We hope everyone is staying safe and well in quarantine. We were lucky enough to receive a wonderful author story from Cathy Blasonato, who authored Shanti’s Story: A Tail of Love and Magic with Dean Rawlings. Cathy speaks today about her writing journey, how she started the publishing process and her advice to aspiring authors!
I’ve always loved writing but never considered myself a writer. In my early years, I wrote poetry and I can remember being told by teachers that I was good at it. My first manuscript was a children’s story. As a three- year- old, my goddaughter would demand original bedtime stories – ones that would come from me rather than from a book, and when she decided she had a favourite, I wrote it down.
It was a little similar to my first published book. Only this time – the story was non- fiction but all the same, I found myself tired of repeating the story over and over again, so I figured I would just write it down, take it to the printers, and have a few ‘info sheets” on hand to give to friends.
When I began writing “Shanti’s Story” I realised I was getting close to having a manuscript, way more than just a few points of information. Shanti’s Story was a personal journey so I had no idea if a wider audience would be interested in reading it. My inspiration was coming from my life’s experiences but I wondered if those experiences would resonate with others. Shanti’s story is unusual as the story is told from three different perspectives. My perspective was simply relaying events, intertwined with some biographical bits and pieces. There is also my dog’s perspective and the perspective of her foster carer. Getting into the mind of a dog was the most challenging but most fun part of the writing. I began to realise that fiction writers do this all the time with their characters, almost as if “channelling” them.
With the help of a friend we began editing and putting events into chronological order, then we would go back and add in some colour. After several edits, I decided it was time to send it off. Then came a stunning reply from Olympia. They were interested in the manuscript. The production process took a while, but in the end, the book I got was exactly what I wanted. Except for some minor punctuation and layout, the book, cover design and photos were used as requested by me and Olympia were very respectful of my work throughout the entire process.
When our book was launched online, It all seemed very surreal, and when the physical books turned up, it was like a dream come true.
It’s been a challenge having to cancel a launch and various book signing events due to the pandemic lockdown. However, the marketing and online availability and having a publisher behind us makes our job so much easier and gives one credibility. As I mentioned earlier, I never set out to be a writer, but some days I do wonder if I could actually do it all again. Time will tell.