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Colette Kebell on Writing For a Living

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Colette Kebell on writing for a livingMy guest this week is Colette Kebell who, despite a very hectic schedule, managed to write this post on time and send all the required information to me. Thank you, Colette! She is the author of three novels, and in this post she has chosen to write about how she ended up writing for a living. Over to you, Colette.

Writing for a living.

Imagine if you were a burned-out legal secretary who couldn’t take the daily grind anymore and you are part way there as to what brought me to the world of writing.  I’d had enough of the long hours, slaving away, shouting for work to be completed and client contact.  Then I was made redundant and knowing full well that I would be missed and there would be a replacement eventually (their workload dictated that not me) became rather angry at the situation I found myself in.

I turned to writing as it was a cheap outlet for my frustrations and I found it incredibly cathartic to release the anger I felt at the time and because I had no more energy in my life to face the rat race again.  I wrote some of my ex-employers into the characters of my book, I put on paper a dream job and bingo I had a chick lit with grit and attitude.

I’m guessing this is not the usual kind of post your readers would see, but I wanted to write something different and to show that when life gets you down, there are ways to pull yourself up by the short and curlies and soldier on regardless.   Some might think, including my own husband, that this might be considered to be a negative post but I find it quite the opposite.  I believe that if I could tell a bit of my back story, then that might encourage others to not only do the same but also encourage them to take that leap and find other avenues for what upsets them, without resorting to things that might get them into some kind of trouble.

Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) was my first book baby and it was not only fun to write (there was so much laughter in my household during the process) as I often passed it to my husband to have a read through, but it also solved my anger issue all on its own.  There is something quite wonderful in writing what to all intense and purposes is a rom-com or chick-lit novel and being able to add some angst with a villain to contend with.  Don’t get me wrong though, Blue and Green is not a memoir, far from it.  I just used the basis of some of the people I had come across in my life to start the story and then it took on its own life as I wrote it.

For me, writing my book was the easy part… the hard part was finding out how to get my book to market and then marketing it myself.  I’m not a natural when it comes to marketing.  I don’t enjoy blowing my own trumpet, but found myself in that exact position once I had cracked the “getting my book to market part”.  I had a wonderful mentor who guided me towards Amazon and their self-publishing arm, so armed with a book that had been copy-edited, I had to find someone to produce a cover.  Thankfully, having posted on Facebook about my hunt an ex-colleague, a friend and a solicitor, pointed me in the direction of her future sister-in-law, Lizzie Gardiner, who at the time worked for Harper Collins and bingo, after sending her across a brief of what I needed, I had my cover and thankfully have received many compliments about it since.  I, therefore, discovered that if you want your work to be out there for all to read and enjoy, writing is far from a cheap option, having had to pay for a professional copy editor and a cover designer, but there is little point in sending something out for the world to see and buy in its raw state as errors might not be forgiven.

You can imagine, writing Romance when angry was no simple task.  By the time the Romance came into my story though I had calmed down and actually enjoyed the process of doing so.  But first, I had to centre myself and get into the mind frame for writing.  Thankfully, my husband has a great sense of humour and he did his utmost to keep me on track when things started to slip a bit from time to time.  Blue and Green is the result of that journey and it is a fun, light-hearted and quirky read and should have you laughing out loud at times, as it did me when writing it.

Do other authors use real-life people that they know and have met in their stories you might ask?  I have no doubt that they do.  You only have to think of the writer of Only Fools and Horses, John Sullivan, to answer that question.  He readily admitted he would sit in a public place, whether a pub or somewhere else and eavesdrop on conversations for material for his writing.  I don’t quite go to those lengths, I hate to earwig on other’s conversations as I feel as though I am intruding in their life, but I also add a pinch of real life in my stories, it could not be otherwise. But don’t be fooled, in some respects, what I write is “real” even when it is not. I spend months talking to fictitious characters, trying to understand them, what makes them act, how they think and react. They become friends, I live their lives and they stay with me long after a novel is complete.

But back to Romance, why did I write stories that include and involve Romance?  Because I could and because these days people need something to uplift them and distract them from the doldrums of what everyday life can be like for some.  Books are a way to escape into another world, one of fiction and so bringing smiles and laughter is what I have decided I enjoy most.  I have turned my hand to other genres and shall continue to do so as I enjoy the variety that brings, but I shall most likely always return to my rom-com/chick-lit roots as if I find them fun to write I hope, and from the reviews, I have received, that seems to be the case, the laughter comes across the pages to the readers who take the time to enjoy my books.

Writing for a living.

A concept that is often associated with earning. Trust me that is not the case, writing for a living for me is finally a way of freely expressing myself. I can be heard.

That is the way of living I’ve chosen.

Colette Kebell is an eclectic author, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She publishes mostly for the English speaking market and the Italian one.  Colette Kebell does not stick to just one genre when writing though, as you shall discover from her latest book to be launched on 5th April 2019

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and, when not writing and marketing her books, she likes cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

She can be found on Twitter @ColetteKebell though doesn’t tweet a vast amount.

You can follow Colette on Amazon here.

Colette Kebell Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen

GiGi (well, Griselda Griswald actually, but everybody calls her GiGi) is a woman with a mission: to help people improve the way they look, increase their self-esteem, and eventually, make them happier. Being a personal shopper is a dark art, with few tangible rewards. Spread by word of mouth, her clients would never admit they needed her assistance. Not even if they were put under torture. Let us be honest, who would admit to being in need of a style consultant? It is like being an alcoholic: the first step is to admit you need help, and acknowledge that that pair of leggings, now that you are in your mid-fifties, do not suit you anymore. When you have recognized it, you are on the path to recovery, and GiGi’s services will help you, despite her mother nagging that what she is doing is not a “real” job. People need advice and often a fresh point of view helps in rejuvenating a wardrobe that, with time, has become boring. Would they admit it? Not a chance! So, it is just a matter of going around and helping people buying clothes and shoes? Not quite so.

Money is tight; GiGi has to work with rich and very eccentric people, who often do not have any idea about what they want. She and her business partner Ritchie are in a constant struggle to keep the business afloat, but as they say in Dragon’s Den, she is very investable. But, with success comes the difficulties, the Battersea Fashion Center is going to open soon, just opposite of her office, and they claim they will be fierce competitors. A powerful enemy is lining up ready to make a meal out of her, knowing very well that GiGi’s approach, eventually, will make her a force to be reckon with. Whilst she invents new ways to make her consultancy firm successful, she finds who could be the love of her life, thanks to some of her best friends.The business is eventually expanding and they take onboard new partners along the way, making them one of the most influential fashion consultancy firms in London. But, with a very demanding job, hours and hours spent working, will she be able to balance her career and her private life? Will she reach a point where she loses focus on what is important in life? Do not worry; mother is there to remind her, with her nagging.

You can buy Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen here.