Tuesday 21 May 2024

Amanda Jones talks to me about her recently published book Kathleen


So, Amanda,your book started life as a CafeLit serial.  How did that work for you? 


Submitting the stories as a serial on CafeLit kept me focused on regularly writing each section. I like the way each ‘chapter’ can be read individually or together and you can dip in and out. It is particularly helpful when writing about difficult subjects both for the writer and the reader. For many years now I have been enjoying CafeLit. As part of this I created videos sharing the links on my social media and this is very useful in marketing and visualising the themes running through the book.


We decided to publish it under the “feisty women” imprint? Was that a good idea?


Publishing under the ‘feisty women’ imprint was a brilliant idea. Mum was a very determined, feisty woman but also sensitive and loving, living through her difficulties. This set me up for life and enabled me to see how to adapt to challenges. Integrity with kindness is essential.


It’s quite a short book – but perfectly formed.  How did you decide which content to put in and which to leave out?


Writing in a short style enabled me to share and process challenges succinctly. Elaborating on themes would have made a sense of overwhelming and the journey is paramount to the book. Learning, accepting and finding the value of the present moment is where I wanted to lead the reader through aspects of love. It is aimed especially at people with experience of young caring and disability so that is the focus. When I was experiencing difficult times reading positive turnarounds really helped and I wanted to emulate this; there is a way through and forward and caring is a huge, impactful reassurance in forming empathy.


We have quite  bit of your mother’s work in the book. Why did you decide to include that?


Including my mother’s work was both a visual and written way to break the story and be a tribute to Mum. The illustrations are all her work before she lost her sight and they were part of a college course in the 1970s. I like the way they show different styles and the positions in the book could spark thought. ‘What does a ball of string represent in life?’ could be something we ask. The detail is all freehand and I am amazed at her talent and it means a lot to me to include them. Mum’s writing at the end of the book somehow summarises everything smoothly, as I selected the pieces from her written calligraphy.


Memoir of biography? or, indeed a bit of both?  


The book is both a memoir and biography. Perspective change is part of the writing style chosen which I toyed with but comfortably settled on. On previous attempts to write about life I found it too challenging hence this style was helpful.


Are you organising any talks or events around the book?


I am talking about the book at the upcoming Quaker Arts Network AGM on 1st June 2024 in Birmingham in a short presentation. Then I’ll see where marketing takes me. Social media is where I share the book links and also share support for young carers and people with disabilities and this is where I would like to continue to increase awareness. Networks in health where I’m a Peer Leader are encouraging me to share the book as personal experience is so vital in working to improve services. I have a list of ideas for future events.


What's the next project?


I’m working on a horror story as a sequel to my book ‘The Doll’s House of Horror’ and enjoying writing this.

Find Kathleen in our online bookshop.  

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