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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Abi Shaw describes the experiences that inspired her to write her memoir, No Matter Where, and her creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Abi Shaw about her life and career, how being abandoned by her husband after a cancer diagnosis inspired her to write her memoir, No Matter Where, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Abi Shaw and I’m an eternal optimist. I’m a mother to two kids and we have ventured from the Midland to the Cote d’Azur to Cornwall, Devon, back to France and now back to Bali. I believe home is where I am with my kids although as we are about to split up for the first time ever, home is the bond that ties us together.
I’ve done all sorts in my life for work from high end PR to PA work in the Super Yacht industry to interior design to Marketing to waitressing to property renovation to a small tea import business. I have a massive passion for people and an insatiable appetite for life and I’m not prepared to settle for anything less than amazing. I’m incredibly practical but even in the most challenging moments of my life you will find elegance and glamour.
I’m probably on this planet to spread love, joy and positivity.
I’m a cancer survivor and I’ve been divorced for 10 years. I’m currently single but working on that!
When did you first WANT to write a book? When did you take a step to start writing?
I’ve always written for my work and adore it. I started journaling on the advice of my incredible councillor when I had my cancer diagnosis and my husband left but I guess when I landed in Bali 6 years ago, that’s when I decided to pour my life experience (so far) into a book.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
What made you want to write No Matter Where?
I wanted to share my story in its raw form, without any omissions or embellishments. I hope that someone somewhere will pick it up and it’ll make them smile or give them a moment of hope if that’s what they need.
What were your biggest challenges with writing No Matter Where?
Writing about the horror years of finding out I had cancer and then being abandoned by the person I loved most in the world. Trying to recreate those feelings of fear and heartbreak were hard as they are not in my body anymore.
What was your research process for No Matter Where?
None whatsoever, I just wrote with the flow.
How did you plan the structure of No Matter Where?
I couldn’t write about the silver linings without explaining the cloud so that’s how the structure fell into place.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did No Matter Where need?
My publisher moved one chapter to a more appropriate place which I’d been really struggling with – that was it.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Sit down and have fun. Don’t overthink it, let the words flow and it’ll kind of write itself but be brave and don’t hold back. You’re at your best when you are being honest, raw and not listening to all those little voices!
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
My plan is to write a second book in Bali and it’ll most probably have to do with desire, intimacy, honesty and love.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
OMG yes, I’m so proud of myself and I would do it again and again and again. I have to say that writing it was the easy bit! Getting into the big wide world, the design, layout, printing process etc – that’s been a challenge.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Instagram – abixshaw
Facebook – abixshaw
No Matter Where by Abi Shaw
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