Hi there! I’m Freya Pickard, author and poet.
Five years ago I ended up in hospital, dying of a malignant tumour in my bowel that grew so quickly I wasn’t aware of it until I suddenly became extremely ill. I had to have several operations in order to save my life. I prepared myself to die and vowed that if God spared my life, I would publish all the books I’d written but not yet been brave enough to publish.
After two major operations and 6 months of chemotherapy, to “mop up” the traces of cancer left in my blood vessels, I returned home to recover. Eleven months after falling ill, I managed to return to work. In 2016 I published my first e-book, a short story called The Essence of Thyme. It was a huge learning curve and an extremely difficult thing to do – particularly making a video about it! But, none of it was as dreadful as lying in a hospital bed with a 50/50 chance of living or dying.
Since June 2016 I’ve published a total of 12 books (short stories, novels and poetry) and my 13thbook is due for publication in October.
Initially, I depended on family and friends in the real world to buy my books and spread the word but was bitterly disappointed. Only a handful of writing friends actually bought my books. I received a lot of congratulations but no interest from anyone else.
So I concentrated on my contacts online and discovered that actually, virtual friends were the ones buying online. And then total strangers started buying my books too! I still rely on word of mouth online and my blog to spread the word, and I use social media to let people know when a new book is available.
My big drive at the moment is to get more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads in order to be able to use promotions through My Book Cave and Bookbub to get my books in front of a wider, buying audience.
Since having cancer, my outlook on life has changed. I no longer do things because people want me to or because I feel I ought to. In 2016 my job came to an end so my soulmate and I bought a B&B and moved to the West Country! It’s certainly a change of lifestyle! I now spend most of my time running the business with just a couple of months every year to work on my books and get them ready for publishing.
I have no intention of ever writing about the B&B industry (there’s nothing new I can add to a very difficult, demanding job) but it is giving me loads of ideas for characters in The Kaerling series! Mainly evil, horrible characters because, as I’ve discovered, the majority of people who stay with us are disrespectful and thoroughly awful people. I am more convinced with each day that passes, that I’m not human, but an alien trapped in a human body!
I set out to write my current series, The Kaerling, because I want to explore the true meaning of racism; are we born racist or does our culture make us racist? What exactly is racism and can we be cured of it? I found it very difficult to write about my main character’s unexplained racist tendencies in Volume Three but also found it very illuminating – I think everyone is essentially racist in someway… I am going to enjoy writing about how Otta learns to overcome her “racism” in future volumes.
I am a mixed race person (English/Irish/French) so I feel I have the right to explore such a sensitive subject. But I do not preach or put forward any particular view. I simply want to raise the issue and offer insights into why racism exists. I am not going tell the reader what to think or how to feel, simply to think about the issues I raise, whilst enjoying my fantasy world of Nirunen.
Coming in October
How do I see my future? Hopefully to remain cancer-free and to continue to publish The Kaerling and other books. I don’t see myself running a B&B forever – it’s purely to get my soulmate to retirement age. After that – who knows? Maybe we’ll run a rescue centre for retired greyhounds to stop them being put down. I have a feeling that animals are more grateful than humans when you clean up after them and feed them!
If you’d like to find out how my B&B life progresses or when I’m publishing my next book, follow my blog at https://dragonscaleclippings.wordpress.com or sign up to my newsletter!