How my crazy dating experiences led to me becoming an author

My business journey started in the hair industry, however thirty years and a couple of salons later I was ready for change. With my background in hairdressing and a love of storytelling, it was easy to decide to write a book. Not so easy though was the how.

A TAFE lecturer for fifteen years, I was comfortable creating easy to follow instructions, and I knew the industry well so it was easy to write about the familiar. My first self-published non-fiction book ‘Hair Secrets’ was hatched with the invaluable help of a friend with a background in journalism and editing.

After selling my last business, change appeared in another form. My six-year relationship ended abruptly, and I was thrown into emotional turmoil. My choice in men needed to improve drastically! I realised I needed to rediscover myself, and gain clarity on who my ideal man was.

Not willing to risk heartbreak again, I embarked on a conscious-dating adventure to learn what traits in a man were essential to me before looking for love again. Exclusively dating men who had at least one deal-breaking flaw to avoid accidentally falling for any, my journey of discovery began.

Before long I had amassed so many crazy dating experiences, that I needed to write notes on each man so I would remember why I would or wouldn’t date them again. Each week I shared my unbelievable dating adventures with friends, who couldn’t wait for the next instalment! My girlfriends inspired me to share my experience with consciously dating Mr Wrongs through writing my first fictional novel.

However, it was not so easy to do. I had to start from scratch — I didn’t even know what the preferred word count of a book was! Where would I find an editor? How do I create an eye-catching cover? Is there a formula that writers use? These questions led me to attend the Hay House Publishing Writers Workshop for answers.

I discovered that writing the book was only the tip of the iceberg. Authors need a strong online presence. A website, social media following, and a massive email list — preferably of people who already adore you and will buy your books, for publishers to consider publishing your manuscript.

Undeterred, although I had none of these at the time — I started writing. My first draft took over two years, but I learnt that any future books need to be written faster in bigger chunks of time. Each time I left the manuscript for too long, I had to reread everything before I could continue the story!

With an original intent to write one book, I soon realised I’d collected too many dating stories and life lessons learnt to fit in just one. My ‘one novel’ idea morphed into ‘The Vixen’s Secret Handbook’ series, with outlines for five further books. Since my manuscript doesn’t fit the traditional Romance genre, I decided to self-publish and set up a publishing company.

After learning a lot about editing through a helpful website called Autocrit, my next step was to find a professional editor. Through attending a Writers SA workshop, I met a publisher who connected me with a fabulous editor in South Africa for my manuscript.

For an eye-catching cover I set up a book cover design competition through an Australian site called 99Designs. Over one hundred designs worldwide were submitted — I was spoilt for choice! My fabulous choice of cover designer lives in Serbia, so I would never have connected with her otherwise.

Finally, in June 2019 ‘Adventure Vixen – A Modern Dating Tale’ was published. My second book ‘International Vixen – Defying Dating Rules’ (which I wrote much faster than the first) is currently in the editing stage. I’ve also been inspired to create a second non-fiction book called ‘Do Date the Wrong Men’ which is in pre-production stage.

I believe we all yearn for that romantic soul connection. As a Dating and Confidence Coach, my passion is to help women rediscover themselves, become self-empowered and gain clarity on their ‘Mr Right’ through my books, workshops and retreats.

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