We’re here today to celebrate the launch of the Hope anthology last weekend. ( All of the contributions donated their stories. And all profits from the sale of the book will be donated to Beyondblue and The Anika Foundation).
‘“Hope” is a project that is close to my heart. I have wanted to do something since I lost my son to suicide in 2006. In many ways, it gave me purpose, which in turn gave me hope. So the anthology is aptly named.’
As a parent of six, four of them boys, I was very happy to be involved in this project. I understand you had a good response from authors?
Yes, I was overwhelmed by the positive response, even from the authors who couldn’t fit Hope into their busy schedule. As many of them were also parents they felt it was important to raise suicide awareness and they sent me heartfelt messages encouraging me to keep going with the project. At this stage, I must sincerely thank the authors who contributed to this project because I couldn’t have come this far without them. They are an awesome bunch of people.
Q: When did the idea for this anthology first come to you?
As a writer, I started writing about what was happening to my family and how everything was affecting me emotionally, physically and mentally soon after my son’s death. It helped me put things into perspective and allowed me to let other things go. It was good therapy. When I came out of the darkest place a parent can be in, I started thinking about how I might be able to help other parents from going through the same thing. I tried writing a manuscript about my own experience but found emotionally I couldn’t stop myself from sobbing every time I sat at the keyboard. Eventually, I decided the next best thing was to ask other writers if they would help me by donating stories and adding ‘snippets’ of information on suicide between the stories, which would raise awareness.
Q: The Hope anthology contains stories, but it also contains snippets of information suicide so that parents and friends may be able to recognise the signs if someone they know needs help. Are the stories specifically aimed at young adults or could they be read by any age?
The stories are certainly not suitable for children. They are aimed at young adults and adults. All the stories fall within the speculative fiction genre. They are fictional and are written to the theme of ‘hope’, yet are down to earth and cover a wide range of issues. The authors have done a brilliant job in showing that even in the direst of circumstances there is hope.
Q: You run an Indie publishing house, Kayelle Press. What inspired you to establish this publishing house and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I know how hard it is to find a way out of the enormous piles of manuscripts sent to large publishing houses each month. Over recent years I have attempted to find ways to help aspiring authors to build their publication list. I started Kayelle Press for two reasons: 1) because I have known for several years that Hope (although I didn’t know the name of the anthology at the time) was in the pipeline, and, 2) because I love helping people reach their goal, it gives me a buzz.
Kayelle Press will hopefully publish at least two anthologies a year to start with and I will consider all manuscripts submitted on its own merits, not on how long the writer’s bio is.
Q: Having published Hope, what advice would you give aspiring anthology editors?
It’s hard work and will take many, many hours of dedication to reach completion. Yet the rewards of seeing a simple idea grow into a published book is worth every second of the blood, sweat and tears (actually there isn’t usually any tears, but there might be plenty of times you want to pull your hair out instead). My best advice is to keep communication channels open and stay true to yourself.
Karen has kindly donated a copy of the HOPE anthology as a give-away.
The question is: If you could go back and give your teenage self some advice, what would it be?
Copies of the Hope anthology can be purchased here.
Catch up with Karen on Twitter: @karenleefield
Catch up with Karen on GoodReads