At long last, my book will be published on 28 June, 2021!
The Only Living Lady Parachutist can be ordered directly from Nationwide (free postage within NZ) or better still ask your local bookshop or library to order in copies.
I’ve engaged Margaret Samuels from LighthousePR for media publicity and she has quite a few interviews lined up. Not nervous at all, really…
The Only Living Lady Parachutist will be launched at the wonderful Petone bookstore, Schrödingers on Friday 2nd July at 6pm.
Publication has been a massive learning curve, but I’m grateful for help from these people:
Laya Mutton-Rogers, LayaRoseArt, who designed the cover. She was fantastic to work with and didn’t seem to mind my continual last-minute requests. I love the cover she has created.
Lesley Marshall, Editline, whose eagle-eye picked up anything I’d fudged and her edits have made the prose crisp and clear. I learnt so much from the editing process.
Shani Naylor for her dedicated proof-reading.
Jane Thompson, Pegasus Communications, for my author photo. Her forte is horses, so I’m thankful I look relatively normal and not like a horse.
Christine Borra and Amanda Sutcliffe from YourBooks, who have guided me through the minefield of getting a book into print with incredible patience.
Pip McKay, also a first-time author, who gave me useful and practical advice about self-publishing.
The story so far…
I first learnt about Leila Adair in early 2012 from a blog-post on Scott Hamilton’s ‘Reading the Maps,’ where he traced her trajectory from Steele Park in Hamilton, and I was intrigued enough to investigate further. That same year, I signed up for NaNoWriMo in November and managed to churn out 20,000 words — I’m a slow writer, so that felt like a super-human feat. I know, monkeys with typewriters etc, but NaNoWriMo did get me started on the writing — otherwise I’d still be procrastinating with the research.
I polished that jumble of scenes into something slightly more coherent and in 2014 was successful in my application to the NZSA Mentorship programme. By the end of 2015 I had the first draft finished and was shortlisted for the Lilian Ida Smith Award. In 2016 I was the recipient of a NZSA manuscript assessment. More drafts followed and then in 2018 the manuscript was accepted by an agent — but unfortunately after six months it wasn’t picked up by any publishers.
Following that disappointment, I commissioned a structural assessment from The History Quill and in a blunt but honest report Andrew Noakes pointed out a major structural flaw and plenty of minor ones. After my initial dismay, I eventually got on with following his suggestions to improve it. I was feeling pretty discouraged by this point but at the end of 2020 I sent it off to their beta reading service. I signed up for a workshop with Linda Cassells of Calico Publishing and she talked me through what I needed to do and more importantly gave me the confidence to self-publish. To my relief the beta readers’ reports were positive and I finally felt brave enough to make that leap into publishing.