Today, I bring you an interview with Ally Parkes. Ally's first book is due for release in September, and is a story of inspiration and hope, based on a real life experience of her own. Let's find out more about Ally.
Tell me a bit about yourself
I’m Ally and I’m married with 2 young children and live in the UK, just north of London. In my working life, I am an Occupational Therapist, and currently work with people with dementia. I write as a hobby on the side when I am not being Mum or an OT.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing about 2 years ago following a conversation with a friend about what I had experienced in my life. I decided to write about it, as a kind of therapy, but I got some lovely feedback so decided to keep going and turn it into a book. I hope people enjoy reading it. I also hope it will raise awareness and if it helps someone else in their journey, then even better.
Do you have a favourite book?
My favourite book as a child was 'Dogger' by Shirley Hughes. I still have it now and have enjoyed sharing this with my children.
Can you describe your writing process?
So, with ‘No Longer Me’, I started writing the bits of the book that were the hardest bits to experience in real life, and I ended up with a series of stand-alone chapters. I then created a fictional story around it. So, I went back to the beginning and then created a plot/outline for the rest of the story. However, in future I will probably do this outline from the start.
I see you have a new release coming in September. Can you tell me about it?
Yes, my debut novel, ‘No Longer Me’ is out on 21st September 2020 on Amazon, in both eBook and paperback format. It is a fictional story, but to some extent life-inspired by my own. It follows the life of 27-year-old Chloe Richards, who is happy and content with life and about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime. However, a sudden shock diagnosis brings her world crashing down around her, and ends all her dreams. The book follows Chloe’s unexpected journey as she recovers both physically and emotionally and, in the process, learns about the meaning of true love – of the love for another, of herself, and of life.
Who are your favourite authors, and how have they influenced your work?
I love books by Sophie Kinsella, Jenni Colgan, Carole Matthews, Adele Parks, Trisha Ashley – the easy-read chick-lit style is my kind of book. However, now I am a self-published author, I have found a whole new library of indie authors, which before, I never knew existed. My latest reads were by Julie Stock and Elsie Mcarthur, both self-published authors, who write brilliant novels. So, my to-be-read list is now focusing on other indie authors, who have been so incredibly kind and supportive to me.
Are are you working on anything at the moment?
I am busy finalising the launch of ‘No Longer Me’ and getting ready to market and promote it. However, I have enjoyed writing a book and have another story in my head, which I am itching to get started on…watch this space.
What advice would you give a new author?
To go for it. To be positive and brave. Expect good days and bad days. Ride out the bad and enjoy the good. Hire a professional if you need and get involved in the writing community, who are so supportive. And be proud of yourself. What you write won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but someone out there will enjoy it, so never give up.
Lastly, what interests do you have outside of writing?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like to be active and enjoy walking, netball, swimming, and family games of cricket. I like to read and also love holidays and any kind of travel.
Thanks to Ally for telling us about herself and her inspirational story. If you would like to check out Ally's work, click on the links below.