabilities. I was always clear that it was just my own opinions of my own life and not a bearing on anyone else.
Between 2012 and 2017 I must have created around seven drafts, still unsure as to how I would ever get it from a word document to book form. After drafting and redrafting, I managed to get it to a state where it was acceptable to be sent to publishers and agents just to establish what I would have to do to get it to a marketable standard. So I used my most recent edition of the Writers’ Handbook (something that no writer should be without!) and emailed a whole host of agents and publishers. Naively I concluded the book was almost complete and I merely required someone to help me publish it. I was so wrong and when I was introduced to Taryn Johnston at FCM Publishing I realised the true importance of the redrafting process.
So in September 2018 I launch the long awaited Adapted to what I hope will be rave reviews. A massive thanks to everyone who’s helped me with the development of the book, from my patient carers who have spent hours upon hours scribing my utterances onto a word document to Taryn and FCM Publishing for believing in the concept. Adapted aims to be available from all good book outlets including Amazon (CLICK HERE TO PRE ORDER AND PURCHASE) from Thursday 30th August 2018. I’ll be doing a book signing at the Newport IOW branch of Waterstones on Tuesday 2nd October from 11am to 1pm. I’m also delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker at this year’s IOW Literary Festival on Thursday 11th October from 4:15 pm at Ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8AZ (MORE INFORMATION HERE). So if you want to know more about the book please come along and you never know you might even want to buy a copy!