Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Mandy Nicholson about her writing career, her book, Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter, and the advice she has to inspire others.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I am Mandy Nicholson, and I am a Creative Genius Consultant, Artist and Author and I help creative women to launch, grow and scale their business and make more money. I am a mum to two ‘BIG’ kids, 17 & 21 who are on the spectrum, my daughter is at Uni doing a BA in Fine Art and my son is at college doing a level 3 B-Tec in animation and illustration. It is one of my proudest achievements getting them both through the schooling system by educating their schools about autism and ADHD. I am also mum to 2 fur babies, Jet who is a black Lab and is 14 years young and Beau who is a fluffy blonde collie cross and fully blind.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I first wrote a book of sorts when my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, I started it the day of his diagnosis as a coping strategy and published it as a memorial. This took away fear as I just did it. Then in that year, my dad’s death became just one of a series of unfortunate events that took me to rock bottom and saw me lose everything, except my kids and dogs. I knew this story was a book and tried to write it in 2013 and struggled. Then I spilt coffee on my laptop and that attempt was gone.
When did you take a step to start writing?
It was 10 years later in 2019 that I decided to write the book that I knew was there inside me. It had taken all of that time for me to order it into a story that I could write as fiction in order to inspire others.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
First idea to self-published was literally 6 months.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
I am currently working on my 2nd book in the trilogy; it is taking longer because I have moved house in the middle of writing it. I am about halfway into it and stated it in January 2020.
What made you want to write Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter?
I wanted to share my journey to inspire others to keep going. Although I have fictionalized my story the events in it happened.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter?
Separating the personal pain from the story and allowing my healing to become the message.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
I was my own inspiration because the events happened to me, and I survived. I made myself the central character, writing it in 3rd person as fiction helped me to remove myself.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
My sister because she was.
What is the inciting incident of Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter?
I car crash caused by a magnificent stag in the road.
What is the main conflict of Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter?
Person versus society – fighting to keep going in order to win their life back.
Did you plot Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I started by the seat of my pants and then 18,000 words in structured the events, timeline, and characters.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Cancer, Diary Of A Daughter need?
No, I edited and self- published, but then pitched the book to several publishers and was picked up on a 3-book deal by one of them. I have just signed off the first edit and it is getting ready to be re-published.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Just start writing. We all have a story so just start, you can worry about grammar, editing and structure later.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I have 2 more in the trilogy, the first one is ‘The Life I Won’ the one I am writing is ‘The Life I Created’ and the third is TBC
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am proud of my book; I have had lots of 5 start reviews and women tell me it has changed them profoundly. It was worth the effort.