084 LK Chapman

P6134814-1600x1067Name: LK CHAPMAN



Doing my thoughtful writer poseI got contacted by Louise after I put a shout out for more people to write about on The Spiralling. It’s been a pleasure to write my first feature about a published author.

Since her mid teens Louise has suffered with a stream of physical and mental health problems. “Starting with a bizarre neurological condition which led to me gradually losing the use of most fingers on my left hand. At one point I was told I would lose the use of both hands and my feet.” Thankfully this turned out not to be the case, but she thinks it had a big influence on how she views life. “I became very ambitious and felt I needed to achieve everything I wanted to as quickly as possible.”

The many drafts of NetworkedThis attitude towards her work has caused Lucy problems since, as she tends to burn herself out. “In a way it was when I burned myself out so badly and became really quite ill, that it allowed me to pursue writing. It became impossible for me to continue working full time and I had to re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my life.” For most of her early twenties she struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and was unable to do much of anything. “In the back of my mind I always hoped I would get well enough to pursue writing and enjoy life again. Things changed for me when I began to fight my condition, and I volunteered for a while for mental health charity Mind at a drop-in centre in Kent, where I met some great people and it helped build my confidence. It was then that I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a published author.” 

NetworkedLouise has always been interested in people, “in emotions, and relationships, and the ways in which we are similar and different to each other. At university I studied psychology, and worked for around a year afterwards designing personality questionnaires for a consultancy company. The idea of the questionnaires was to help people understand what was holding them back in their careers, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. I loved learning more about personality traits and how to measure them, and it really made me appreciate how valuable everyone is in terms of their unique sets of skills and abilities.” 

Drawing on things she learnt while studying psychology and things that puzzle or disturb her, Louise finds writing is a way to make sense of things. “Sometimes just something I see on TV, or a fragment of conversation I overhear will raise all kinds of questions for me that I can explore through writing. In my sci-fi novel Networked (published in 2014) I was inspired by the question of whether our minds and bodies are inextricably linked or whether they could perhaps exist separately, while in my latest novel Anything for Him (published in 2016) one of the things I really wanted to do was to explore teenage relationships. For this I was able to draw on my university dissertation, which was about the social and contextual factors influencing condom use in young heterosexual couples. It was really great for me to be able to take something I researched and then bring it to life in a story. I guess I do quite like covering ‘issues’ in my novels, although I’m always conscious of trying to create something that is entertaining to read. My worst nightmare would be for my writing to come across as preachy!” 

Anything for HimGetting her first novel Networked published felt like such a big deal that Louise sort of thought that once it was out there everything would fall into place. “Discovering that this wasn’t the case was quite a big learning curve! I’m a self-published author, and I had the bad luck of my publishing company going bust just a month or two after my first novel was released. This was really disheartening, and I felt bad for friends and family who had supported me by buying my book as I never received any royalties, or even any sales figures. It was tough to pick myself up and go through the whole publishing process again, this time doing everything myself from cover design to formatting digital and paperback editions of my book. I had to learn how to do it all from scratch, and now I’m so glad the company did go bust because I learnt so many new skills and did things I never thought I’d be able to do. It’s exciting to think that everything that went into Networked is completely my own work (plus some technical help from my husband!) It was an amazing moment when a reviewer got back to me after reading it and saying that he absolutely loved it. It was the first time I had any feedback from a stranger, and it made me feel that putting my work out there was the right thing to do, even if it does feel terrifying sometimes!”        

Worth PursuingLouise thinks entertainment of all different kinds is important in making life interesting. “It’s fun to talk about things you’ve read or watched or been to, and when you really enjoy something that another person has created it’s like you have this connection with them. Writing is fun for me to do and my way of expressing myself, and if somebody else enjoys reading it then that’s the most wonderful feeling.”

Louise’s plan for the future is to carry on writing, and to carry on reading too. “After becoming independently published I’ve started reading a lot more books by other indie authors, and it’s so nice to build up relationships with others who are on the same journey as me. Being self-published involves a lot of time trying to figure out how to market and promote your work so it doesn’t just stay in obscurity, and of course I’d love to gradually build up more of a following.” Currently she’s on her way to finishing her third novel now. “I fit in working on it around looking after my baby boy so it may take a while before it’s finished, but that’s probably going to be the next big event for me- publishing book number three!”

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