New Chapter, New Challenges


I’m having a year of ‘No Regrets’. What this means in reality is saying yes to things I might regret saying no to later. And since signing my book deal, there is an increasing number of these and it all feels a bit… new.

“Would you like to come on Radio Tamworth? I host a book show every Thursday.”

My instant reaction to this direct message on twitter was NO WAY! I hate the sound of my voice. I squeak and say things that only I think are funny until afterwards when I consider my every utterance to be total cringe. And up until about a year ago that would have been my only response. That was until I started writing Summer of No Regrets. I was forcing my gorgeous characters out of their comfort zones, so it seemed only right that I should do the same. Research I told myself. I have always had a limited zone, and for a long time took any failing as a sign that I never should have left where I was safest.

I now know differently. I now know that to expand your comfort zone you have to go out of it, to increase the things you feel happy doing.

So when Kiren’s DM came through I replied that I would LOVE to. I felt so nervous, but I did what you’re supposed to do: I prepared. I recorded myself talking and forced myself to listen back (that was a long Monday!) and I tried to think about what I wanted to say.

Kiren was brilliant – she’d researched me, her questions were interesting and she made me feel so at ease. I knew, after listening to myself, that I sounded better if I spoke confidently, so I tried my best to. It helped not to think of my friends and family who might be listening and just focus on the conversation.

And you know what? It was great fun! And I never would have known if I hadn’t tried. Also, to my huge surprise, people liked the sound of my voice – WHO KNEW?! I got to read the first chapter of my book and talk about everything I’ve been working on. I’m so pleased I said yes to the opportunity.

Tips for going outside your comfort zone, whether that’s sharing your work with a beta reader, booking a 1-1 or starting to query agents:

  • What could you gain by doing it – a sense of achievement, would it open up possibilities for you or in my case, let you talk about writing and books (my fave topic of conversation)

  • On the flipside, what’s the worst that could happen? Is that really so bad?

  • In a few years’ time, will you regret not having done it?

  • Do you wish you were confident doing something? You can teach yourself that confidence by doing it.

  • If your friend was offered this opportunity, what would you recommend? Give yourself that advice.

  • As I keep telling myself, and have blogged several times, feel the fear and do it anyway!

Thanks to Kiren Parmar and Radio Tamworth for giving me such a great opportunity. If you fancy listening to a clip, here’s me talking to Kiren about my writing blog and what inspired me to start it.

Image courtesy of Kiren Parmar, audio courtesy of Radio Tamworth

Kate Mallinder