As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Diana Holbourn shares the inspiration behind her new book, Trying To Make The World A Better Place, the Becky Bexley the Child Genius Book 1.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Diana Holbourn about her life and career, being inspired to write about bullying and mental health problems in her new book, Trying To Make The World A Better Place, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m just a dreamer, a low-flyer, as opposed to all the highflyers out there, but I’m hoping people will think my books are good. I’ve been blind all my life, but technology has enabled me to write my books. I went to Warwick University, where volunteers read my course material onto tape so I could study it. Since then I’ve done a variety of things, including a show on a little Internet radio station, and some short psychology courses.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
When I was about six. In fact, I did write a book then, a little one in braille about a group of girls having fun together. Unfortunately, I can barely remember anything about it now.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I’ve always written stuff. As for when I started writing the stories that were eventually turned into my current books, that was in early 2014, after a niece of mine called Becky phoned me up one night to ask if I could write something for a blog she’d started, and I came up with the idea of writing a funny story that made believe she was a child genius who could talk as soon as she was born. I serialised it on her blog for some time, making it up as I went along. It was just a hobby. Parts of it got more serious over time.
After a while I realised there was so much of it I could maybe turn it into a book. After a bit more time I realised it would have to be several. Part of it eventually became the children’s comedy book I had published near the end of last year, The Early Life of Becky Bexley the Child Genius.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I’m not sure. For some time it wasn’t intended to be a book at all, just a daft funny story, and later something that had more serious parts too. I wrote a lot of material over some years, and then realised there was so much I needed to separate it out into several books if I wanted to get any published one day.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
Again, I can’t really answer that, since the books were all merged together as one story till I separated them all out fairly recently.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Trying To Make The World A Better Place?
It was mostly a hobby at first, but I started thinking it would be good to do because it’s possible it could help a lot of people with problems with mental health and some other difficulties. That’s why I decided it would be nice to try to get it published one day, so more people would get to discover the information there.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Trying To Make The World A Better Place?
Disciplining myself to read through it several times editing it. Being blind didn’t cause a problem, since I’ve got software on my computer with an electronic voice that reads out loud what I’m typing and what’s on the screen, so I can access the Internet and confidently write documents.
I also managed to access some psychology-type books in the years before I started writing my books, because I’ve got a scanner that can be used with speech software, so I scanned books into it page by page, and it read out loud what they said.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
No one really. I just fancied a bit of entertainment at a time that coincided with when my niece phoned me up and asked me if I’d write something for her blog. Her question sparked off the idea for the main character in my mind, and was the reason the story was originally a make-believe story about her.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
There isn’t a major antagonist in my books, just a few pests and minor bullies. There is one physical fight, between people who really ought to know better, which Becky has to try to stop. That wasn’t really inspired by anything. It’s just the kind of thing such people might possibly do if they were really hyped up on rhetoric or cocaine or something … unless they really do that kind of thing for real, but we somehow just never get to hear about it.
What is the inciting incident of Trying To Make The World A Better Place?
There isn’t one. It’s not that kind of book. It’s more like a biography, describing a series of separate events.
What is the main conflict of your book?
My book isn’t about conflict. There are just a few little ones, like when Becky rescues her mum from a con artist who’s trying to deceive her, against the wishes of her mum, who doesn’t realise she’s being deceived at the time.
Did you plot Trying To Make The World A Better Place in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I just made it up as I went along, coming up with more and more ideas over time.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Trying To Make The World A Better Place need?
I didn’t get support with editing. I did a lot myself. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2021, and decided that since I might not be around to finish it if I took time to try and get it perfected, ‘good enough’ would have to do instead, and I’d try to get it self-published rather than taking time to try to find a publisher and then spending more time submitting to whatever edits they wanted to do on it.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Just sit down and write whatever you feel like writing. You can always modify it later, such are the conveniences of word processors. Goodness knows how they coped in the time of Dickens, when someone might write a massive novel, then look through it and realise there were things they wanted to improve. I don’t know what they would have done!
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m planning to release four books in the Becky Bexley series this year, and then possibly around three more next year, although that depends on my health … and whether the apocalypse has happened by then.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I don’t think of my books as anything to take pride in, but I do think they were worth the effort.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Trying To Make The World A Better Place:
A children’s comedy book I published near the end of last year:
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.