Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Chatting with Sandy Kilpin-Miller

Welcome to the blogsite, Sandy. Thank you for joining us.

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I was born in Northampton but moved to Cumbria in 1999 where I joined Cumbria Constabulary in 2004. For the next 12 years I lived and breathed being a British Bobby and loved every minute of it. Sadly in 2012 I became mentally unwell,  had a breakdown and found myself being hospitalised against my will. I tried to take my own life several times. Thankfully, I managed to survive and I have lived to tell the tale. I retired from the police, due to ill health in 2016.

Q. Where do you live and do you have a day job?
A. I moved from Cumbria to Cornwall, in the South West of England last year. This has given me a new lease of life after the police. I love the beaches and the sunnier climate. The shorelines are great places to visit and relax, rewind and for inspiration.

Q. When you’re not writing, what leisure time activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
A. I am a shopaholic. Even if it is just window shopping. I love retail therapy. Second on the list is the beach.

Q. Do you have a kindle, nook, or reading device yourself, or do you prefer to read from printed versions of a book?
A I think the Kindle is a great invention and I love mine. I love the idea of being able to change the size of the font!

Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. I have always loved writing, even as a little girl, I was always writing stories. So it has been a natural progression for me to continue.

Q. Do you have an office or ‘space’ where you write from and is it at home, or elsewhere?
A. I do most of my writing on the computer at home. However, last summer, prior to purchasing my iPad I did spend time handwriting in a notebook, sitting by the beach. I wrote long hand and then transferred it to the computer. It’s time consuming but sitting on the beach in the sunshine doing what I love takes some beating.

Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A. I was inspired to write these ebooks, in particularly I 'Survived Suicide' because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. There is a lot of good work going on but it remains a taboo subject. Talking about suicide doesn’t cause people to take their lives. Initially I didn’t talk about how I was feeling because I was too embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I wasn’t coping. Life is full of .. if only’s………

Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A.   The three e-books I have released are all from personal experience . For 10 months I was in and out of hospital and very nearly lost my life. It is an experience I would not wish anyone else to go through and yet one in four people suffer from mental health issues and sadly someone dies through suicide every forty seconds worldwide.  I have written fictitious thrillers in the past and now I am retired I am planning to do this again.

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A.   I have two work in progress, one is another non-fiction ebook which is concentrating on the aspects of mental health again. It is my passion and I will continue to fight against the stigma.
  The other work in progress has to be a psychological thriller, it’s in the very early planning stages, but I’m getting quite excited about it.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. The best piece advice I can give someone thinking about writing, is have faith in yourself. Rely on no-one and write. Write. And write.

Q. I'd agree with that answer. Yep! But if you won a million pounds / dollars tomorrow, what would you do with the proceeds?
A.   If I won a million pounds tomorrow I would ensure financial security for my grandchildren, but I would also use some of the money to put towards raising awareness of stress related illness, specifically in the police and mental health awareness in general. There is still stigma attached to mental illness and that is wrong. My mantra is keep going and be awesome and this is something I would promote.

Q. If you were gifted an air ticket to ‘anywhere’, which destination would you choose above all others and why?
A. I would fly  Ayres Rock, in Australia. I have been once before and it is truly a remarkable place. Magical and mystical.

Q. If you could invite three people from history to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why?
A. This question made me smile, the first person I would invite without a shadow of doubt, is my Mum. She died in 2008 and a day doesn’t pass when I don’t miss her and wish I could talk to her, so having the chance to have her back would be a dream come true. My next choice would be, Freddie Mercury. (click for bio link) A funny, talented, truly gifted individual who was taken way too soon. And my final guest, would be  Emmeline Pankhurst (click for link to bio) who we owe so much.

Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A I am known on Twitter as @Sandykeepgoing and my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Tryandkeepgoing/        

Thank you, Sandy for your writing contributions over the years in respect of our charity anthologies, and, in particular, for your support in Chiari Warriors and our fundraising events. I wish you all the very best in your new life in Cornwall.

Click HERE for the link to Sandy's amazon page