#IndieSpotlight – Author Kate Abley

Independent Author Kate Abley talks about how she came to writing Changing the Subject and Self Publishing

“I now had rather a good book, had written another, and no agent. What to do? BBC Radio 4 is on as soon as I get up and goes off by 8.30 pm when I finally leave the kitchen. BBC Radio 4 has been telling me for some time that self-publishing is no longer the reserve of the bad memoir but is becoming more and more of a thing for ordinary writers too. I did a bit of Googling and decided why not? 

Hello from soggy, stinky old London, England, and welcome to a little bit about me, Kate Abley, and my first ever Indie Spotlight for Changing the Subject. I am so happy that Beth has given me this opportunity; her book review blog one of the best I’ve seen as I trawl through the internet world for people willing to give me a free leg-up. You know because you’re here but I will say it anyway; Before-We-Go is visually attractive and wittily written, and of course contains some great reviews. 

Book bloggers in general get quite a bit of praise among the self-publishing community online, and deservedly so. They give up what free time they have to support us writers in reaching potential readers. More: bloggers advise us readers as we navigate through the sea of fiction that churns around us, helping us know the best place to put down our hard-earned cash and make a find that suits our taste. As you say over there in the US; Go Beth! (Note from Beth – This means the world to me. Thank you)

But this post is about me, me, me the writer and I should get back to it. Here is the blurb from the back cover of Changing the Subject;

Welcome to the first comic contemporary novel from Kate Abley. Sue, a nice lady from Chingford, was 18 in 1979. Now, thanks to an Alzheimer’s Drugs trial gone wrong, or right, she is 18 again. But she soon remembers that youth isn’t all plain sailing; she’s in the dating pool with her daughters, the political waters are stormy and the public-private octopus wants her mental capacity. Are Somali pirates the only people she can trust? Can she navigate herself to freedom?

Sashay, stride, and scuffle in great boots and brave hat choices, with Sue and her friends as they do battle with Big Fat Pharmas, off-piste agents and the DNA lottery.

You can buy it by clicking here:

About the Book

Changing the Subject, out on Amazon on September 30th 2019, was intended to be a potential best seller, where the plucky but uncontroversial main character gets to be young again and has an adventure. This was foolish, someone like me can’t write books like that. Luckily, Changing the Subject is really quite funny, the main character wonderful, and she does have an adventure.

It’s difficult to try and write a contemporary novel in present day London. The last few years have been a bit chaotic to say the least and this has affected part ot the plot; medical research, multi-national pharmaceutical companies and the NHS, as well as everything else. I couldn’t not mention it. But since no-one knows what is happening now, let alone what is going to happen, what could I do? Make the big fat pharma bad guy Swiss. Switzerland is not in the EU. Job done, sort of.

 But then I fell a little in love with Sue, the main character, who turned out to be rather brave and clever. I wanted simply to imagine a person very different from me. I am from a left-liberal background and got ‘lefter’ as I got older. If I had been 18 in 1979 I would, like the rest of my family and friends, have voted for Bernie Grant, a Labour Party man of colour who always stood in North Kensington and never got into Parliament because of South Kensington being bigger and Conservative with Cs both big and small and all in bold. There are actual Palaces in South Kensington. Not North Ken, where the Notting Hill Carnival began ten days before I was born.

I wanted to see if I could imagine what someone who had voted for the winner, Margaret Thatcher, felt and thought at the time and might think now. The answer is: somewhat confused but up for whatever comes her way. Changing the Subject isn’t just funny, its optimistic too.

Sue finds that ‘the good ole NHS’ is no more on her side than ‘Big Pharma’ and she, and her friends and family, have to sort things out for themselves. Does she get it right? What can I say, the woman is British; she drinks. 

Did I mention you can buy it here?

About Me, Me, Me

I am new to self-publishing and if you want a giggle at the less than comfortable journey I’ve been taking over the last few months, you can visit my Diary of a Self-Publisher at kateabley.com. Brits of a certain age, particularly female ones, were brought up to be ridiculously self-deprecating. From saying that the soup is probably horrible to my writing is probably not to your taste I have been schooled since childhood in putting myself down. In fact, recognising that, actually, I am rather a good writer, and telling people about it is no bad thing has been good for me.

I am not new to writing, both my parents earn a living from traditional publishing. A childhood full of the click-clack and then a whir of typewriters, sometimes very loud debates and hastily prepared suppers are probably what put me off for decades. I had always enjoyed writing; making an effort to be amusing in emails and letters and scribbling little stories, but the idea of subjecting myself to the writer’s lifestyle never entered my head. 

I was a lot of other things over the years but most of my jobs have centred around young children. When I got too achy to give Early Years, that is Kindergarten and First Grade, teaching my best efforts a couple of years ago I looked around for something else to do. 

We don’t live extravagantly and that old sofa will do for a few years yet so making a full-time salary isn’t a necessity like it was when the mortgage was bigger. I having been paying into the National Health Service (NHS) since I was 17 and, while appalling from the perspective of someone who was actually paid by the state to be educated to a socially useful standard, our system of student loans is in truth quite reasonably priced. At the time our two sons were both in secondary, high, school and did not need me to save up or to be picked up and dropped off all the bloody time any more. 

These two things; financial security and older children, gave me the biggest luxury of all; time. Time to take a breath after the whirlwind years of paid work, childcare and taking very slobby care of our little house. Time to think. Time to read more. And time to do what it turned out I found myself having to do; write. I can’t help it and liken it to a disease on my website.

I had an agent, courtesy of my dad asking a favour from a friend. His friend got his friend to be my agent and I don’t think he was that keen. In addition, the first draft was a mess. The agent’s assistant submitted it to a few publishers and then stopped answering my emails. The wonderful editor John Davey, who doesn’t do social media so I can’t add a link, not only edited Changing the Subject, but also taught we where I was going wrong so that I could edit myself as I went along. I also got some positive feedback from what I have now learned are Beta Readers, that is friends who are willing to comment on my book.

I now had rather a good book, had written another, and no agent. What to do? BBC Radio 4 is on as soon as I get up and goes off by 8.30 pm when I finally leave the kitchen. BBC Radio 4 has been telling me for some time that self-publishing is no longer the reserve of the bad memoir but is becoming more and more of a thing for ordinary writers too. I did a bit of Googling and decided why not? 

So, in July I made a website, Facebook page and a Twitter account. I have signed up with various bookish websites and now I have even set up an Instagram account, although I can be at a bit of a loss as to what put on it. And all September, when I wasn’t doing a fair bit of paid, and a tiny bit of house, work, I have marketed, marketed, marketed. Marketing is not hard but can be a little soul destroying to begin with. I have sent out nearly 200 review requests. But I’m getting feedback now and my soul is being revived. I have virtually met some wonderful, and the odd, and I mean odd, not so great people. I am also really rather excited. Changing the Subject came out on Monday and I can’t wait to see who buys it and what response I get. 

Will you buy it I wonder? You can if you click here.

About the Book - Changing the Subject

About the Book

Welcome to the first comic contemporary novel from Kate Abley. Sue, a nice lady from Chingford, was 18 in 1979. Now, thanks to an Alzheimer’s Drugs trial gone wrong, or right, she is 18 again. But she soon remembers that youth isn’t all plain sailing; she’s in the dating pool with her daughters, the political waters are stormy and the public-private octopus wants her mental capacity. Are Somali pirates the only people she can trust? Can she navigate herself to freedom?
Sashay, stride, and scuffle in great boots and brave hat choices, with Sue and her friends as they do battle with Big Fat Pharmas, off-piste agents and the DNA lottery.

Sue, a nice light electricals designer from Chingford, has started wondering again, now she is back on dry land. She has a lot to wonder about. The Alzheimer’s drugs trial she volunteered for, because her best friend’s mum was suffering, has left her looking and feeling 18 years old again. Her DNA is now worth a great deal of money and she is worried that she can’t even trust the good ole NHS. She ran away from the mess made of her life by her rejuvenation only to end up chained to a hospital bed. Now she has escaped and is trying to get home again. She misses her daughters, who now look like her sisters and the only person who can help her get back is her ex-husband.

You can buy it here.

About the Author

I am Kate Abley and was accidentally born and intentionally live in London, England, where, amongst other things I have been an awful front woman in a terrible psychobilly band, good dish-washer, bad shop assistant, officially outstanding Early Years teacher, adequate child consultant, nice charitable fund-giver, passable event organiser and failed political activist. Last century, I wrote the useful non-fiction book, ‘Swings and Roundabouts: The Dangers of Outdoor Play Safety’ (1999), Sheffield Hallam Press.

Nowadays, I am a respectable and happily married woman with two children who have grown up pretty well and have turned my hand to killing plants and writing stories. I have nothing against cats, fear all dogs and quite like Marmite.

I will be self-publishing my book, 

‘Changing the Subject’, on September 30th, deal or no deal.

‘Hausa Blue’ will be out in 2020

I will post a photo of myself when I find one I like, don’t hold your breath.

Where to find Her

Comments

  1. miscellanypages

    This sounds like a really unique read that doesn’t take itself too seriously! I also think the Indie Spotlight feature is a fantastic idea to increase the visibility of self published authors 😊
    📕MP📚 X x x

    1. Beth Tabler

      Her book sounds It like a lot of fun! The Indiespotlight has been so rewarding for both me and who is featured. I love connecting people to cool authors.

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