Thursday, September 8, 2011

This will be the last aussiewriters blog. Thanks to all those who have participated. Due to family issues I need to take time out. I recommend for new author interviews and news of CALEB prize winners. The winner of Rosie Boom's book is Paula Vince of South Australia.

Today Chissy Siggee brings an important teenage issue into inspirational fiction—eating disorders: ‘Out of the Shadows: Jenna’s Secret provides just enough medical information to communicate how quickly and drastically an eating disorder can affect a young body.’

What convinced you to write about this issue?

While working as a volunteer Pastoral Care worker in Wagga Wagga Base Hospital for three years, I had contact with more than a few young people battling with eating disorders.

Tell us a bit about the story.

Jenna’s Secret is the story of a girl who, at the brink of going too far, learns from her mistakes and from seeing those who crossed the line.

Jenna wanted to change, and because of that, she accepted the help of others. Her determination to turn her life around is helped by a network of medical staff, social workers, her family and church family. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case, but through God’s grace, it can happen. This story is meant as an early warning cry to teens and parents alike. Jenna’s Secret also shows how this kind of tragedy can affect any family—in all social classes, even Christian families.

The story behind Jenna is one of a young girl who didn’t intentionally get herself into this position. No one sets out to be anorexic or bulimic, but the range of deeper psychological problems can lead to the development of more complicated and damaging symptoms of these conditions.

Tell us something about your writing journey and publication. That itself is an interesting story.

My first hand at writing was Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret. I was almost 50. I had not even used a computer much before that, although I did a basic business course a few years earlier. In 2005, when I finally decided to seriously finish writing Jenna’s Secret, I joined This group of people became my family during the many months housebound and eventually bed ridden in 2007, due to Spondylolisthesis in my lower back. It’s probably the first time I even had a serious journal. I filled in many sleepless hours writing poems and devotional articles and late in 2008 I was encouraged to publish these too. I self-published ‘Glimpses of His Glory” as a result and sold out in less than six months. My chapter “Hope in the City” was also excepted in 2008 for the book ‘Delivered’ for Peculiar People. I was the only one of the 25 authors from Australia.

After sharing many of my marketing ideas with other writers, I also decided to write a basic, straight forward, Marketing Guide for the Self-Publisher.

Later that year I started writing for a Christian online newspaper. In 2009 I was given the fancy title of Manager of the Australian Bureau The Cypress Times, a position I take seriously and love the work I do. Book Reviews have become a specialty for the newspaper, which began with Australia books. I continue this work today, as well as publishing articles on a regular basis in the Faith Section, Gluten Free Recipes and even a few news articles from Down Under.

Recently, I was accepted as a regular writer for and these articles will be seen from January 2010. I look forward to a long term writing relationship with this ministry too.

These days, besides writing Resumes, I write Fiction, non- Fiction, Devotions and poetry. Many of my articles can be found on my blog page on my website.

What avenues have you explored in marketing the book?

Where do I begin?

I began with a book signing at a local book store. I then approached organisers of local and interstate church conferences where I had book tables. I went on from there to magazines and newspapers. Smaller magazines where easier to approach but finally I found courage to approach Accent and the Salvation Army magazines. Accent editor Daryl-Anne LeRoux took a liking to my book and wrote a complete book promotion. The Salvation Army promoted my book in their Pipeline Magazine before inviting me to speak at staff meetings in Brisbane. Reviews for both books were also written for the Australian Christian Woman.

I first approached Buy Australian books online, Dymocks and Australian Independent Book Stores, where Jenna’s Secret can still be ordered. Koorong was the last book store I approached. They set me up as a distributor and ordered books immediately.

My website has been the biggest sources of sales, especially from buyers from the America, United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Russia. I lost count of International sales but would be in the vicinity now of 200 copies.

Where can we buy the book? and any of the book stores mention above.

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