Source: The People’s Book Prize
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In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Rachel McGrath to talk about her non-fiction book
I grew up in Redcliffe, a beach-side town north of Brisbane, Australia. In my early thirties, I moved to the UK, met my husband and bought our home in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. I’ve only recently been published, but I’ve always been an avid writer. My first book is a memoir detailing my challenges with fertility and recurrent miscarriage. I take the reader through my own story, the emotional and physical battles of a woman trying to conceive a baby. I am now enjoying blogging about this issue, as well as thinking of new ideas for new publications.
When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved writing, and was well known in my school years for creating stories. I had aspired to become an author one day, but career and lifestyle always prevented me from really pursuing it in my earlier years. I had actually written a few short stories, and children’s fantasy novels, none of which I ever had published. It’s only been in recent years, that I’ve pursued my writing with a passion and focused on making my work public.
As an Author, What Influences You the Most?
I have been fortunate to have a number of different influencers. My mother firstly has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, reinforcing that if I want something that nothing should stand in my way. It was my husband, who encouraged me to send Finding the Rainbow to a few publishers, after I had completed about two-thirds of the manuscript. Without his support, I may never have had the courage to make my story public. Finally, I have now developed great connections within the author community, across many different genres. Their creativity and passion for writing continues to inspire me to continue my journey and to keep writing!
Where did the idea for this book originate?
At first, it was a journal that I kept through an extremely difficult time in my life. Not being able to carry a baby to full term, and experiencing recurrent miscarriage was both frustrating and lonely. It’s a difficult subject, and I found personally, one that many felt uncomfortable talking about openly. I was also frustrated with the system, and lack of knowledge around why it was happening to me. So I wrote everything down. Eventually, I realised that my story was something many women face, and I wanted to break that silence by publicizing my fertility struggles.
The People’s Book Prize nominees are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?
My readers are my most important influencers. They are my critiques and my support; it is their voice that inspires me to look at how I can reach and connect further to an audience I have never personally met. I have been overwhelmed by the people I’ve met through the readership of my story, and I continue to embrace their support.
We like to think there’s a voice for everyone in Publishing – what is your opinion?
I like to think that everyone has a story in them. Whether it’s a non-fiction or fantasy, we all have the ability to tell stories, and it’s just about finding the genre and style that works best for each individual. With millions of books out there and different stories, there are still so many more to tell. Anyone who approaches me about their ambitions to become a writer, I encourage wholeheartedly. I say follow your dreams and anything is possible.
Pegasus Publisher publishes a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?
It’s great to see a myriad of different authors, genres and styles being represented, and especially seeing a handful of us represented at People’s Book Prize awards. I’m looking forward to the evening where I can truly connect with some of them, and I wish everyone luck in the awards ceremony.
What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?
As a girl I loved Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It was the only novel she published, and certainly a very dramatic read, but I must have read that book two or three times at least. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I don’t have a specific genre I prefer. What I’ve enjoyed more recently, is discovering new and independent authors, avoiding the mainstream best sellers and truly finding some great talent that isn’t represented by the publicity and backing of your big publishing companies. A book I’ve just finished is the Healer by Christoph Fischer, an author from Wales. If you haven’t read Christoph’s work, I highly recommend it.
What can we expect from you in the future? What are you writing at the moment?
I am actually working on the follow up to ‘Finding the Rainbow’. My memoir ended after multiple miscarriages and with the hope of a new day. Since then, my journey to become a mother has certainly offered many more challenges, and at times difficult decisions. I continued to keep a journal through all of my experiences, and I’m blessed now to be pregnant! I will be eight months at the awards ceremony, and it would be so wonderful to see my first book recognised, and for me to walk on stage before this baby is born. The second book, ‘Embracing the Storm’, I hope to finish once our baby arrives in August, so I can really end with a happy ending.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for your consideration of my book in this awards process and thank you to everyone who has voted. It’s just brilliant to be part of a great community of authors and to have Finding the Rainbow recognised publicly.
Find Rachel at: rachelmcgrath.net
The People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.