On The Bookshelf - Mandy Ward

On The Bookshelf - Mandy Ward

1)  When did you first start writing? (what motivated you to write and self publish your book?)

When I was in primary school, but then I grew up and forgot about story-telling. I started writing again after a short story about a Fairy Godmother and some naughty Christmas Fairies flew into my head. It was Christmas Day, and I was sitting on a deckchair on a ski slope in Italy with a malt whiskey.


2) Tell us about your book(s)

I’ve written a few short stories, including the Fairy Godmother who I named ‘Cassy Kindly’ and the stories always include fairies. Each short story includes a moral, the first of which was a story I wrote, based on my experiences of being bullied at school.

In the second story, the three naughty Christmas Fairies have fun swapping all of the labels on the Christmas presents, make Rudolph forget to put on suntan lotion when he’s on holiday in the Bahamas – (hence his extra red, shiny nose) and makes the zoo-keeper forget to lock the gates and all of the animals escape and cause chaos in the village!

I’ve since written a book called ‘Get That Job’ based on my 30+ years experience gained working in the corporate world. This book will help job-seekers at every stage of the process to getting a new job or moving up the career ladder.

I’ve also co-written a book called ‘The Weird and Wonderful Onesie’ – a book about a teddy bear who comes to life when he dons a magic onesie. That book is all about having a best friend, football and adventures in far flung places. The first book is set in Peru.

There’s also a Cuddle Monster called Oxy (short for Oxytocin – the cuddle hormone) which helps children sleep better – after all, how can monsters visit you when you have the Cuddle Monster sleeping under your bed to protect you and munch up all your bad thoughts? You can see some of my books on my website here: https://writemybook.co.uk/the-bookshelf/

My latest book is a template which the reader can fill in themselves and it’s designed to help you write your Life Story – it’s called ‘In My Own Words’ and it’s for sale on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Own-Words-write-Story/dp/1738522598

‘The Author’s Journey – due out August 1 is a book I’ve co-written with my business partner, David Hambling. This book will help every aspiring author and guides them through every step of the book writing and self-publishing journey.

3) To be a good writer you must be a reader – who are your favourite authors and why?

There are so many and I’m discovering new ones every day. I love Joanne Harris, Lee Child, Agatha Christie, Conan-Doyle, James Norbury, Walter Moers, Neil Gaimon and more recently I’ve started reading Terry Pratchett. I’ve read all of the books written by the authors I’ve worked with and if I’ve not got a book close by, I’ll read pretty much anything. There’s something to learn from every line written – there’s as much to learn from badly written books as well as well written books.

4) What’s been the biggest challenge in getting your book onto the bookshelf for sale?

Without a doubt – learning how to market your book so that it becomes ‘known’. Writing it is the easy bit (believe it or not). If your book isn’t known about, then it might be the best book in the world but if no-one knows about it, then it will be the best kept secret and there’ll be no sales.

5) What aspects of writing a book should you get help with?

As a very minimum – get your book professionally edited. Whilst you might know someone who is good at grammar and punctuation, editing is so much more than that. Getting the right font, the right spacing, making sure that the margins are set right (ever read a book where you’ve had to break the spine to read it?), indexing, page numbering, readability and general ‘look’ of a book, front and back cover and back cover ‘blurb’ all comes under what an ‘editor’ can help with. You’ve spent so much time writing it – would you rather correct mistakes before or after you’ve hit the ‘publish’ button?

6) What advice would you give to any other aspiring author in our community?

Start writing. Join a group and get some accountability. There’s a writing group that meets at Coalville CAN once a week and there’s also the ‘Write Together’ group that meets online once a week – Sunday, 9am till 10am on zoom – the link is at the bottom of the page or get in touch – mandy@tbwr.co.uk if you’d like to join us.

7) Where can they go for additional support in writing / getting their book published?

There’s plenty of help available at Coalville CAN – with their own experts in creative writing and publishing and there’s loads of help online. Buy our book ‘The Author’s Journey’ due out August 1st – email me if you’d like to be sent a link to buy when it launches – mandy@tbwr.co.uk.

You can also listen to our podcast – we talk about the Author Journey and we chat to some of the authors that we’ve worked with so far…..

8) How does an author go about finding an illustrator for their work (e.g. if it’s a book for children and/or illustrations are part of the book?)

This depends on what type of art you like. Finding an illustrator who reflects your thoughts on the type of illustration you want is the first challenge. Have you friends or family who are good at art? Have you thought of doing the illustrations yourself? Before finding your illustrator, my advice would be to create a mood board of all the types of illustration that you like – that way the artist will have a good idea of whether or not they can match what you like. Never ask an artist to work for royalties – it’s not a good way to start a professional working relationship.

9) Where can people buy your book(s) and how much are they?

Some of my books are on display at Coalville CAN and range from £7 up to £10. You can find my life story book – ‘In My Own Words’ on Amazon for £14 and there will be a stock of books available at Coalville CAN soon.

10) Are you writing another and if so, what’s it about and when will it be due out?

I’m currently writing a story a month, with the goal of completing 12 chapters that will all make up my first novel about a ‘She-Mon’ – a female demon*.

The She-Mon shows up as a face in the mirror of a woman called Karmella. With no idea who the She-Mon is and why she decided to turn up in Karmella’s mirror – she learns that the She-Mon is here to help and together they seek vengeance against those who commit crime.

*Definition of a She-Mon = *A woman whose endless patience has finally run out.

I started writing the stories in February and so far, the chapter titles are entitled - ‘The Spiker’, ‘Pic-A-Dic Bingo’ and ‘The Scammer’. If you’d like to join my VIP club and receive the stories every month in return for completing a simple feedback form, please let me know – mandy@writemybook.co.uk




If you’d like to join a supportive, local writers group, join Debbie who hosts a writing group - they meet at Coalville Can every Monday evening – here’s the link to the 'We Can Write' group at Coalville CAN.

If you’d like to join my Sunday morning ‘Write Together’ group – e mail me at mandy@tbwr.co.uk

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