I’m pleased to welcome Cecilia Paul to the blog today. Her novel Elizabeth Just 16 is published today by Clink Street Publishing and you can order a copy here: Elizabeth Just 16
What inspired you to start writing?
I wanted to keep my brain cells active as I had some free time and, having worked in my specialist field for so many years, I wanted to put my experiences and knowledge to good use and, especially when I was still passionate and inspired by a group of the women, whom I met and treated.
Tell me about your journey to publication?
I researched a few publishers and, also looked into self-publishing but with no experience, I decided on the traditional publisher. I wanted my novel to be easily accessible to the public because it was important for me to create a public awareness about the sensitive subject of my novel. I contacted a couple of publishers and sent chapters of my transcripts to them. They were interested but more on taking thousands of pounds from me from the outset so I deliberated. I was also concerned about the confidentiality aspect so I was very mindful and ensured I did not identify any real persons in my novel. I finally spoke and met with my current publisher and he managed to reassure me. He also convinced me that my novel would raise a lot of interest and awareness because of its content and, that his firm would get it into the appropriate arena so I went with them.
What is your latest book about?
It is about an unusual congenital (born with) syndrome called, Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH). It affects 1 in 4,500 newborn females of the population. These girls/women are born without (or with an under-developed) womb, cervix and vagina. Therefore, the psychological impact on them is huge and very complex and they should only be managed by specialists with this expertise. I used my protagonist to display all the common symptoms and emotions the women go through not just to help and to encourage them but, I also hoped to educate and inform the public of this unusual condition so that they can be more empathetic, which might further encourage the women to not be so afraid to tell anyone they have MRKH.
How did you come up with the title for my book?
MRKH is usually diagnosed when the women have not started their periods by the age of sixteen. I felt that this was significant and very appropriate for my book title.
Do you have a work in progress now?
I have started something but at the moment, it is just lots of texts about things that happened or came to my mind but I haven’t decided on how I want to write it yet and, I am still trying to look for some inspiration for my title. I feel that when I have my title, my writing will start flowing…
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
I haven’t thought about it until you asked me now so nothing really. I would rather wait until it happens and then I‘ll see.
What are your favourite book or books you have read in last few months?
I haven’t bought any new books but I am trying to re-read my old ones on my shelf. I tend to go for the books with a twist or intrigue, some thrillers and espionage and forensics – Patricia Cornwell, Jeffery Archer, Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy but I also like the Harry Potter series and the Twilight Saga and some autobiographies. I totally dislike zombies or satanic books.
What are you reading just now?
I love Princess Diana so I am properly reading her story now because I flicked through it before.
If you could be a character in any book, who would it be and why?
Not completely but maybe Dr Kay Scarpetta because we have some similar traits – she is a perfectionist; works really hard and gives her all when she’s working.