Lockdown inpsiration leads to first novel from Hale author
- Credit: Ailsa Bee Photography
Hale-based life coach Debra Thorpe wrote and published her first novel in September. We asked how it all came to be
I first had the nugget of an idea for the book after completing the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru some 15 years ago. It was a fairly arduous trek with my two sisters to raise funds for the Brain and Spine Foundation as my late father was suffering from nerve damage to his spine, limiting his mobility.
In the years that followed I grew an interest in personal development and began to train in life coaching for my own general interest. Eventually I made a shift into starting my business as a women’s life and dating coach. Part of what I do is help clients to find ways to achieve the life they desire for themselves, which includes addressing mindset issues and blocks and working towards achieving goals, finding what inspires them and takes them out of their comfort zone. And then along came lockdown. I took my coaching business online and with limited opportunities to socialise I had time on my hands and it seemed to me to be the ideal chance to finally get my book out into the world.
So many people talk about ‘writing 2020 off’ and I didn’t want it to be like that. I saw an opportunity to do something different and wanted to get to the end of this strange and challenging year with a copy of my debut novel in my hands. The traditional route of seeking the representation of an agent, who would then try to get a publishing deal, is a long process and can be soul-destroying as so many new writers struggle to get a foot in the door. I realised that the quickest way to get my book published was to do so independently, so I started exploring how to publish myself using Amazon’s platform.
I loved this part of the creative process and chose to work with an illustrator and graphic designer to produce the cover concept, which has been a really interesting experience. And I engaged the help of someone who was a specialist in publishing on Amazon.
And so a few weeks ago I was able to publish my book in paperback and ebook and it has been tremendously thrilling to receive such a positive response.
So how would I describe it? The first part is set in Cheshire until the story moves to Peru. I describe it as a story about betrayal, loss and a search for love but it’s also about secrets in friendships and the fallout when they emerge. Ultimately, it’s about recovery - not just for Lisa, the main character, but for many of the trekkers too. We never know what inner struggles people around us are facing - we can be adept at keeping those things hidden. But the stresses of the trek create a pressure cooker effect and provide the spark that lights the blue touch paper - relationships can never be the same again at the end of it.
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There are several mental health issues touched on but it is also a story told with humour. To have people I don’t know contact me on social media to tell me it made them laugh out loud or that it moved them and made them cry has been wonderful. One lady wrote to say it’s left her feeling really positive and hopeful as well as giving her laughs along the way. It is such a privilege to be allowed into strangers’ lives in some small way and have such an impact.
You can find Debra’s novel, Recovery Postiion , at Amazon.co.uk.