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4 Things You Need to Know about my Free Ebook: Doorway to Nowhere

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

In September, 2021, I was very excited to launch what is, essentially, my first book!

It’s not available on Amazon or any other platform, but you CAN get it for free by signing up to my readers’ club.

(You can see my privacy policy by scrolling down the page in that link so you know how I use the data you give me.) It’s only available in ebook form at the moment, but I have long-term plans to make it available from me in paperback at some point, too.


The book is short, only a novella, and it’s called Doorway to Nowhere. I started it in January this year and proudly uploaded it to Bookfunnel in September. I really hope my readers have enjoyed it so far, and it’s whetted their appetite for my YA Environmental Dystopian trilogy, which will be out next year. I’m also hoping to write some more stories set in the world of Doorway to Nowhere, following the adventures of the three main characters, Annie, Sheb and Bartok.

There’s a lot of work that goes into a book, even a novella, and I hope this post will take you through the process of it, give an insight into why I wrote it and mean you enjoy it even more when you come to read it!

 

Deciding on an Idea


I knew I wanted to write something I could offer free to readers. Obviously, as a writer, I’ve got to make a living and the more money I make from my writing, the more time I can spend creating new stories for my readers.

I love the natural world and feel really strongly about making sure we protect it. I write lots of stories about that, but even when the main themes of my stories aren’t environmental, I know I want to include some interesting landscapes and natural elements.

I drew on this when I started to create Nowhere, the world my protagonist finds herself in throughout the book.


For those of you who haven’t read the novella yet, Nowhere is a world-between-worlds. It adopts people in need, offering them a place to stay while they heal. But it isn’t always a safe place. It changes depending on the emotions of the people closest to it. In the story, it’s changed by my main character, Annie.

And, because Nowhere is a place where hurt and frightened people end up, it can also attract monsters, and that’s exactly what happens to Annie.

I knew I wanted to write a story about overcoming something really big, and I also knew I wanted my main character’s biggest barrier to be herself. So creating Nowhere was a way of giving Annie a landscape that reflected all the hurt and trouble she’d faced. It made her face who she was and decide who she wanted to be.


Because of that, Nowhere’s a pretty strange place. It isn’t safe, because all Annie’s turbulent emotions transform it into something dangerous. The mushrooms bleed, the trees have grabbing vines, there are all sorts of strange and dangerous creatures. Annie’s got to learn to manage her own feelings and start to heal for Nowhere to become somewhere she can feel safe in.



So, this means Nowhere is both a place and a metaphor. I’m quite fond of metaphors, so I guess this isn’t really surprising. But I also believe that every reader brings their own experience to a story to make it come alive, so I’m not going to tell you what Nowhere is a metaphor for. That’s up to you to decide.


Character


Ok, so I had an idea.

I knew my story was going to be about overcoming something and I knew that my character’s biggest barrier to success was going to be herself.

Now I needed a character.


I’ve got to be honest, sometimes character is the easiest thing in the world to develop and sometimes it’s like trying to pull teeth from a rabid bear.


But for Doorway to Nowhere, Annie started talking to me before the idea for Nowhere had even fully formed. Her voice was really strong right from the start, so all I had to do was listen. I knew, straight away, that she hated her father because he abused her.

I knew she had a terrible anger inside her and was frightened of turning into the person she hated most.

I also knew Annie had been abandoned by her mother and that this really weighed on her. Annie had no one to rely on but herself and she was pretty distrustful of other people, expecting betrayal.


So Annie had a bunch of things she needed to learn: she had to learn to overcome her anger, she had to learn to accept herself for who she was, she had to learn to look forward instead of back and she had to learn to trust other people.


So far, I had a group of pretty desperate characters. I had an abusive father, an absent mother, a furious protagonist … poor Annie needed to meet some people who might have a positive impact on her life.

She needed a friend. Someone who saw through all her anger to the good person underneath.

I was really adamant that I didn’t want this person to rescue Annie. Annie needed, in my opinion, to rescue herself. She just needed someone to show her she was worth rescuing.


And so Sheb came along. Sheb had been stuck in Nowhere for quite a long time.

He also had a challenging past and struggled to find acceptance for who he was.

He was pretty quirky, relentlessly positive and very quick to adopt Annie as a friend. He was also very nurturing and sweet-natured. He’d already rescued a creature from Nowhere (Bartok, the owl-squirrel has been a favourite with readers so far!) and, during the story, he readily brings Annie into his bizarre little family.


Now, I had my cast of characters. It wasn’t extensive, but that was ok because I was only writing forty thousand words, max.


What I needed now, though, was a way for Annie to face all her inner and outer demons. I needed a villain for her to face. But this villain needed to represent both Annie’s external demons—her abusive father and absent mother—and her inner demons—her self-doubt and anger.


That’s a lot for a single antagonist to represent. So, I needed more than a villain.

I needed a monster.


Annie's Monster


This was the part of the story that took me the longest to get right. I knew I wanted Annie to face something external. Something big and scary.

But, although she was very angry, anger wasn’t the only emotion she was fighting. She was also ashamed, frightened and she didn’t like herself very much.

Annie’s story is mostly about her fight to overcome these things and accept herself, but Doorway to Nowhere is also a fantasy adventure story, so Annie needed a monster to conquer and the monster needed to represent all that inner turmoil.


I also knew that Annie wasn’t the only character feeling these emotions, and I needed a monster that had tormented other characters, too, even though it was going to be focused on Annie for this story.



The Oraqua—Annie’s monster—took ages to come to life. At first, it was half-animal, half-plant, but that never really felt right or got off the ground.

It took several drafts of the story to get the Oraqua into the shape that I needed it to be, and for the showdown between it and Annie to work.

For obvious reasons, I won’t go into details about the Oraqua, how Annie faces it or if she succeeds in defeating it. If you want to know that, you’ll have to read the story!


Developing the Oraqua as its own beast took time, too, because it was so linked to Annie. Even though it’s huge, strong, relentless and dangerous, the Oraqua is also really needy. It needs Annie so much in order to feel fulfilled.

All it wants is to consume her, but it’s also quite a sad thing, because it’s so insatiably hungry all the time.

It’s desperate for Annie to give in to it and this is a massive driver for its constant hunt. Because of this, it took a long time to work out what needed to happen to the Oraqua, and I have to thank a lot of friends and my brilliant editor, Lara, for helping me see what needed to be written.


Where You Can Find the Book


And so to the best bit! The book is available in ebook form from me, completely free.

It comes in forms compatible with all devices, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple Books, Google Play Books and there’s also a PDF version for anyone who’d prefer to read it that way. All you need to do is sign up to my readers’ club, which you can do here.


My readers’ club is essentially a mailing list of readers (like you) who want to be the first to know when my books come out, or to receive free content, deals and discounts. I tend to email my readers club once per month with updates on my work, where you can get my books or with other some exciting things I’ve learned whilst doing book research. I hope you’ll join!



Doorway to Nowhere is downloadable through Bookfunnel, which is a fantastic and easy-to-use platform with an excellent customer service.

Once you sign up to my readers’ club, you’ll receive a link from me in an email and Bookfunnel will talk you through the rest.

I really hope you enjoy Doorway to Nowhere and will stick around for when my first trilogy launches next year! I’m excited to share my stories with you all and hope my little novella will whet your appetite for more.


Finally, I had help in getting this book ready for you to read. So, my thanks to the brilliant Catt Hannah Illustration, who designed the cover, and to Curiosity Press, who connected me with my marvellous editor, Lara. The Alliance of Independent Authors have also been brilliant in providing support and advice.


Happy reading, everyone and if you enjoyed the book, please be sure to either leave a comment below or send me a direct email to let me know!


Peace and Love,

 

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