Interview with Alannah Foley

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love it when inspiration hits of its own accord - although it has been known to keep me up at night!

My favourite thing to write is fiction - short stories - I love exploring the things about the characters that 'tickle' me. I really don't spend enough time developing all the ideas I have housed in my filing cabinets... I sometimes think they're like hairy monsters dwelling in a cave deprived of light that poke their heads up now and then to say, "When are you going to get round to writing me?"

I also love creating book covers - whether it's the artwork or the blurb. They're enjoyable to do in themselves, but they also pave the way for you to put your work out there as a finished product. If I work on a book cover before a manuscript is finished, it gives me increased motivation because I can visualise my goal better.

So I guess I have two great joys when it comes to writing - the journey of writing what really inspires me, as well as creating book covers and reaching the end point when you can stand back and say, "Great! That's done now and I've finally got it out!".
What is your writing process?
I'm a big one for listening to inspiration! Whenever ideas come to me, I make sure I write them down. You rarely remember them later, even though you think you will. I listen to the words that yield themselves to me effortlessly, and some time later, I sit down and spend time developing them.

With non-fiction (such as my CAMPERVAN CAPERS book), I get a 'pure inspiration phase' followed by a more practical phase in which I have to develop and organise all the inspired writing that came my way. The practical phase is heavier and more time-consuming, and I much prefer pure inspiration - but, in order to get your book out there, you have to follow through!

It's important to think ahead and plan; and it's useful to ask some questions... When do I concentrate best? What other commitments have I got coming up? When can I realistically put in some writing time (even half an hour can be productive)?... I write best in the mornings, and have realised over time that surfing the net and checking emails in the morning is the worst thing I can do if I want to actually get any writing done! So I avoid those and leave social networking-type activites till later in the day or allocate a specific day to publicity work.

At any given time, I normally nominate one project as my main work-in-progress in order to keep me focussed. But if inspiration strikes, I allow myself to add to any other works I might have going on the sidelines. Whenever I'm coming to the end of a project, I usually start thinking of what I'm going to work on next, otherwise there's a lull in which you can easily lose direction and momentum. Still, it's nice (and can be useful) to take time out now and then. You can then go back to your writing with a full tank.

I'm lucky in that I have a filing cabinet full of ideas which have just come to me without effort, so I'm never stuck for an idea. I just pull the next idea out that inspires me the most, or the one that has been bugging me for the longest time.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'd sent off work to various publishers and agents, often without even the courtesy of being sent a reply. (No doubt there are a few publishers out there making a huge saving by using the stamps on would-be writers' SAEs!) In any case, it was a rather off-putting task. I heard about many other authors' experiences and didn't relish going through the same.

At the end of the day, though, I think one of the other main motivators towards indie publishing was realising that a lot of my work so far was fairly 'niche'. For example, I wrote about living with an obsessive cyclist in CYCLING WIDOWS; I wrote about my travels in CAMPERVAN CAPERS; and I wrote about discovering long-lost family & my other adventures in Australia, in THE JACARANDA TRAIL. As far as publishers were concerned, these wouldn't be mainstream. The top sellers were things like romance, detective and vampire novels. I had no interest in switching genre just so it would increase my likelihood of selling. I wanted to write things that 'tickled' or inspired me. Being an indie author allowed me to do that.

'Back in the day', I created my own books by using a binder or stapling pages together & covering the spine. Although not bookshop quality, it helped me put my work into some kind of readable format. I had a lot of skills when it came to putting a book together, and was looking for a channel for my work, so when ebook technology came along - as well as companies like Smashwords to steer it - it was just what I'd been waiting for all this time!

Nowadays, even though it's more time-consuming to do everything myself, I love being an indie. I have full control over the publishing process and can do what I want, when I want.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Believe it or not, I don't have a TV, yet my time is always filled. I go out for walks in nature - the sky is different every day where I live in England, and the seasons bring something new all the time - and I grow a bit of veg in my garden. I like cycling & running, reading, learning languages and playing music on my ocarina, recorder or keyboard. I also love visiting caves and am fascinated by megaliths, ancient structures and 'earth mysteries'.

My partner & I have a camper and like to go travelling. And whenever I have time or am inspired, I get out my camera. I've done a fair bit of photography on our travels, but most of all, I enjoy pictures of nature - especially those of the smaller things that often get overlooked, like flowers and insects.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was the first platform I chose to publish with - for various reasons. I liked the fact that they offered your books in a variety of formats (having printable as well as downloadable formats was also important to me); would distribute your work to a number of other platforms; and allowed you to offer your work for free.

I like that Smashwords are passionate about and supportive of indie authors; and they help make your work easy to find.
Published 2014-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tales from Corny Cove
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 68,460. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Life in a Cornish paradise… What could Possibly go Wrong? When Henry & Margaret move down south to run a campsite, it turns out that 'living the dream' sometimes involves dealing with a few nightmares too! A series of 5 light-hearted, easy-read novelettes with a feel-good ending set in an idyllic holiday location.
Harvest the Sun
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,440. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Tale #5 - The Tales from Corny Cove series of light-hearted novelettes... Henry and Margaret fear their place in paradise is in jeopardy when they receive the news that a huge solar farm may be built on their doorstep. But will their voice be heard, when the obnoxious red-bearded farmer next door is set on making it all come to pass?
No Bed of Roses
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,980. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Tale #4 - The Tales from Corny Cove series of light-hearted novelettes... With the imminent arrival of the judges for a campsite flower competition, Henry and Margaret are hotter than ever on cleaning up the degenerating doggy-doo situation. But do they stand any chance of success with the unruly Mrs Gladstone roaming around on site?
Cornish Hospitality
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,840. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Tale #3 - The Tales from Corny Cove series of light-hearted novelettes... Captivated by medical romance books set in Cornwall, Margaret can only dream of how wonderful it would be to be swept off her feet by a handsome young doctor. But when she finally meets one, she begins to wonder whether a life of passion is all it's cracked up to be.
Fly in the Ointment
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,760. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Tale #2 - The Tales from Corny Cove series of light-hearted novelettes... When a top-notch customer like the retired air marshal turns up on site, it seems that things are looking up. Sadly, the dishevelled Mr Chigwell lets the side down by tramping around each morning looking like he's drunk. However, as events unravel, Henry and Margaret discover that appearances aren't quite what they seem.
Beastly Encounters
Price: Free! Words: 17,320. Language: British English. Published: November 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Holiday » Humorous
Tale #1 - The Tales from Corny Cove series of light-hearted novelettes... After a busy Easter start to the season, Henry relaxes with his newspaper only to discover that the murderous Beast of Bodmin Jail is on the loose. But with a brutish, jealous camper running around on site, Henry isn't sure who his biggest threat is.
Criminal Intent
Series: Campervan Bushman Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,750. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective
A light cosy mystery... From the moment Scott and his film crew arrive at a camp for young ex-offenders in Wales, they're bumping into quarrelsome hot-heads and bullies. But as more strange goings-on ensue, it's clear to Scott and his sidekick crewmates that something deeper and more sinister is afoot. But what exactly is going on and who is involved? Find out in Criminal Intent!
Deathbed of Roses
Series: Campervan Bushman Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,770. Language: English. Published: July 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
A light cosy mystery... Arriving in the Lake District to film the Campervan Bushman TV show, Scott Chevalier and the crew's plans are put on hold with the death of celebrity gardener, Simon Sinclair – a man bristling with charm, ambition and good looks. At first, Scott is under the spotlight as a suspect, but was it the infamous Lakes Killer, or was the man's murderer a lot closer to home?
More Money than Sense
Price: Free! Words: 6,630. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Baxter may be stinking rich, but he has no concept of money - and he’s oh-so-gullible! When he squanders his dwindling millions buying the Tower of London from a con artist, it’s the last straw for his long-suffering accountant. Determined to change, Baxter sets off on a quest to do just that!... But will he have the sense to decide on the best course of action?
Killer Climate
Series: Campervan Bushman Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 49,760. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective
(4.00)
A light cosy mystery… With an enviable campervan-surfie lifestyle & a handful of bush skills under his belt, Aussie Scott Chevalier heads to England to film the Campervan Bushman TV show. When things hit rock bottom & the director dies, no one suspects it could be anything but an accident. But as the evidence begins to mount, Scott realises the cold English climate isn't the only killer around.
The Cycling Widows 3 in 1 Collection
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 78,160. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
"A Light-Hearted Antidote to living with Cycling Obsession, this collection is the Ultimate Gift for the Cycling Widow!" This is a collection of three satirical books dedicated to the new or seasoned Cycling Widow who has to cope with her spouse's cycling obsession on a daily basis. A box set full of musings, insight and humour, it includes: CYCLING WIDOWS 1 & 2 and a 'lifeline' Survival Guide.
Cycling Widows 2
Series: Cycling Widows. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 39,170. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling, Nonfiction » Biography » Sports biography
CYCLING WIDOWS 2 The Trials & Tribulations of Living with an Obsessive Cyclist Do you live with an obsessive cyclist? Then find out how to deal with topics like bike porn, fetid laundry, and the Curse of the MAMIL – all these & more are deftly tackled in this long-awaited sequel. Brought to you by the author of The Cycling Widow's Survival Guide & Cyclopathic Tendencies.
The Cycling Widow's Survival Guide
Series: Cycling Widows. Price: Free! Words: 18,990. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
THE CYCLING WIDOW'S SURVIVAL GUIDE A Satirical 'Lifeline' eBook for the New or Seasoned Cycling Widow If you're a Cycling Widow, desperately wondering how to survive living with an obsessive cyclist – Fear not! Here are your answers! Designed with the new & seasoned Cycling Widow in mind, this satirical survival guide incorporates a handy Revenge Toolkit and dedicated Agony Aunt column.
Cyclopathic Tendencies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,010. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Welcome to Masterton Training Facility… where breeding the perfect cycling athlete takes on a whole new meaning! Hopeful Tour de France contender, Mark Bradley, arrives at Masterton Training Facility to train alongside hero riders like Larry Legstrong. When the team manager pressures him to take drugs, trouble ensues and he finally discovers a deeper conspiracy. But will he live to tell the tale?
Campervan Capers 2
Series: Campervan Capers. Price: Free! Words: 12,770. Language: British English. Published: July 4, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Camping and RVing, Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
(5.00)
The Ongoing Adventures of a Campervanning Couple... With a first year of adventures under their belt, the campervanning couple embark on another year of mini capers. In this sequel to Campervan Capers, the author continues to blend travel tale with humour and practicality as she and her partner explore more sights (and sites) after the maiden year in their camper.
Campervan Capers
Series: Campervan Capers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 49,730. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Camping and RVing, Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
(4.00)
CAMPERVAN CAPERS A Couple's First Year Exploring the World of Campervanning... What do you do when you've got itchy feet but don't want to uproot your life? Buy a campervan! At least, that's what this couple did... Campervan Capers follows a capering couple through their first year of owning a camper, & blends travel tale with humour whilst also addressing some of the more practical aspects
The Jacaranda Trail
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,390. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
THE JACARANDA TRAIL - A Journey of Discovery Down Under... Would you just sell everything, ditch your plans and buy a ticket to the other side of the world? In her twenties, the author did just that – and got much more than she could ever have bargained for ...
The Intrepid Adventures of Ralph Ingleton
Price: Free! Words: 6,990. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
(4.00)
Listening to his grandfather's exciting travel tales, young Ralph dreams of becoming an adventurer himself some day... Bravely pushing the bounds of exploration. Venturing into uncharted territory. And going where no Westerner has gone before. However, as an adult, Ralph's imagination can sometimes get him into hot water. A light-hearted tale with a twist or two.
Cycling Widows
Series: Cycling Widows. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,520. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling, Nonfiction » Biography » Sports biography
(2.50)
CYCLING WIDOWS Lifting the Veil on Living with an Obsessive Cyclist Written by a long-suffering Cycling Widow, this is a satirical look at the world of cycling, and might just save a few marriages – as well as many a bike from being fed into the garden mulcher. A 'must read' for fanatical cyclists & Cycling Widows alike.