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FOREWORD by Susan Cohen (The Wee Book Company) ...

 

Welcome, a'body! It's so genuinely brilliant to see you here in these times (I tried to find an adjective or two to describe 'these times' but I couldn't. Jings, it must be bad 'cos I'm pretty nerdy wordy!) Anyhoo how did we get here? Well, it's like this … Mary Turner Thomson, Lea Taylor and I had too much coffee one morning at Dobbies Garden Centre whilst we were squabbling over a sausage.

'Ooooh,' said one of us, can't remember who, 'wouldn't it be a good idea to get a whole load of like-minded folk together so we can help kickstart those books they've been longing to write forever, to share good creative energy and to facilitate encouragement of one another in an uplifting positive way? And how about we do it just because we can and because we want to put good stuff out into the world just now when everything's going to hell in a handcart?'

Well, you can imagine the excitement! More coffee was ordered and in the blink of an eye, the sausage was abandoned and there started not a little swinging from the light fittings, which is not easy in Dobbies.

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Susan Cohen

TEAM

That was in March 2020 and now The Book Whisperers has grown!  We are now officially a community interest company, we have nurtured numerous books into existence and supported a whole community in their writing journeys! Meet our Directors ... 

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Mary Turner Thomson

Managing Director

International Best-Selling Author, Writing Coach, Editor, Publishing Consultant

There have been SO many times I have heard people say that they would write a book if they only had ‘time’ – and time is something that people had an enforced abundance of during the pandemic lockdowns. The Book Whisperers - ie doing the podcasts, talking live every Monday evening on the Facebook Group, helping people write, share, communicate and laugh - is what kept me sane during that time. 

I worked as a Business Development Adviser for the Scottish Enterprise Network for over a decade before getting a phone call from my husband's other wife - discovering my 'husband' and father of my two younger children, was a psychopath bigamist con-man who actively impregnates women to rip them off for money. I went into a bookshop and asked to buy a book about that subject and the bookseller looked at me with horror and shook his head. So I walked into a publisher's office instead and said I was going to write a book about it. They grabbed the chance with both hands. My first book The Bigamist was launched in 2008 and has been an international bestseller ever since - and my 2nd book on the subject The Psychopath came out in March 2021, and launched in the top 10 on Kindle. It too is now an international best-seller as well.  Seeing my name on the cover of a book felt incredible and I wanted to help other people feel like that too - so I started a publishing consultancy called WhiteWater Publishing Ltd to do just that.  I have since worked with numerous individuals, businesses and schools (for example we published over 100 books by children and for children with schools alone).

As an author of memoir/true crime, I know how cathartic writing is.  Experiencing any kind of trauma makes the thoughts in your head start to feel like a ball of knotted spaghetti and it becomes impossible to follow a thought from start to finish.  When you start to write it down – rather like Dumbledore pulling memories out of his head and storing them in a Pensieve – it frees up space to make sense of what is left. Bit by bit your head clears, and you start to see the world clearly again, unencumbered by hurtful or distressing thoughts and memories. Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you,” and I totally understand what she meant.

​I am so looking forward to helping more and more people discover the joy of writing, whether that is just to share on our platform, or to publish in a book, or even to set up in business making a living from this wonderful industry.  We are a community and all are welcome!

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Lea Taylor

Creative Director

Author, Storyteller, Artist, Writing Coach, Editor, Publisher, Podcaster

Haven’t we come a long way from grabbing a coffee and sausage sarnie at Dobbies just before the first lockdown?  Here we are all suited and booted with our very own Community Interest Company. The Book Whisperers has arrived.

 

For those of you who haven’t met me before, I’m Lea Taylor, Creative Director for The Book Whisperers – one of the ones hatching all the cunning plans.  My background, I have twenty years experience of working in community settings as a Community Learning and Development Worker which entailed everything from designing and delivering courses to all age groups to sorting out publicity, venues and health and safety risk assessment.  Add to this, oh, it’s like putting a recipe together, isn’t it? A good pinch of professional storytelling, a splash of publishing and a good measure of writing and there you have it, the necessary credentials. Voila!

 

The past nineteen months of being with The Book Whisperers has been a steep but fun learning curve. I have learned to podcast and have a six-week show, Tell Me More – supported by Made in Midlothian to boast about. I set up Scaramouche Press publishing and have published four books to date. I am now a member of the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders. I launched my latest book, The House Beside the Cherry Tree – motherhood doesn’t come easy, a contemporary fiction novel to be part of a trilogy. My other works include Midlothian Folk Tales and Animals Beasties and Monsters of Scotland.  I have also been working as a writing coach alongside beavering away with The Book Whisperers.

 

Reading between the lines – I am passionate about all things words, a passion I want to share with others, see them come alive with the joy it brings. Through The Book Whisperers, I will do my utmost to help you find your happy place through words – be it through writing, podcasting, publishing, or reading.  So what are you waiting for? 

 

Join us and be part of a community that is supportive, passionate, accessible and will endeavour to open up the world of words for you.

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Mandy O'Connor

Marketing Director

Author, Artist, Writer, Illustrator, 

Writing and drawing always seemed such a luxury and with three children - it became almost impossible unless it involved barricading myself into a small room with a bottle of wine, some HB pencils and a Biro. Then the pandemic hit and although home-school consumed our days I found the only way to remain sane was to write. The Book Whisperers became the safe space in which my confidence grew and friendships were forged - and I collated, illustrated and self-published my first book of prose and poetry called Exit Strategy.

Now I am currently working on my first novel with the support and encouragement of The Book Whisperers community and I am so honoured to be on board as a director! I am so passionate to work with and facilitate this feeling of achievement to new members of the Book Whisperers.
 

I have experience of working with WhiteWater Publishing Ltd as a Marketing Manager helping to promote reading and writing in children across Scotland - and found my passion in helping those books come into existence, plus I have had the pleasure of designing and delivering illustration workshops in nurseries and schools. In these sessions, we explored personal and wider issues as well as building confidence and finding new potentials within the art materials. The books produced include Phoebe's Forest Adventures which explored the environmental issues of fly-tipping in the school woodland area. Writing the book allowed the nursery children to work through those feelings of being frustrated at the dropped litter in their local woodlands. Bear With Me was a collaborative project with parents who suffered from anxiety or as a non-native dealt with feelings of isolation and racism. I was proud to illustration their story.

​Goethe said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it”. I see my role in the Book Whisperers as being just like you sitting at home with a desire to meet like-minded people and a dream to explore the places you would like your writing to take you. So, we're ready ... Are you?

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