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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I am proud to share my interview with Wendy Andrew, author of How To Recover From Pet Loss. She tells me about her work with The Scottish Pet Bereavement Counselling Service, her motivation and process for writing her book, and shares advice for others.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

My name is Wendy Andrew and I’m the founder of The Scottish Pet Bereavement Counselling Service and author of How To Recover From Pet Loss. I help grieving pet parents recover from the heartbreaking loss of their companion animals. I live in Glasgow with my dog, Pixie the Pomchi.

Wendy Andrew, author of How To Recover From Pet Loss, interview on The Table Read.
Wendy Andrew, author of How To Recover From Pet Loss

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I think, like many people, it’s always been a dream of mine to write a book. I first became aware of the ability of books to share a message was when I read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee at school. That really appealed to me even back then. There have been so many inspiring books throughout every stage of my lifetime so it’s wonderful to now be able to call myself an Author.

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When did you take a step to start writing?

I have been a blogger for a number of years but I started writing my first book in June 2020. It all happened quite suddenly.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

It took just a little over 3 months.

What made you want to write How To Recover From Pet Loss?

The Pandemic. My book ‘How To Recover From Pet Loss – Supporting You On Your Journey To Acceptance’ was written as a low cost alternative to counselling during this time of financial uncertainty and social restriction. I was very aware of people losing their jobs, all or part of their income and not having access to their usual support networks of family, friends and co-workers so it became very important to me to do something to let people know that support was still available and accessible.

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What were your biggest challenges with writing How To Recover From Pet Loss?

Getting started was my biggest challenge as this was all very new and overwhelming for me. I was about to make a dream a reality. I signed up for the ‘Self Publishing Made Simple’ course run by Dr Emee Vida Estacio and her ‘Get It Done’ challenge because I know I’m terrible for procrastination. My friend Julie Leonard is a Life Coach and was writing her book ‘Intentional Happiness’ at the same time so it was really good to have that support to keep me focused, on track and accountable.

What was your research process for How To Recover From Pet Loss?

As it’s a non-fiction book, it mostly came from my own knowledge and personal experiences.

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How did you plan the structure of How To Recover From Pet Loss?

How To Recover From Pet Loss by Wendy Andrew, author interview on The Table Read
How To Recover From Pet Loss by Wendy Andrew

Because my book deals with an incredibly emotional subject it was extremely important to me to have a clear structure with logic applied. We explore each stage or emotion associated with the grief experienced by those who have suffered pet bereavement chapter by chapter and then move on to ‘How to support children’, ‘How to support other people’ and the final chapter looks at some of the healthy coping strategies I use when working with my clients. At a time when people are incredibly upset and confused, I think it’s vital to have a strong yet easy to follow structure and guide the readers through their grief journey.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did How To Recover From Pet Loss need?

Yes, my friend M.J Martin is an author of horror fiction and she edited my book but fortunately there wasn’t much to do.

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What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

I would advise anyone inspired to write a book to just go for it. If you have a message to share or a story to write, just do it. Don’t be afraid of your first draft; nobody is happy with their first draft, there are always tweeks to be made. Once you start writing, the words will just flow. Some days may be more challenging than others but just do the brain dump, get it all out and on to paper and make the changes as you go.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Book 2 is in progress and it is the same subject but aimed at a younger audience.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Yes, I’m incredibly proud. My book became a #1 Hot New Release in 8 categories on Amazon when I published which far exceeded my expectations. The feedback I’ve had in reviews from readers has been absolutely phenomenal and I’m so touched every time someone says how much I have helped them. I often said that if I could help just one person feel better then it was a book worth writing and I received the lovliest email from a delightful gentleman within days of publication whose dog had just received a terminal diagnosis. The fact that he was an elderly man and had downloaded the book during the promotional period was just the cherry on the cake for me. I shall never forget him and that email will never be deleted.

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