My poet friend Geraldine Green has invited me and another 4 writers to take part in something called the ‘Next Big Thing’ a blog meme that involves authors answering questions about their latest book on their own blog and inviting another 5 authors to do the same. Geraldine was invited to participate by Caroline Gill. I’ve invited another 5 writers to take part in the next best thing and hope to add either their answers to the questions, or a link to their blog, here in about a week’s time.
Links for more information on Geraldine and her poetry
Here are my answers to the “The Next Big thing” questions…
What is the title of your new book?
Words for Wellbeing – a not-for-profit book that I edited, published and co-authored.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
In 2010-2011 I led a writing project for a National Health Service (NHS) trust that ended with a Writing in Healthcare conference (Penrith, Cumbria, UK). On the evening before the conference I had dinner with some of the people who were going to be at the conference the next day. I asked my dinner companions how I could make sure that the momentum of the writing project wouldn’t be lost after the project ended. Someone – I don’t remember who – suggested publishing a book. Good idea, I thought, especially as four of my dinner companions immediately offered to write chapters for the book! Of course I didn’t realise then how much effort publishing a book involves.
What genre does your book fall under?
Difficult question this… I suppose I would say it’s an anthology of poetry and prose, a self-help guide, and a writing reference book.
Will (is) your book (be) self published or published by an agency?
I published the book myself under the banner of the NHS trust I work for – Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took 16 months from conception to delivery of printed copies. In that time I applied for and won funding for the cost of printing, wrote four of the chapters, commissioned the artwork and another 10 chapters, organised a competition to select around 65 poems and short prose pieces, and edited and published the entire book to the point of sending a press-ready PDF file to the printer.
What other books would you compare your book to within the genre?
Prompted to Write – edited by Victoria Field and Zeeba Ansari, Writing Works: A Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops and Activities (Writing for Therapy or Personal Development) – edited by Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field and Kate Thompson, and Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times – edited by Neil Astley.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Who … far too many people to possibly list: many mental health service users, writer friends, writing practitioners and tutors, and last but not least, a researcher called Laura King – because I admire and believe in the research she has done into therapeutic writing.
What … the beneficial effects of writing and reading that I’ve experienced myself and heard about from patients.
What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
Words for Wellbeing introduces writing-based arts therapies to health professionals, educators, patients, carers and, unusually, to a general audience. Packed with practical advice and inspirational writing, the book blends chapters, short prose, poetry and illustrations – including a sequential art story. The contributors include professional writers, practitioners and poets; and individuals sharing personal stories of writing in illness and recovery. Already included on the reading list for one university degree course.
Our head of psychology has this to say: “I picked up this book to see if I would recommend it to patients I worked with who were trying to reach a sense of wellbeing. I finished it wanting to recommend it to everyone – friends, family, colleagues and patients! It is a beautiful and truly inspiring book.” [Liz Bolt, Consultant Clinical Psychologist]