Alana Munro lives in Australia with her husband and their three kids. Born in Scotland, she acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree from an Edinburgh University before jumping head first into motherhood. Alana spends much of her days trying to ignore the ever expanding pile of dirty washing, trying to write, counting down the hours till it is ‘wine o’clock’ (5pm is a respectable hour for a shiraz?) and sipping on camomile tea that’s went cold – again.
Initially Alana started writing articles and blogging. Through her early work she reconnected with her love of words. After two L-O-N-G years, two house moves and new baby added to the mix - Alana’s debut book, Women Behaving Badly was finally published.
In the first week alone, 500 books were downloaded from Amazon and with lots of pleasant reviews doing the rounds, Alana has been encouraged to write her second book. Here is a recent newspaper article about Alana’s debut book. Watch this space for more media coverage and new book releases.
***Update – Alana’s debut work is now a best-selling Kindle book!
Women Behaving Badly – Exposing the Truth about Female Friendship made it to #1 on Amazon Kindle USA during August 2013. She topped the paid books about ‘Emotions and Feelings’ chart on two separate occasions in August. She was even #5 for paid books about ‘Relationships’. This is a massive achievement if you consider the vastness of the American Kindle book market.
In recent times, Alana runs a Google+ community for all writers, bloggers and poets. Support-a-Writer offers support and encouragement to all new writers. The members share marketing tips, discuss their writing ideas and cheer each other on. It is a very active and friendly community, do consider joining if you hope to discover new talent or you are a writer looking to connect. You will be sure to receive a warm welcome!
*** Be sure to play this funky video all about Alana’s book…
Alana also writes articles for STEEL Magazine. It’s an American multi-cultural life style publication ran by ZAE Publishing. Alana is open to new writing jobs. If you have a blog or magazine and you need a writer to contribute – contact Alana Munro today.
Alana was recently interviewed by ABC Radio. You can listen to Alana’s full studio interview here.
Alana also runs Reach for the Stars Book Marketing. You can find out more about this quality, yet very affordable marketing for authors by clicking on the star below. Who wouldn’t want to be marketed by an author and a marketing professional who single-handedly got her own work to #1 in a paid kindle chart? Why pay a tour host who has never been there and done it for themselves? Many of her services start from only $10. It is amazing value for someone with so much personal experience of marketing books.
*Authors can now achieve quality book reviews from book bloggers who review books! This valuable service is going viral! Click on star…
*Still want to know a little more? Aha you’re in luck! Read on to discover a little Q&A session with Alana Munro…
Why do you write?
I write because I have little choice. I am able to express my feelings and thoughts through my writing. I think I write better than I talk.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Always! I have always loved to write stories, write letters to friends and write down my personal thoughts.
What motivates you to write?
It is a creative outlet. And perhaps this is a little morbid but it allows me the opportunity to leave a legacy for my children. I like the idea of my children having my book to read whenever they want to hear my voice. I guess some people like to leave a painting, or a nice garden, or maybe a recipe. I wanted to leave behind my words.
Why did you write Women Behaving Badly?
I have experienced a ridiculous amount of bullying, bitching, gossiping and hurt from females. I felt it was time to share my stories, my lessons. I wanted to expose the truth about female friendships. There is a perception that women are always loyal, supportive and kind to their girl friends. Sadly this is not always the case. Sometimes women are passive aggressive, jealous, play mind games, are competitive, bitchy and intense with each other. I wanted to address the major behaviours that I had personally accounted. I wanted to offer solutions to root out the negative friends. I wanted to give women some good examples of negative behaviour to look out for. I then wanted to help women find the positive, healthy friendships.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud of my kids, my husband and myself – we have all grown up together. We started our family quite young (22 years old) by today’s standards and I guess most people thought our freedom was over or we’d fall apart from the pressure of raising babies. Yes it was tough but our children were the beginning; they opened up our world, taught us a zillion life lessons and we grew up with them.
What books did you love growing up?
I was obsessed with Roald Dahl. His books are amazing! I always asked my Dad to read them to me.
What do you hope your obituary will day about you?
That I was a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter. That I was lucky as I had a few people in my life who loved me as much as I loved them. That I was fearless. I loved a new country, a new city, a new place to visit. I loved a new challenge and after much struggle pushed self-doubt to the side. That I understood how precious life truly was. That I got it – life is short and a lot of what people moan and worry about is pointless. I grabbed just about every opportunity that came my way and created some new paths that were not there before me.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
Without a doubt, we are shaped by our experiences. I grew up in an ex-mining town in West Lothian, Scotland. Industry in the area was destroyed by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government and never quite bounced back. I always felt I’d need to move away. I never felt like it was home. My drive to move aboard and try a new life never left me. After some time, I moved to Australia with my husband and kids in 2009. We now live in Perth, Western Australia.
How did you develop your writing?
I wrote many diaries and started daily blogs – to practice my writing skills. I enrolled in a writing course. I was trying to figure out what I was good at and what writing I should leave alone. It took some time to figure out where I was strongest. I noted I was strongest writing about my passions and writing about my own personal experiences. You can see my earlier writing here.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
It’s all pretty hard work, it would be much easier to work in an office! The writing is good once I get into a flow. But the editing is hard going so I hire a proof-reader. It is worth the $200 as she is able to see the silly mistakes. Getting published is a job in itself. Thankfully we have more freedom in 2013. Writers are able to self-publish. There is no shame in being an indie author in 2013. Many amazing authors started out on their own and it shows great drive and motivation to push yourself forward with very little or no professional support. The marketing is possibly the hardest part as it is very time-consuming and constant.
What marketing works for you?
What has worked so far is contacting the press and asking them to run an article on my debut book. That gets people talking about your book. Another good move is targeting writers who are keen to connect and promote their work too. I started my own community on Google+ called Support-a-Writer. The group is for all writers, bloggers and poets to shares ideas, marketing tips and lots of support. I think it is vital for writers to work together and support each other. Trying to get exposure and become a successful writer on your own is unrealistic and lonely. It is much nicer to have other writers in your world. We understand the frustrations and the joys of writing.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Yes. It gets easier and I am better able to let comments wash over me nowadays, but it is still a struggle to share. I put so much work and effort into each project. But we have to find the courage to share. We have to allow other people the opportunity to read our work. The most important thing is having a thick skin and truly believing in your writing ability. I’ll be honest, it took me many years to really believe I could write. I decided to ignore my self-doubt.
Is your family supportive?
Yes thankfully. My Dad is hoping to retire after my next book! He’s a funny guy!
Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes, I’d love to. I have lots of ideas. I just need to commit to a project. I love to write about my personal experiences. I want to connect with the reader.
What else do you do, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full-time…
I’m very lucky. I am able to stay home with the kids and my husband works full-time. Once our youngest kid is older, I’d love to work a couple of days in a book shop, library or a school. I want to spend the rest of the time writing books and marketing my work and other authors.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
When I was a student at university I had lots of different jobs for my ‘wine and shoe funds’. I was a chamber maid (I quite enjoyed that), I was a waitress (I was hopeless!), I worked in clothes shops, a supermarket at the check out for about two years and I had various office jobs in the Scottish city of Aberdeen – I spent much of my time looking at the clock in offices and wondering when I could go home. My biggest and most rewarding role is being a mother.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love to live in France, Spain or Italy. I’d drink far too much red wine, eat cheese with olives and snooze under a shaded tree. I wouldn’t be very productive but I’d be pretty relaxed!
Tell us about your family?
I have three loving sons – Ethan, Arden and Laike. They are such loving boys. I am very, very blessed indeed. My husband Michael is hilarious – he should have been a comedian.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
On the lap top, at a table, with endless cups of tea and lots of chocolate to keep me going. I need the sugar high!
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My husband for putting up with me – I’ve changed my ambitions a lot but at last with writing I’ve found my path. My parents for telling me to keep on writing. My late Grandparents for telling me to follow my heart.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
I knew I wanted my book in a library. The library in my town has requested a copy so I am over the moon! I would love to get a hard copy into some book shops too. That’s my next step. Rome wasn’t built-in a day. It takes time to build a career in writing. But I’m determined!
Describe yourself in five words? Sensitive, passionate, determined, positive and crazy.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people? My singing voice is pretty powerful. I’ve won a few competitions when I was 14.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear? A few glasses of red wine always helps! If I can’t swig back some robust rioja I do everything I can to put my fear and self-doubt into perspective. I tell myself most fears are not life and death. So calm down! I also tell myself that most self-doubt is just my horrible inner critic. She’s such a bitch. I tell her to be quiet quite a lot! I refuse to listen to her negative nonsense.
What scares you the most? Anything happening to my kids and husband.
What makes you happiest? Besides finding an amazing bargain in the sales, being served a funky cocktail or going on holiday? My family!
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? If I could go back to being that 18-year-old girl and pick again…hmmmm….probably zoology (a bit random but I love animals!) or psychology as I am fascinated by people’s behaviour. The sensible option of course would have been law or engineering. I considered teaching but I opted for a business and marketing degree. It’s too young to know! I am always amazed when kids know what path to choose. There are still so many things I want to learn. Overall, I am pretty pleased I have marketing and business under my belt. It has served me well with marketing my writing work.
How much sleep do you need to be your best? I need at least 7.5 hours, but ideally I am happiest, most rested on 9 or 10. Oh if only…
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? Nelson Mandela (he’s a clever man), my late grandpa as he was a chatter box and loved a good meal, Ewan McGregor (he seems nice), Richard Dawkins (I would definitely have lots to ask him), Bill Bryson (he’s such a cool guy), Tim Minchin (he could sing some of his amazing songs!) and Jamie Oliver – but only if he cooks and washes up after himself.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? I watch movies, dance in the kitchen with my husband, read books, drink red wine.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? That’s a hard question. I guess I just hope they consider my words and can relate to me. If my book helps just one woman find peace and validation from her bad ‘mean girl’ experiences I will be pleased!
Want more? Here is Alana being interviewed by Steel Magazine: