Interview with Stephanie Connolly, memoirist

Please welcome author Stephanie Connolly to Reviews and Interviews!

Let’s start with some introductory questions.

Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Surrey, England. I now live in a quiet little village on the Northamptonshire/Bedfordshire borders.

Do you write full-time?
I do indeed, though I juggle my writing with being a mumma, wife and small time zoo-keeper 😉

What made you decide to tackle the genre(s) you write in?
When it comes to reading I have always been a fan of fiction and fantasy. I enjoy the feeling of escapism when I pick up a good book. Yet I find I write not to escape reality but to embrace it. To make sense of it. For me my work is a form of therapy and for others I hope it is a form of comfort.

Please tell us about your current release, Give a Girl the Right Pair of Shoes and She Can Conquer the World.
Give a girl the right pair of shoes… is a book of personal memoirs, documenting some of my toughest conquests to date. It deals with issues such as the tragedy of losing my baby boy, dealing with depression and anxiety and surviving a pretty brutal assault. I try to shed light, humour and happiness on even the darkest of situations in order to inspire and encourage others who might be able to relate. I’m brutally honest about my experiences of pregnancy, parenting, labour and love and the book is also peppered with articles on an array of topics too, from romance to money . . . And all that is inbetween.

What inspired you to write and publish this book?
Initially, I kept journals and blogs documenting my day-to-day experiences and situations until I was approached and asked if I might consider consolidating the entries into a book of memoirs. The opportunity was an absolute thrill for me and I loved every minute of it!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Because the book is so personal, I found editing and re-reading some of the most tragic situations, emotionally exhausting at times. Yet on the other hand creating and sharing this book enabled me to truly channel some of my own negative experiences into something so positive, so it was all worthwhile in the end.

Did you learn anything from writing your book? If so, what was it?
I have learnt that we all have a story to share. That there is indeed light and happiness to be found in even the darkest corners of the world. And that if you really want to achieve something all you need to do is put your mind to it. In short, given the right pair of shoes a girl really can conquer the world!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
I imagine I shall read it all back in a few years time, as I do with all my work, and will find myself wishing I’d chosen this word over that, or removed a chapter here and there. Yet for now I am happy and satisfied with the final result.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I am currently working on my first ever book aimed at men. Generally I believe women make up the majority of my readership, so to truly challenge myself I intend on writing a ‘tongue in cheek’ guide to being a 21st century gentleman. Wish me luck!

What ways have you found effective for promoting your book(s)?
Word of mouth has been by far my most successful method of promoting my book. I find the Promotion and Marketing industries pretty tough to crack, though am very grateful for the excuse to spend hours upon hours on every social networking website going!

And now for a few fun questions.

What have you read for fun lately?
I’m ashamed to state that I haven’t read for fun in such a long time! I love contemporary womens fiction and find myself extremely excited when I discover new authors whose work I admire. As one of my New Years resolutions however I have decided to broaden my bookshelf and add a few new genres to my reading lists. So will be on the lookout for some fab books in 2010!

Besides writing, what do you do for fun? What are you hobbies?
I love music, love to sing, love to dance! I’m highly sociable and greatly enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like to cook, attempt to grow my own herbs and vegetables and love running with a nothing but a fully-loaded ipod to keep me company!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My writing tends to be described as ‘chatty.’ But I think comedy is my ‘thing ’ though I’m far funnier on paper than I am in real life!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
What didn’t I want to do?! I’ve wanted to be . . . A jockey (I grew too tall.) A supermodel (I didn’t grow tall enough.) a vet (if only I weren’t afraid of blood.) My mind changed on a pretty regular basis!

And to wrap up…

Do you have a website where writers can learn more about you and your writing?
Indeed, I also keep a blog which I update religiously, both can be found at: http://www.stephanieconnolly.com

How can people to get in touch with you?
Either on my website, on any of the social networking sites or via email: steph@stephanieconnolly.com

Thank you for your time in answering my questions. It’s been a pleasure getting to know a bit about you. Good luck with the new book.

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