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Today we would like to present to you a wonderful project, put together for charitable purposes. The project in question is an anthology of short stories by diverse writers from around the world, who all donated their time and effort to benefit the Macmillan Cancer Support nurses.
We have spoken to Ian Moore, the compiler of the anthology You’re Not Alone.
Thank you for talking to us. Jump Mag is delighted to able to support this charitable project.
Can you tell us what inspired the creation of the anthology and the decision to donate the proceeds to the Macmillan charity?
The anthology You’re Not Alone was created during a very stressful time. It began as an idea during a conversation with a fellow writer, Lesley Hayes, as my then partner’s mother battled cancer. It was a battle that she would eventually lose so I set to work to do something in her memory.
You will see the dedication in the forepages of the book in both formats. Her name was Pamela Mary Winton. The decision to donate to Macmillan Cancer Support came for two reasons: The first being Pamela’s care given by the Macmillan Nurses and the second so that we could help in some small way to combat this terrible global disease.
A very creative way to give something back to those who care. Did you require the stories to be written around a central theme? What criteria were there for submissions?
We chose the theme of Relationships after a group vote. It is the fairest way to decide what to write about, given that we all come from different genre writing backgrounds and that many of us had never written short stories before.
How did you gather the contributions? Can you tell us about the selection process?
There was no selection process as such. I simply posted a plea for help, outlining the idea of what I wanted to do in our author group, the Indie Author Support and Discussion Group on Facebook. Within 24 hours, I had offers from all over the world from 28 writers, and work began.
In the course of the process, offers came from bloggers, editors, proof-readers and cover designers and it really took off from there. Most were from those who have, at some point, come into contact either directly or indirectly with cancer and wanted to help. It really was humbling to experience.
And what about all the work involved, such as editing and compiling and even cover designing? How did that all take place, especially with contributors from so many different places?
We opted for a system of stages with regards to the editing process. Firstly, each story would be read by the inner team. The team consisted of authors Lesley Hayes, Sylva Fae, Sallyann Phillips, Nico Laeser, Robert Wingfield. We read each story, edited it and then passed our edited stories to Lesley first off. Lesley is the most experienced writer of us all, being both published and self published.
Once the stories came back edited, we then sent them to Nico Laeser for formatting and inclusion into a final document. This was then passed to Robert Wingfield, another very experienced writer, for a final edit.
In the meantime, Sylva Fae’s mum, Christine Southworth – a very talented artist, offered to design a cover for us. Christine produced three or four designs for us to choose from and we opted for the embraced figures you see today. This was an actual etched print that was then passed to Nico Laeser who turned it into the digital image we have now.
This sounds like an incredible amount of work has gone into this anthology. How long did the whole project take, from the idea to the publication?
Working around the clock on three continents it took just 98 days from the first idea to publication to produce You’re Not Alone – An Indie Author Anthology
Were there any legal concerns to deal with?
When writing with the endorsement of any major charity, there are legal issues to consider. The writing must be appropriate in content. Use of profanity must be kept to a minimum and subjects such as politics or religion should always be avoided. Bear in mind that once the work is published, it is out there for a very long time and does reflect upon the charity.
It took a great deal of effort to get the charity backing, many days of negotiation and a proof copy had to be sent before approval was given. The use of the charity logo is also subject to legal conditions by which we abide. It can only be used to promote the anthology.
Are there any moments from the project that particularly stand out for you?
The finding of the title has to be the most memorable. For two weeks we argued, debated, discussed, mulled and toyed with various names. In the end, Sylva Fae came up with Not Alone, to which I added the word “You’re”. And so the title was born. There were epic moments reading the entires, some of which bring a tear to the eye, Nico Laeser’s story for instance, and some of which will have you looking at the pages in wonder.
What do you feel you have learned from the process?
My determination at the time of writing the anthology overshadowed my compassion for the people who volunteered. I was a man on a mission. What it showed me is what true friends really are. It has shown me that worldwide, there are people out there who really do care about others, who will drop everything to help a fellow in need and will produce some truly stunning stories in the process.
It taught me to listen more to different points of view, to reason and to a degree, matter of the heart. It helped me to deal with the loss of someone very dear and gave me solace that Pamela lives on in each and every word of that compilation.
This fund for Macmillan is a truly beautiful tribute to her.
What about your own contribution? Have you written one of the stories yourself? If so, have you also written other things, and how did this piece differ?
When I first began writing I began with poetry and short stories, though nothing ever published. In July 2014 I set about writing my first full novel, Salby Damned. It is with the immense help of the IASD that I have found the guidance, knowledge and talent to be able to produce it to a high enough standard to sell. I owe so much to that group of people.
Writing a short story isn’t as easy as you might think. It needs a beginning, middle and an end in such as way as to be, well, short. I took two attempts to write my own entry, scrapping the first title. The story for this anthology, for all of us, held a certain sense of feeling. We all wanted to produce something worthy of honouring a lost soul and good enough to be represented by such a major charity.
The idea was to produce more anthologies with other writers from around the world with a view to making it an annual event for the charity. We have the 2016 editions in progress as we speak. This new project will be two volumes featuring over forty writers from around the world, many of whom wrote in You’re Not Alone.
That sounds like a great plan, very generous on your part, given the amount of time and work that has gone into this first publication, and we wish you well with that.
The anthology has been independently published. Was this the intention from the start, or were any publishers approached?
The anthology was always going to be a self-published work, not least because ALL of the profits can then be donated to the charity without the need for a cut being deducted by a publisher. Yes, a major publisher would have its advantages, but it was always going to be one of many that I put together with the help of many others. With luck, it will grow and grow to encompass more international writers and raise a lot of money for the charity in years to come.
With such a diverse group of authors, each with their own style, the finished project must contain something to suit everyone’s taste. What sort of feedback have you had so far?
The anthology has received some very positive reviews. Indeed, the stories are very varied and not necessarily to do with cancer directly. It is a “veritable smorgasbord” of tales, indeed. I would urge anyone reading this to pick up a copy to try for yourself, in doing so, not only will you have a plethora of short tales to amuse and entertain you but you’ll also be helping those who need it most.
Thank you again, Mr Moore. We wish you every success with your fundraising.
You’re Not Alone is available here:
You can find out more about Macmillan here.