Invisible Tears, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Invisible Tears?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: Invisible Tears is unique, in that it details systematic child abuse in the apparently "advanced” and civilized culture of late 20th century England, and it is told, in graphic detail, through the eyes, ears, feelings and voice of a very young girl. The reader is drawn into the physical body and mind of young Abbie and not only sees, but also experiences child abuse, and in a very personal and unflinching way. It is one thing to talk and read about child abuse, but quite another thing to experience it.
Invisible Tears has opened the doors to a world most people would never imagine in their worst nightmares. The reader, male or female, not only empathizes with Abbie, they see the world through her eyes, and feel her pain. Not only through the abuse others inflict on her but the abuse she then systematically inflicts on herself. Her rebellion as a teenager, the dangerous gang life she leads, and, most importantly, her struggles to escape the self-destructive demons of her childhood, are all set against the fascinating and socially volatile period of the 1980’s revival of Mods and Skinheads.
Invisible Tears will not be an easy read for anyone, but is unique and ultimately satisfying in that though it charts a teenage girl’s horrific journey to the very edge of the abyss, it proves that with strength, determination and the will to find a better place, human beings—and their love—really can overcome.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: A simple way I differentiate my characters is that I imagine they are a character from a film or famous person in history and build around that personality.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: Current literature continuing to expand this popular memoir market includes Cathy Glass’s hugely successful series of books, which have opened up a world that many didn’t believe still existed, and it’s clear that books like these are no longer simply read for entertainment, but are becoming hugely popular with all kinds of professionals who work in the care sector, including charities such as NSPCC, Childline and Barnardos, as well as becoming required reading for those working within fostering and adoption
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: Coming from an abused background I looked for any opportunity to escape and found that very early on I could do just that in a book, a lot of my emotions at the time I was struggling, were made easier if I put it into writing, although for many years it was poetry based. Now, looking after children that have been abused and in care, I strongly feel that although there are a lot of memoirs out there, there wasn’t any written in the childs voice, I wanted my readers to be there, to see and to feel what I went through, as shocking as it is to read the facts in raw form, the current books in the market obviously are not shocking enough to get the message out there, abusing kids still happens and when you are going through it, it isn’t all sugar coated and brushed over in real life, so here it is in all of its full glory.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: I start writing and go with the flow normally, I start with a subject I want to educate the public about and base my characters on real people I have met in my professional career. I then build on the subject and write in almost a mind map fashion, shooting off in all directions wherever my characters take me.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: Cathy Glass inspires me; she is an amazing writer and writes about a subject close to my heart. I am also a big fan of Lynne Barratt-Lee who collaborates with a lot of writers and has helped me a lot with my writing. We are also with the same agent, Andrew Lownie.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: This question has taken me the longest to answer, how can I possibly say just one? Each time I think of a favorite I stop myself and then say no, what about that one? Or even that one? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis is one of the books that made me enjoy literature as a young girl but as an adult, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie blows my mind every time, how clever is that storyline?
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: I started by building a website and then creating a Facebook page. I then became a member of various forums, forums on writing initially to try and get some insight into this big arena. But also I sought out my target audience asking myself who are the people who read my type of book? As I said above, a lot of people reading it would be in the care sector, Foster Carers, Social Workers etc, but also people that have been abused themselves, we are always looking for the answers to why we behave the way we do, normally turning to other people who have been abused, if they can survive and not be forever the 'victim' then maybe I can too. So I then went and found forums and websites for abused people or people looking for information on that subject.
I have tried to get reviews too but they are not very easy to get in my genre. They can certainly help you to get noticed so I would advise trying to get a couple of good reviews. I have paid for a few sponsorships too.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: Kindle seemed the place to be, I hadn’t heard about the other e-readers until after I had loaded it onto Amazon.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
ABIGAIL LAWRENCE: My advice would be to be prepared to market your book consistently; not many indie books rise to the top without some promotion. I uploaded my book Invisible Tears and placed it at $0.99. After a few months of promotion it steadily climbed upwards and has sold over 14,000 copies in six months. It is slowing down now and I took that as a time to change the price to $2.99. Funnily enough the royalties haven’t changed much. I think price is a key and getting it right for your own book is a guessing game. No one has the answer as to what is the right price, but as a first time author I would price it low for a limited time to help with promotions, maybe do a giveaway too.
I would also say not to give up hope of your book being a success. There are a lot of amazing writers on Kindle and I consider myself a privileged person to have my book alongside them, something I could only have ever dreamed about before. Kindle can make that dream come true; you don’t need a traditional publishing contract to be on Kindle, or have to take hundreds of rejections from publishers or agents. Let the readers decide.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abigail is 44 years old. She lives on her farm with her husband and the beautiful young horses which are her passion. She is married and has been with her husband since they were 16yrs old. They went to school together and now have 2 daughters, aged 27 and 23, and a new grandchild.
Abigail did not do very well at school because she was far too busy rebelling, due to the years of child abuse she endured. Instead she preferred to create havoc wherever she went. As an adult, however, she has worked in many different fields, including jobs with horses and also with adults with learning disabilities, where she became very interested in behavior modification and completed a City and Guilds diploma in Advanced Management in Care.
She enjoyed these types of work roles because helping other people is something that Abigail does best. Abigail has always had a passion for writing; she loved the way she could escape through poetry, and has written it for family and friends since she was a child.
She had an abusive childhood that she somehow survived. She then rebelled and lived a gang lifestyle in south London. She decided to write the story of her young life in the hope that it would help someone else to want to survive and make a difference, and to not be a victim all their lives.
Abigail and her husband foster children in care. Always a busy house with a lot of raw emotions to deal with, theirs is also an extremely successful one, in helping kids to make positive changes in their lives.
Abigail is funny, honest, kind and caring, she works extremely hard, and wears her heart on her sleeve; what you see is definitely what you get.
"Abigail Lawrence" is a pseudonym.
Visit her website and find her on facebook.
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