Author, freelance writer and social media consultant, Anne O’Connell, has been an expat since 1993 when she and her husband escaped the cold of Toronto, Canada and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They enjoyed the sun and sand for 14 years while she worked in the PR field, and then decided it was time for a new adventure. Heading for even more sun and sand, they moved to Dubai in late 2007 and then on to Thailand in 2011. Anne has been working as a freelance copywriter, writing coach and consultant since 2007, specializing in social media, marketing, corporate communications and public relations. She is a regular contributor to Global Living Magazine and Expat Focus. In between clients she squeezes in time for her newly found passion – writing fiction. She and her husband have a passion for travel as well and that adventurous spirit has taken them all over the world.
As a professional communicator and grass roots community advocate she strongly believes in giving back and has always looked for ways to volunteer her services as part of her daily life. She is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and was a founding member and chair from 2008-2011 for the UAE chapter of Room to Read.
She is the author of @Home in Dubai… Getting Connected Online and on the Ground; 10 Steps to a Successful PR Campaign – a Do-it-Yourself Guide for Authors; and Mental Pause, her first novel that launched March 8th, 2013, International Women’s Day. Part of the proceeds of book sales on launch day will benefit Room to Read, a charity that supports literacy programs in developing countries by building libraries, publishing local language children’s books and providing scholarships for girls.
Anne grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a bachelor of public relations from Mount St. Vincent University. For more information visit her website at www.anne-oconnell.com, join her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/annethewriter and on Twitter @annethewriter.
And now from the author herself:
For the past 20 years I have worked in a profession where my writing skills are put to use in presenting a company or client in the best way possible via the most effective vehicles to reach a particular target audience. As I honed my business writing skills, I became very adept at switching style and tone to suit the situation, however, it rarely occurred to me that I could, or should, explore fiction writing. My creative side was happily appeased by the occasional travel piece or personal blog I would write and then I would get back down to the ‘business’ of corporate copy writing.
I am an avid reader and often escape into the wonderful world of fiction and it wasn’t until a couple years ago, after I had written my first full-length book (@Home in Dubai, a non-fiction) that a story started brewing in my head and it slowly dawned on me that it could make an interesting novel.
I’ve often read that you should start with what you know. At the time, I was suffering from the symptoms of peri-menopause and had hit the keyboard to pound out what I considered the mad ramblings of a peri-menopausal woman. I thought about turning it into a blog but then it occurred to me that if I wrote it as a fiction, I could have a lot of fun with it! The timing coincided with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and our move to Thailand so I had some time on my hands and lots of ideas for a crazy storyline. I love reading mysteries and am addicted to crime dramas on TV so the plot that developed unavoidably included a murder and a trial.
The story just seemed to flow from my fingertips and I became very connected to my characters. I even started dreaming about them and one of my best plot twists (in my opinion) came in a dream. I would also take long walks and start to imagine different character traits and craft entire scenarios in my mind’s eye. As soon as I got home I would pour them out on the computer screen before I lost them. Often, I would have to just dump them into a holding file because the point I was at in the story wasn’t ready for that particular scene.
I did finish a first draft in the allotted time for NaNoWriMo and was excited by the results. Close family and friends who read it were enthusiastic about its marketability so I pushed ahead with editing it into a final manuscript that I then queried for a year. I had several agents ask for sample chapters and even one ask for the entire manuscript. Nothing materialized. Simultaneously, I was learning about the options for self-publishing, doing webinars and reading voraciously. At the end of 2012, I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer, made a New Year’s resolution to self-publish and on March 8th, Mental Pause launched on Amazon for both print and Kindle.
I have already started writing my next novel about a kidnapping in Dubai called Deep Deceit but it took a back seat to launching Mental Pause. I will get back at it once the dust settles so stay tuned.
You can find more about Anne and her writing via… her website at www.anne-oconnell.com, join her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/annethewriter and on Twitter @annethewriter. Her new novel, Mental Pause is available in ebook via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and paperback via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
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