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  • 15th June 2021 - Interviewed by Bernie Keith on BBC Radio Northampton about my first self-published auto fiction book.

  • April & May 2021 - Interviewed twice on Chat and Spin Radio about my first self-published auto fiction book.

  • May 2016 - Self-published first autofiction book, entitled,          'Annus Dramaticus in 2014CE'.

  • 2014 & 2015 - Affiliated to Writers Bureau course.

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Up until the age of 16 I enjoyed reading crime novels, like Agatha Christie and P.D. James, amongst other crime authors, but, if I'm being honest, I was also a telly addict. I would normally spend long hours glued to the TV. While slumped in front of the box one spring day in holiday time, my mother came into the room and said the penetrating words, "Do you not think you should educate yourself by reading a little, rather than always watching the television mindlessly". These words were like a bolt from the blue, and a wake-up call. It completely changed my path from that moment on. 

From that age, I immersed myself in current affairs, and the Arts and Culture sections in the weekend papers. This then progressed to reading fiction and non-fiction books related to the Arts primarily. Then at university and up to the present day, I have been an avid reader of commentaries on Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation books, while still engaging in the Arts & Culture and human stories from the weekend paper supplements. Fictional books, biographies and memoirs have also not left my purview. 

I enjoyed writing dissertations and reports when studying architecture, but I particularly got into writing at the University of Warwick, where I worked for 5 years as an architect. Many long emails and reports were crafted in that environment, and I also brought to completion an Estates Strategy booklet, which I all thoroughly enjoyed. This gave me a taster for the writing to come.

My first book emerged initially from the praise of two senior order members at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, who commented on a talk I had given in 2014 about a good friend, who was departing for a four-month long ordination retreat in Spain. They asked if I wrote in my spare time, and have I ever considered writing a book. What they did was sow the seeds of belief that I could embark on the enormous challenge of completing my own book.
 
In the latter part of 2014, the thought came to me that what had happened to me in that year, and which still continued to occur into 2015 were momentous and unusual events. I felt it could lead to a fascinating and illuminating read for anyone interested in knowing more about the relationship between my mania and paranoia, the world of my architectural work, and my parallel and long-established spiritual/Buddhist path.

After a span of 18 months writing my first draft, and then subsequently going through multiple edits; I employed a book publishing company to design my first book, which was released in May 2016. This was an autofiction, as I had added a few things which were untrue, while the rest of my story actually happened. 

I received some very complimentary feedback from readers, with one of the commonest being that it was an insightful and compelling read. I took to heart one woman's comment that said it would have been better as a memoir, as it would then be a more impactful, rawer and more honest account. She thought it was an incredible and eye-opening narrative, and she would have liked to know what was the truth of my story. By penning a memoir, it would therefore not be blurring the lines between fiction and fact, which autofiction is prone to do.

After the publication of that first book and a little gap of time, I started on my journey as a painter artist, and later helping out in various roles and responsibilities at a Charity Art Gallery in Leamington Spa.

For almost two and a half years starting from when the first lockdown occurred in March 2020, I engaged in lively discussions with a professional writer friend in long phone calls every other week about life but also her imparting writing tips and techniques. At times, this became a good support for consolidating my knowledge in the field.

In August 2021, I decided I would revisit my auto fiction manuscript. Adapting it into a memoir, which is now entitled, 'Looking Out for Me: A Spiritual Journey from Paranoia to Acceptance', I spent 5 months further editing it and also adding chapter headings; after the knowledge I had gained from my professional writer friend. Once this was complete, I chose to seek out a traditional publishing house for my book.

After receiving multiple rejections and no replies, I read an article about a mental health and wellbeing publisher, called Trigger publishers. I decided to submit my manuscript to them. They couldn't offer me the possibility to publish with them, as they rarely published memoirs, but they suggested I should try their self-publishing division called Cherish Editions. I had held out for just over 10 months before finding them.
 
The model of Cherish Editions is a hybrid publishing solution, but not a vanity press. This means that I have the freedom and flexibility of self-publishing with the guidance and experience of a reputable publishing house. The best of both worlds in my opinion!

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