Author Jayne Kemish

Jayne lives in Wales. Her favourite things are cats, the sea, the countryside, music and of course writing.

After 22 years working in a local government admin job, in 2015 she took voluntary redundancy and with it the chance to do something she loved for the first time in her life. She started doing music promotion (which she'd already been doing as a hobby for 4 years) and also promised herself that she would continue working on her memoir which she had started in 2013.

Her memoir is now basically completed with 2 chapters needing 'fleshing out'. Both the title and cover of her memoir are being kept under wraps for now.

She also runs a website for her childhood cancer awareness project called 'Guitars 4 Good', the aim of which is to both raise awareness of, and fundraise for, children's cancer via music.

What genre do you write and why did you choose it?
Memoir – it wasn't so much a case of choosing memoir, more a case of having a rather unique story to tell. A story which I hope will encourage others to keep going no matter what life throws at you, and it threw so much at me during those 8 years I almost didn't get back up more than once … but here I am, still standing. 

Your book or what you are currently working on.
I am working on my memoir, which is the story of 8 years of my life, 2009 to 2016,

Those 8 years brought with them:
3 shocking deaths all under the age of 40 (one suicide; one alcohol related; one road traffic accident) and all within the space of 10 months;
equally shocking family discoveries;
a long lost love coming back after 20+ years who, quite frankly, should have stayed long lost;
a new love who turned out to be a master manipulator and who was the purveyor of yet more shocking discoveries which brought disbelief and despair.

I also endured the death of my 3 cats and a cancer scare.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing about my emotions is easy for me, it always has been. I am finding though that filling in the description regarding people I did not know is the most difficult for me personally. The chapter on my astounding family discovery is consequently currently too factual, so fleshing that out is what I am finding the most difficult.

Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I feel less inhibited. It flows more easily now, with more of my personality showing through.

Have you ever let any of your books stew for months or even a year?
I did indeed let my memoir stew for several months. Although it is cathartic writing memoir, it is quite emotionally draining on occasion also. When I went back to it after a lengthy break I returned with a new vision and new vigour.

Who designs your book covers?
I have designed my memoir cover myself – it's very simple but very striking. I'm keeping the full title under wraps, so I cannot show the cover yet – but its initials are K.I.T.S.

Are you self published or do you have a publisher and why?
For me finding a publisher is the way to go.

How do you market yourself and your book?
Well, when I am published (she says with steely determination), I will make use of my various social media pages which are already established in relation to my music promotion and also my personal website. I'm currently trying to build the Twitter account I started specifically for my writing endeavours, but of course my music promotion comes first as it's my job and so I have to slot in my writing social networking when I can.

Why do you write?
Purely and simply for the love of it. I'm not an aspiring writer … I am a writer. What I am is an aspiring published writer.

How often do you write and what is your process?
I have no given times, it's on a 'when the mood takes me' basis, or when something comes into my head and I have to get it down. I do find that once I am 'on a roll' I can be writing well into the early hours and it's a struggle to tear myself away from it.

What writing advice can you give?
I can only speak as someone who does non-fiction/observational writing and for me, quite simply, it should flow easily. Also, when I leave it for a few weeks and then read through a chapter, I have genuinely enjoyed reading it. I actually feel as if I'm reading something that is new to me rather than my own story. So my advice, from a memoir writer's point of view, is don't force anything, let the memories and associated emotions flow naturally and take a break from it now and again.

Can you create a short writing prompt?
Well as I'm not a fiction writer I'm going to give a prompt based on my own life story:

A girl walks through a cemetery clutching a bunch of colourful flowers in one hand and directions in the other, scanning the surrounding memorials as she goes. Then she sees it … the name she has been searching for.

Jayne Kemish