Please, let me know your thoughts

I’m tidying my fantasy manuscript, which is ‘finished’, but not ‘finished’. As a first time author (as any author is), I’m conscious of gaining a reader’s trust. A story is about giving promises and then fulfilling them and making sure every word counts… that every word drives the story.

The thing is, I have a catch 22 situation. Being a first time author (of fiction) I haven’t yet earned a reader’s trust. It has come to my attention there’s a certain character in my manscript who doesn’t seem relevant. If a reader doesn’t trust me yet, they may lose interest and put the book down BEFORE that character’s relevance becomes obvious.

My question is:

  1. For the readers – do you cut a new author some slack before putting the book down?
  2. For authors – how do/did you deal with this problem? Where a character is there for a purpose but that purpose isn’t obvious until later in the book?

Living with stroke

It took me a year to graduate from an air mattress to a normal mattress. Like going from a cloud to a rock. And learning to sleep on my side? Lifting my arm across my body to reach the bedrail to pull myself on my side? Well, let’s imagine an Olympic heavy weight champion’s efforts when they lift.

And after I pulled myself onto my side? I couldn’t balance there. I’d fall back on my back. Crushing. All that effort wasted. The only way I could balance on my side was by crooking my arm over the bedrail. I had to sleep that way. Always made the nurses laugh if they found me sleeping in that position.

Nowdays, I have no bedrail. It’s still hard to roll on my side, but not as hard. I can’t sleep on my back for two reasons. 1. my swallow makes it hard to breathe comfortably. 2. If I happen to fall asleep on my back, then when I wake, I’m a dead body and rolling on my side is virtually impossible. Think 50 First Dates. Yes, the brain does forget. I know, I live it everyday.

And being home beats all 🙂

More details in my book on Amazon here.

The kind of reviews I’m getting…

In case you missed them, these are the kind of reviews I’m getting:

“I think the most important message I take away from this biographical account is courage is key in facing any adversity. Rachel’s harrowing ordeal has–if anything else–been a lesson in humility, determination, perseverence and the importance of the love of family and friends.

The writing is clear and penetrative. The fact she slowly typed this out letter by letter on an iPad only shows how determined and courageous she has been in telling her remarkable story. The best part is the reader doesn’t have to have gone through anything like what Rachel has endured to appreciate the book. Rachel’s struggle is the struggle so many have gone through as part of life. There is a universal resonance to make this book relevant to readers everywhere.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be convalescing, wherever they may be, to serve as inspiration and encouragement.”

or

“Friends and family – I urge you to download this book or buy a paperback version from Amazon and read it asap! I just finished reading it over a 36hr period (a PB for me)…it is written by my friend Rachel who 4 years ago, suffered a brain-stem stroke (age 41, mother of three kids, wife and running her own law practice) which left her with locked-in syndrome. That means that her only communication was by eye movement (look ‘up’ for yes, down for ‘no’) Slowly and surely, and with hours of rehab each week, she is gaining more movement and has amazingly written this memoir of her journey – all by using one finger to type!! I’ve learnt, by reading the book, that she doesn’t think she is amazing or inspirational, however she truely is! Rachel Capps 😘❤️🙌”

or

“Rach, I just finished reading your book… wow!! It was incredible!! What an amazing insight into what you have been through and still go through. I am speechless and very humbled, your strength and courage despite the odds is inspirational. Working in a school, we often have to try and show kids how to flip negatives into positives and you have done this and continue to do this over and over under what most of us would see as the hardest, most terrifying of circumstances. You are bloody amazing and I need to come see you soon to give you the biggest hug and personally thank you for sharing your story. How lucky am I to say that I’m related to someone as awesome as you!! I love you lots ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️”

or

“Just finished reading this book written by a client of mine who had a brainstem stroke who I had the pleasure of meeting and working with at Nepean Hospital in my days working as an OT in ICU & the Acute Stroke Unit. What an inspiration you are Rachel and what an incredible journey you are on. Your courage, motivation, strength and determination is absolutely incredible.

This book is excellent and I would highly recommend reading it. It provides such a valuable insight of experiences from a patients perspective and really demonstrates how those of us who work in the health and disability fields can sometimes become a little immune or de-sensitized in a way to the often terrible situations that we encounter each day in our working lives.

This book provides a vital reminder of just how frightening a time the patient is actually going through in their life and really emphasizes the importance of empathy.

I think that due to my own personal experiences and challenges, that I have and use empathy well in my practice as an occupational therapist when I am working with clients, but this book definitely served as a welcome reminder. I thank Rachel for writing this book and sharing her incredible journey and appreciate the mammoth effort it would’ve been for her to write this book.”

 

or

“If you are looking for holiday reading Rachel Capps has published a book on Amazon (download for just over $5! and if you download the Amazon app read it on your device).
Rachel suffered a catastrophic stroke several years ago and against all odd she has managed to write her story – she is wheel chair bound and has locked in syndrome which means she has lost her speech and much of her motor skills. But her cognitive function is still in tact so she is able to communicate by iPad. She has written a book about her journey since her stroke – it isn’t an easy read to learn about someone’s suffering and pain but Rachel writes the story with humour and demonstrates her strength of character. It is a fantastic read and highly recommend it!”

or

I just finished. Omg its amazing.”

or

” Bought it, read it. I couldn’t put it down.”

Thanks to everyone who read it, I’m pleased you enjoyed it! Available on Amazon here if you want to know what a stroke feels like.

FES Bike

In my book, I refer to an “FES bike”. This is a notoriously clever device.

It stands for Functional Electrical Stimulation, which means the pads I wear are programmed to provide electrical pulses to my muscles at the precise time my muscles need to be stimulated during revolutions of my ride. Super clever, huh?

This is what it looks like (that’s part of the tilt table behind it):

bike

My book, if you’re interested, is available on Amazon here.