Lorraine Pestell was born in London and has had a successful career as an Information Technology professional in the UK, US, Europe, Singapore, and more recently Australia. She currently resides in Melbourne, Victoria, with her 13-year-old dog, Jed.
Although working full-time, Lorraine is a passionate volunteer for several organisations, including serving on the Boards of non-profit organisations, being a mentor for The Smith Family’s iTrack program and providing project management assistance to The School Volunteer Program. She finds that volunteering time and energy to those less fortunate is an effective antidote to life-long depression and the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The idea for “A Life Singular” originated when Lorraine was 14 years old, and the story has continued to develop in fits and starts since then, whenever time and life events permitted. However, three years ago, a new element of the plot triggered a sudden urge to complete the novel, and since then the story has evolved into six separate parts.
What inspires you to write?
The idea for my six-part serial has been with me since my teens, starting with a fascination for celebrities and how many of them seem to struggle with their private lives. I write for two main purposes: first, to inspire fellow mental illness sufferers that they can conquer and rise above their debilitating symptoms, and second, to inform non-sufferers that it’s possible to co-exist and even love us, with the right amount of mutual respect, love and support.
Tell us about your writing process.
Since my writing commenced over 35 years ago, it started with pen and paper, but moved to the computer as soon as I had one of my own, back in the late 80s. I am definitely an outliner, having planned all six parts of my serial. I don’t use any particular technique or equipment, except Microsoft Word. I have separate documents for each part of the serial and also an “Extras” file, where I leave random plot or dialogue ideas, to be integrated some time in the future.
As far as editing is concerned, my most effective technique is to create e-books on a regular basis and read them on my tablet, as if I am a “real” reader. This allows me to pick up errors and inconsistencies, and to spot if I’m using the same word too many times, etc.
Another good technique I learned from attending a writers’ festival this year was to develop characters by having them write letters to each other. My book is quite dialogue-driven, so developing their individual voices is very important.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I listen to them all the time! Especially in bed. I keep a notepad by my bed at all times, regularly waking up multiple times during the night to write down ideas. Makes for a very patchy night’s sleep, but worth it for all the new ideas which spring forth!
What advice would you give other writers?
Stick at it! I have faced many struggles, particularly with censorship and the foibles of dealing with an offshore publisher. Have confidence in your story.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish, after receiving a small number of rejections from traditional publishers. Because I had set myself a deadline of publishing all six parts by a particular date, to make its ending contemporary, I couldn’t afford to wait. Watch out for censorship policies of self-publishing houses that are based in the US. I have ended up wasting a lot of money signing up with a self-publishing company which then refused to publish content that I deemed perfectly reasonable, decent and legal.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
We hear so many conflicting opinions that it’s difficult to guess where publishing is going. Digital books have a very bright future, and the more interactive the better. I noticed that Fifty Shades of Grey has several music albums out, and now obviously the movie and various other merchandise spin-offs. Social media is key to promoting, which is counter-culture for non-US authors, who also tend to be somewhat introverted. I think it will be important to strike a balance between quantity and quality of social interaction, since we are already inundated with Facebook, twitter, etc. The messages may get lost, I fear.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Contemporary fiction / romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print