In your own words, please describe your book….
My book is about three women, at different stages of their life. Liliana is just out of university and leaves her dysfunctional life in the city behind for a new start in a small country village. Estelle is so into her career that she forgets she’s a mum too – there’s a huge conflict for her between career-woman and mum. Finally there’s Jill. She’s just buried her husband, her children have left home and the future for her is bleak – her adult children think a retirement home is the best place for Jill, but she has other ideas.
The thing all three women have in common is that they’ve got to find their ‘belonging place’ and that place is within themselves, in their inner knowing about how and where and with whom they should live their lives. Each character embarks on a journey to self knowledge and finds their true path. It’s very much a story that all women will relate to and they will see themselves, or parts of themselves, in the characters.
What is the genre?
It’s commercial fiction, but really women’s literature – though I wouldn’t rule out men being interested in the story…and perhaps learning something about the women in their lives!
What inspired you to write this book?
I was going through a rough patch and needed to make some decisions about how I lived my life. I was at everyone’s beck and call – at home and at work, and felt I was being taken for granted. It seemed I was doing everything for everyone else and nothing for myself. I had this deep sense of disquiet, like I knew something was wrong. That feeling that there had to be more…that I was more…led to me writing Belonging Places because I think it is a quest we are all on, men and women, to find our place in this world and know that place is the right place for us.
Will this book be a standalone or part of a series?
I’ve left it open, but have called the book Volume 1. I’d love to bring out Volume 2, and tell more stories that are important to women world over. You never know, we may have three new women embarking on self-discovery journeys because I really do think that as women, that’s what we do, we discover and rediscover ourselves at all stages of our lives, and in all situations.
What message would you like to convey with this book?
If you have a feeling of not belonging, don’t shy away from it. Acknowledge it and find out what’s causing that. We only have one life and it’s too short to put up with a situation, a job, a person, or even a partner where you feel you don’t belong. My message is that no matter what it takes, you owe it to yourself to find your belonging place.
What books are similar to this one?
Some of Maeve Binchy’s books, perhaps Chestnut Street in that it takes ordinary people and puts their lives under a microscope, and we discover that no-one is ‘ordinary’. We all have stories to tell.
Where can readers find your book?
Can you tell us some about the writer behind the book?
I am a journalist and author. I have been writing all my life across many mediums and for many purposes. I’ve written for newspapers – features, news, legal stories – and I’ve written for government, niche magazines, websites and for social media campaigns.
I have written for private enterprise and managed many public relations and communications campaigns over the years. For the past 25 years, I’ve put words together in various ways, for a diverse audience and a variety of reasons, through my professional work and now as an author.
My debut novel Shadowscape – The Stevie Vegas Chronicles was published on 1 October 2012 and I’ve republished its second edition as an Indie author. It’s a story about a young skateboarder who has ESP and an amazing Kickflip (skateboard trick for those who don’t know).
My second novel Dawn of the Shadowcasters is Book 2 in the Stevie Vegas Chronicles series and it’s in production with Lodestone Books and will be available on 30 May 2014.
Belonging Places is very close to my heart because I have taken my skills in communications and writing and produced this book from beginning to end, including assembling my publishing team: my editor, my cover designer…and done this 100% with full control. It’s a wonderful feeling of achievement when you take a book to market and it’s the absolute best product it can be.
In the process of producing Belonging Places through the editing and design stage and now the public relations and marketing stage, I have set up my own publishing arm Caerus Publishing which means ‘opportunity’ in Greek..
Tell us one thing about you we wouldn’t know?
I was born in the outback of Australia on a large sheep station and then, later, moved to a sheep/cattle/wheat and other crops, farm. I know a bit about farming and I absolutely love animals, especially dogs. I’m a real ‘nature’ girl and love being outdoors.
What has been the best moment in your writing career?
Writing Belonging Places. It felt that some of the words were being ‘channeled’ from another place. There’s definitely a universal message in there for all women.
How do you come up with the titles of your book?
Intuition. Whatever feels right to me.
How long does it take you to finish a novel?
I wrote two books last year as well as holding down my day job as an Editor and Public Relations Manager for a multi media company in Australia. I usually take about 6 months, though Belonging Places was written over 3 months from start to finish.
How can readers connect with you?
Lots of places.
My blog: www.extrasensitiveperson.wordpress.com
My website: www.maryannwestonbooks.weebly.com
Facebook: Imagine If – Maryann Weston Books (https://www.facebook.com/shadowscape.stevievegas)
What are you working on now?
An anthology of short horror stories. I am fascinated by what drives our fears, and through writing about them, no matter where they come from, it is cathartic. I have decided on a working title: Evil Imminent, so watch out for it on Amazon over the next few months.
After that I want to write a family saga – about parents and siblings. Whether we love or otherwise our extended families, they are always there for life, for better or worse. I’ll track a family right through births, deaths and marriages, through estrangement, joy and poignant hope
The third in the Shadowscape trilogy, ‘Luminous’ and perhaps an adult horror/paranormal book. Yes I’ll be busy…
Do you have any other books already released?
Yes two books in a Young Adult fantasy, paranormal series. The first is Shadowscape – The Stevie Vegas Chronicles and the second book is Dawn of the Shadowcasters which is out through Lodestone Books on 30 May 2014.