Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with Bethany Bauerle


My next author interview is with Bethany Bauerle who writes fantasy books for Middle Grade & Young Adults. She is in the middle of setting up MindGarden Books, which will be dedicated to creating stories with neurodiverse characters, and stories that teach children of all age groups about kindness, empathy, acceptance, and the joy of reading! She will also be looking for fellow indie authors when it becomes a publishing company.

It's a fascinating story and our interview goes live on the 1st February. In the meantime, you can follow her links below:

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Monday, January 15, 2024

Author interview with Kacey Kells

My first author interview of 2024 is with the amazing Kacey Kells and I have to admit, she's blown me away! Her non-fiction books focus on women and her reason for writing is both heartbreaking and inspirational, so let's meet her:

'I am 29. I was born and raised in Victoria BC, Canada; I moved to London (with my mom) when I was 17, then I lived 2 years in Paris, and I’m now living with my fiancé in Cannes.

I finished my degrees in London and Paris, and wrote two books.
I’m a feminist, and I firmly believe that a society cannot achieve all its potential if it discriminates women and girls or doesn’t give them equal opportunities!'

Her two books are:

“Kellcey”, a memoir and a book committed to denounce rape culture and abuses against women and girls. It was traditionally published in 2017, becoming an indie publication in 2020 (and we'll go more into that later!)

“(His)Story of Women: The ‘second’ Sex?” investigates the origins and consequences of the objectification of women to further explain the importance of the empowerment of women. It was indie published in 2022.

Kacey has created a tweetable for you below (tweet here):

Books women were waiting for! ‘Kellcey’ and ‘(His)Story of Women’ are two amazing books, each different in their approach, but chronicling the plight of women and their subjugation and inequality through time, championing Women’s Rights and Equal Rights for Women

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that "Kellcey" is a memoir and tackles the difficult subject of rape. It doesn't take much to join the dots here and my heart broke for Kacey. I imagine most people would hide away rather than publishing a book about such an intensely personal tragedy - what made her take this route?

'Initially, I didn’t mean to become a writer. After I got raped, we (Mom and I) moved from Victoria to London. I felt my life was shattered; I was like trapped in bubble, completely unable to communicate. I was diagnosed with a PTSD. 

One day, my counsellor told me that, if I refused to speak, I could try to write something like a personal diary and explain what I was unable to express orally. I started and…. everything came easily! Then she asked permission to read it, and I agreed. 

Soon she and my mom tried to convince me to edit my diary and publish it. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was this girl who had been raped and humiliated; but they argued that this could be helpful to other victims, and it could also help people understand what it is to be a victim and the aftermath of a rape. A close relative contacted Olympia Publishers in London, and they published it in November 2017.'

I find this extraordinary! Being her own story, how difficult did she find it to write?

'The characters in the book are real people, mostly relatives, but it was way more difficult when it came to writing about those who sexually abused me. It was hard to find the words… sometimes, I had to stop because it was too hard.'

I have nothing but praise for this incredible young lady. I don't know if you've seen Kacey on Twitter/ X, but she's one of the most upbeat people there, full of fun and life - what an outstanding transformation. 

I assume she read the reviews, so what reaction did she receive from readers and who is reading her work?

'Yes I do read the reviews! Fortunately, the vast majority are extremely satisfying. Of course, it’s extremely pleasant and rewarding to read such reviews. If they are not entirely positive, it hurts me, but I know that it’s part of the game.

Among the readers who gave me their feedback, those who alleged having been victim of sexual aggression told me that reading "Kellcey" had been helpful for them and that they identified themselves with the main character. That’s exactly what I wanted!

Other readers are always extremely supportive, and I’m left with the impression that my second objective is met: to help people -women and men- better understand that committing rape is not a petty crime, and that the consequences for the victims are extremely severe.

As far as I know my readership is women, who feel more concerned with the issues analysed in my books, but male readers enjoy reading them too and have given me positive feedback.

"Kellcey" reads as a novel. “(His)Story of women”, in spite of its academic character, was written to be accessible to everyone and this should not be a barrier to readers.'

What can she tell us about (His)Story of Women?

'The story is different. This book investigates the origins and consequences of the objectification of women to further explain the importance of the empowerment of women. It’s a book I HAD TO write and publish, to explain what the conditions of women and girls are and were, and how such historical discriminations penalize (not only females but) society! 

It starts with an academic study of the evolution of gender roles since the first Neolithic societies until today, and includes a huge variety of analysis and references to Anthropology, Genetics, History and Sociology.'

It sounds amazing! Did she enjoy researching it or did she just get angrier the more she found out (I imagine I would!)?

'I sincerely enjoyed the process of researching my topic! It’s probably what I do the best. 

Regarding the status of women and girls throughout history, and their absolute objectification and victimization, it is indeed frustrating to see how they (we) have been treated since the late Neolithic. But it’s not surprising!

However, there were several things which were extremely positive and gave a radically different perception of what and who females really are: 

History and anthropology show that in pre-agricultural societies, gender parity is a fact; and comparative primatology shows that, among the non-human primate communities, many are matriarchal. 

Genetics and the study of the X and Y chromosomes proves that the X is both stronger and far more complex than the tiny Y, whose only use is to help males to get their sexual attributes. Hence the X, or feminine principle, is obviously superior to the Y!'

(I'm giggling here, as I'm sure some readers will have something to say about that 😁) She continues,

'The Feminist theories in International Relations insist on the fact that, since females are less aggressive and more altruistic than males, empowering women would help alleviate international tensions and contribute to achieve better governance.

To sum up, we could say that patriarchal supremacy is not scientifically founded and that past societies suffered because of a lack of gender balance and equity. Hence, empowering women is the only option to cope with the ever more complex stakes posed by the future global society.'

Can she give us an extract?

“A balanced and strong society cannot treat girls and women as a weak link; rather, it must see them as a full part of the community. A society cannot achieve all its potential if such discriminations remain.”

Hear, hear! And how long did her books take to write?

'Writing “Kellcey” took less than four months.
It took nearly a year to write (+ research) “(His)Story of Women”'

And does she have any plans to write more?

'It’s not clear, yet. I’d love to write a novel, but I’m not sure I can! It requires such skills and power of imagination… But I have so many things to say, especially about the conditions of women and girls throughout time… 

Sometimes, I dream I could write a science fiction or fantasy book about women in a future civilization that, in certain ways, would look like ancient Greece and Rome…with modern technologies, of course…'

This sounds brilliant, she needs to write it!

'For the moment, I don’t feel ready or capable to start writing such a novel; I need time to develop a scenario, to organise a coherent story line.'

Oh, she's so very wise for her years! She continues,

'Books are part of my life, but I feel I’m more a reader than a writer (even if I have to write papers, etc for the university).  

Writing is like the natural extension of reading, and a way to express myself. But it seems that I cannot write only to write. I need clear ideas, I need to know what I’m going to say, where I’m going to. 

With “Kellcey”, things came naturally, but “(His)Story of Women” required much more research and writing work. As a consequence, I have a weird feeling of emptiness when I’m in between writing processes.'

I can understand that. She admitted that she loves working as a University Research and Teaching Assistant, which keeps her busy, but as an established writer, what advice would she give to aspiring writers?

'Do not hesitate! Do it! Start writing; it’s a wonderful and inspiring experience!'

I love her enthusiasm! Does she have a daily writing routine now these books are finished? 

'I don’t. My two books came from two different psychological dynamics and motivations. “Kellcey” came naturally and fast because it was about memories and feelings, something very personal and powerful. It was also a way to heal… and it helped. 

“(His)Story of Women” was made in parallel with my work as a student in university and required extensive academic research. It was hence longer to write than my first book. But I really enjoyed the experience!'

What does she consider the hardest part of writing/ getting published?

'Everything came easily and naturally. However, I was disappointed by my publisher; it’s why I decided to republish my first book as an indie when the contract ended. I’m really satisfied with Amazon KDP, both in paperback version and kindle.'

Why didn't traditional publishing didn't work for her? 

'I wouldn’t like to generalise! There are certainly examples of extremely supportive publishers. I was of course initially extremely grateful that they accepted to publish my book; and honestly, they did a good job and I was thrilled when I saw it for the first time! 

Disappointment came later, when I realised their total inefficiency to promote the book. I had to do it all by myself and started using social media to promote "Kellcey". 

When the contract ended, I decided to go on independently, now with Amazon to publish the paperback and Kindle versions. I was so satisfied that I renewed the experience with my second book! The advantages are obvious: freedom, control over operations and decisions, consistency.'

And what does she enjoy the most about writing?

'I like the calm and intellectual endeavour generated by writing and research. I love the passionate feelings that empower me when I’m writing. It makes me feel fully alive! But, first and foremost, writing is a unique opportunity to express my ideas, my feelings, my convictions. Writing is the best way for me to speak since for some reasons I generally feel uncomfortable when the time comes for me to speak (sometimes, I’m like paralysed, speechless…).'

Wow, that surprises me, but talking about her convictions, I’ve seen her tweeting a lot about climate change/ biodiversity – why is this important to her and how involved is she in the cause?
'I am a human being, and as such my existence depends on the quality of the surrounding natural environment. I am, we all are part of it. We are elements of a system, and everything that might affect this system will have consequences on our lives. 

Preserving Nature and the ecological systems isn’t an ideology, but an absolute necessity for every form of life on Earth.
As a woman, I will one day become a mother, and I want my future children and their descendants to live a normal and happy life; and this won’t be if we destroy the environment. It is as simple as that! Women Empowerment, Human Rights, and Preserving the Planet are different sides of the same coin!
But there is more to it. 

Biodiversity is a gift, an extremely precious treasure made of beauty and wonders. We do not own these beauties and wonders; but we need them. We have no right to destroy thoughtlessly any form of life, any species, or the whole planet. It’s not just about self-interest, it’s about ethics, too!'
Well said Kacey! Human rights also feature in many of her posts - is this another passion?

'How can I promote Women’s Rights if I do not care about Human Rights? It’s the same reality, the same logic. And it’s not just about ethics: promoting Human Rights and Women’s Rights are essential to free every skill, to stimulate innovation, which is required to address the challenges posed by modern society and globalisation. We are stronger and wiser together. Exclusion and marginalisation are not only sins; they are counterproductive evils! Equal access to education and equal opportunities are essential! If the Global World is a “global village”, we all are members of the same community and need to work, live and thrive together!'

What an inspirational lady - I feel our world would be far better off with more Kacey's in it! You can find out more about her and her books by following the links below:

Website: https://kaceykells.wixsite.com/kellcey
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KaceyKells
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kacey.kells
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaceykells/

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Sunday, January 7, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with Kacey Kells

I'm delighted to advise that my next author interview is with the amazing Kacey Kells. Following on from a terrible trauma, Kacey took the decision to help others who have ben subjected to the same ordeal. It's an inspirational story and one that really moved me.
She's also passionate about women's rights, tackling climate change and so much more. It's a jam-packed interview and it'll be live here on the 15th January. 
To find out more about this talented author, please following the links below:

Website: https://kaceykells.wixsite.com/kellcey
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KaceyKells
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kacey.kells
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaceykells/

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