Don’t put off writing your novel!

Have you seen that advert of a mum working from home? She is lying on the floor cooing at her baby and typing on her laptop. I bet you know the one I mean.

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit I believed this could be my life. My dream has always been to be a Novelist and I also longed to be a mother, so this image was singing to my heart, ”you can have it all!”

If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Ally Aldridge

I’ve been writing stories ever since I could put a sentence together but for many reasons I put off seriously trying to get published until the prospect of children was on the horizon.

As soon as I got engaged in September 2009, I came off the contraceptive pill. I wanted it out of my system so I could get pregnant as fast as possible once married. We married in June 2011 but different factors got in the way of motherhood.

Our Wedding in Mauritius

During that time I wrote Hunted, Instinct and Drift (now published as Ocean Heart). I edited Drift, queried it, got some requests… but never an offer.

Late 2013, I had my son. He took over my life in the most glorious way, but it was obvious how unrealistic that image in my head was. My working hours were reduced but it didn’t enable any extra time for writing. If anything, I had less time. I was juggling a job and my parental responsibilities. Most evenings I was too shattered to do anything.

Once my son turned three, we decided we were ready to grow our family. Fortunately, I didn’t fall pregnant quickly because a few months later the company I was employed at went into administration. Expanding our family was put on hold until we got financial stabile again.

To my relief, almost a year later, we decided to try again and I fell pregnant straight away. My daughter joined us in the summer of 2018.

During this time I’d continued to edit and query Drift. I realised that I have to just make my situation work if I wanted my dream. That meant, I often wrote in the evenings when my kids slept. Sometimes they have worn me out in the day and I have to be okay with letting myself take a break.

I focus on celebrating what I have achieved and that I’m still making progress, instead of being frustrated I can’t do it as fast as others. I blog and schedule content on my mobile whilst my kids play. I make my social media posts on my phone often using Canva. In the smallest pocket of time, I can still work towards my goals.

Due to my new can do attitude, I’m now a published author. That’s right, in December 2021, I said yes to myself, and published Ocean Heart, book 1 in The Soul Heart series. If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Shop Link.

During lockdown, I’ve lost my childcare for my youngest . And, whenever the schools close, I’m homeschooling for my oldest. My employer has been pretty supportive and when I’ve been most impacted by the pandemic, I have been placed on Furlough.

These days I have even less time to write! But, I’m writing. Maybe not everyday, but I am getting there.

My message to you is, do what you can now because every little bit will add up. There’s nothing to lose. Worst case scenario, you have a fabulous novel all to yourself.


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Behind the Character: Mariah

I’m going to do a series of posts to introduce the main characters of Ocean Heart to you and what my editor said.

It only seems right to start with Mariah, after all she is the main character…

Ocean Heart: Mariah Turner

Role in Ocean Heart: Protagonist (Main Character)

Mariah Turner

Mariah has always felt like she doesn’t fit in and relies a lot on her best friend Jace to carry her in social situations.

Mariah lives with Gwyn, her eccentric mum who predicts the future and insists on casting spells, mostly to control Mariah.

Next door are the Walker’s and her best friend Jace. Born only days apart, Mariah can’t remember a day without him.

Mariah is secretly crushing on Jace. She’s terrified of loosing him and will do anything to get him to see her, not only as a friend.

Mariah longs to swim but can’t. She has a rare condition that causes her skin to breakout in a strange rash. She must always wear her allergy bracelet.

What my editor said…

Avery McDougall had the following to say about Mariah in the Developmental Report.

The report gave me suggestions to improve the character but it was the first time I got to see her described by someone else…

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


If you enjoyed this you will like:,

Why you need a developmental editor!

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Behind the Book: Lanterns in the Sky by Pagan Malcolm

This book by Pagan has been on my To Buy list for way too long. Here’s the Trailer so you can add it to your list (or basket) too:

You launched your book and it became a best seller. When did you start marketing it?

Before it was even signed with the publisher, if I’m being honest. I was already sharing teasers and talking about it because I knew people had to be excited by the get-go. I haven’t really stopped marketing since and I probably never will—though now, I tend to market the series as a whole because I have more books out to catch reader interest.

This book is traditionally published. How did you get signed – can you share your pitch?

I got signed with The Parliament House from Twitter’s #PitMad event in December 2017. This was the Tweet I pitched that got their attention:

You share what you have learned to support fellow authors. Can you tell us about some of your courses and coaching?

I sure can.

A great starting point for new authors is my membership community, The Authorpreneur Kingdom, which is where I do quarterly trainings (and you get access to a vault of past masterclasses on topics ranging from book marketing to publishing to mindset work). We also do weekly coaching calls in there and the authors find it very helpful to stay accountable each month.

I also have two courses that I launch twice a year.

Storyteller Academy is my course helping authors to write their novel and build success habits for full-time authorship, and Storyseller Academy helps authors with book launching, marketing and brand building. Both are self-paced, come with a range of bonus resources, and have direct access to me via a group community.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Lanterns in the Sky?

“Hey! Hey, wake up!”

Someone was shaking me. When I first opened my eyes, everything blurred together. I blinked to adjust them to the night sky. I could hear crickets chirping somewhere. Hovering over me was the face of a boy with emerald eyes and brown hair. I stared at him — my mind was scrambled, and pain throbbed in my temple. Between that and my momentary amnesia, I couldn’t really concentrate on much else.

“Are you okay?” he asked in a smooth voice, his brow furrowed in concern. “Do you need me to call someone?”

I slowly sat up, which prompted the pounding in my head to intensify. I hissed and raised a hand to my forehead.

“What… happened?” I groaned, trying to recall the moments before I’d blacked out.
He rocked back on his feet to give me some space. Still crouching, he folded his arms as he said, “You tell me.”

I shook my head, thinking hard. It came back to me in pieces. I remembered the dread I had felt … the light…

“I was hit… I think,” I told him as my memories slowly came together, but I wasn’t sure. My head swam and the throbbing pain in my head was distracting me.

“By who?” he asked, furrowing his brow.
I shook my head again. It sounded stupid, but I was certain of what I saw.

“It wasn’t a who… it was a light.”

The boy frowned, his mouth twisting. “A light?”

What did you enjoy most about writing your fantasy novel?

Wrecking havoc in my characters lives! Mwahahaha!

But also, building the plot. That was a lot of fun too.

What was hardest about writing your fantasy novel?

Making sure the plot was consistent, fixing plot holes and reducing the amount of side plots from my first draft back in 2011. It took me 18 drafts to get this story right.

What inspired you to write Lanterns in the Sky?

Well, it actually started as a psychological horror novel—but then I realised that was not for me. It was only when a friend convinced me to keep writing because she liked the concept of the stars being lanterns in the sky that I was able to adapt some of my newer, fantasy ideas into the story (e.g. the princesses, the magic, etc.) and kind of did a 180 with the story to bring it to life.

Which novel do you love and wish you wrote?

Honestly, none of them. I love so many books and there are definitely writers I wish I could write as well as, but I also love my own writing style and my own stories. Their stories are theirs and that’s why I could never come up with their ideas.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Pagan Malcom?

On most days, I’m actually working on my business, Paperback Kingdom—but I sprinkle in time to market my book, send out a few emails, and do the authorly stuff that needs doing. On a true writing day though, I can be at the kitchen table (which is where I enjoy writing most lately) for hours on end. I spend a lot of weekends like this with cups of tea and some kind of snack.

Where can we find out more about your coaching, courses and buy your books

For my books, check out (you can also find the membership site there—but you have to be a Patreon supporter of mine for access).

For my coaching and courses, check out


If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by Pagan Malcolm

Behind the Book: Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

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Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by Pagan Malcolm

I am so excited to do this interview with the talented Pagan Malcom. She’s a best selling author of both indie and traditional books and shares her wisdom to support others.

Today’s Behind the Book is on her debut novel Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert.

What inspired you to write this contemporary romance?

I went on a week long holiday to an island resort in my hometown area back in 2012. During my stay, I wasn’t really enjoying myself—so I began to fantasize about what would make the holiday more interesting. The setting around me inspired me, and my fantasies developed into proper characters and a plot. By the time I left the island resort, I had a whole story idea ready to be written.

How hard was it to self-publish your first book?

Not that hard, actually. That’s not to say that I did everything right (hence why I relaunched the book two years later), but in terms of researching and going through the actions, it was quite easy. Platforms such as Createspace (which is what I used originally) and Amazon KDP make the process SUPER easy.

It’s not the publishing part that’s difficult—it’s the launching part, because a launch is more marketing than anything else. That’s why I created my course Storyseller Academy (now that I’m more versed in publishing and launching), which dives into all that sort of stuff.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Back then, it was building my readership. I was from a small regional town in Australia of just over 3,000 people. I didn’t have an online presence. I didn’t live near any big cities so I couldn’t just head over to a writer’s festival or attend a panel to listen to experts. I didn’t know how to find my ideal readers, or market my book, or anything like that. Because of this, my first launch flopped and I think the most discouraging thing was feeling isolated—like I didn’t have anyone to reach out to for help because I didn’t know anyone.

What is the earliest story you can remember writing?

It was a 10 page, illustrated book called “The Adventures Of Sandy Island” and it was a rip off of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I replaced all the characters, changed Willy Wonka into a pirate, and added an evil lion (???). I was like, in Grade 4, and my parents had to educate me on what copyright was. I soon felt embarrassed and threw it in the bin—and my mum has never forgiven me because she wanted to preserve it for later years.

Can you name any similar books to Stuck on Vacation?

Quite a few—none of them are exactly alike but a lot of these share similar themes of love-hate relationships, boys next door, being stuck in places you don’t want to be and adorable romance:

  • Magnolia by Kristi Cook.
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
  • The Boy I Hate by Taylor Sullivan.
  • Faking Delinquency by Ashley Winters.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Stuck on Vacation?

He pulled me into the room as I reached out to drag in my suitcase. I dropped it on the floor as he shut the door behind us.
And then he had me pressed against the wall, breathing in my scent, holding me in his embrace. “I can’t stand the thought of you slipping through my fingers again,” he whispered.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I promised. His intense gaze was driving me a little crazy—in a good way. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted him around me. I’d been so focused on the thought of him betraying me that I’d ignored the raw pain I felt in his absence.

He pressed his lips to mine. His kiss was soft and gentle, like he was afraid I might yell at him again. His fear of losing me was evident in his touch. He was treating me delicately, as though I was fragile, like he was afraid to cause another fight.

Have you ever had a holiday romance?

snorts I wish! That’s why I just write about my fantasies instead. Hahaha!

Who is your book crush love interest?

Okay at first I thought you meant the person I based Ryan Rupert off of (which is a secret I will NEVER tell—mwahahaha) but my book crush love interest?


What a question.

How does one even narrow that down?


I’m going to have to go with Wes from Clouded by Envy, by Candace Robinson. There are a LOT of great book boyfriends out there, and Wes isn’t really dramatically special when you take them all into account (I’m perfectly aware I could be claiming stake on a supernatural boyfriend right now—trust me). But I like his humour and he seemed attractive and he was a good big brother. All big brownie points in my book.

What project are you currently working on?

Quite a few. I’m writing 3 books right now that are all due… like, now—lol. I also just launched a membership site for my readers to access bonus bookish content, and I’m working on a ~secret project~ that I can’t say much about yet, but it involves tea. wink

Where can we find out more about your coaching, courses and buy your books?

For my books, check out (you can also find the membership site there—but you have to be a Patreon supporter of mine for access).

For my coaching and courses, check out

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin