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Tell Your Own Story

Unravelling the Essence of my Writing: Sophie Rose Williamson

Article by Sophie Rose Williamson ©.
Posted in the Magazine (Tell Your Own Story: , ).
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Many magical moons ago; in a land divided my imagination began to grow. It was a long, dry summer. Each day I walked a few kilometres across an area on our United Nations base in Nicosia Cyprus known as the buffer zone. A Significant UN Peacekeeping force was present on the island.  Alone I wondered through the old sparse landscape, dirt swirling around my ankles. Years ago life had saturated this city. Tourists swarmed from across the globe. Nicosia International airport was the scene of summer, sun, smiles and throngs of eager tourists. Now all that remained were ghosts. White washed walls riddled with bullets. A sense of wonderment filled my mind. Inside Nicosia International Airport lay lost kisses. There had been tear filled goodbyes, heart wrenching home comings.  Now there was a buffer zone.  The smell of sweat as British and Canadian troops raced past on their morning runs.

Later that day during afternoon parade, the British Drill Sergeant roared out his orders.

“Turn Right”

“Turning to the left”

“Silence” he roared crisply. There was precision to his commanding voice. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots lay divided. A sense of caution surrounded your every move. United Nations Flags fluttered in the distance. Far away I could see the bright red Turkish flag. Alone each day I walked towards one of my best friends. Drawn from different continents we embraced each other innocently. He soothed my soul. He braided my red curly hair. He was my comfort blanket. He was my best friend.

Together our imaginations flourished. Through the aftermath of war came creation. Over the years I have travelled extensively to Israel, Egypt, and the Middle East.  I have seen children search through dumps for food in the red soils of Africa.  Monsoon rains rolled through our United Nations camp in Eritrea.  Wild winds howled. Flashes of thunder and lightning raced across black filled skies. Thunderstorms swept across the dark clouds. Through contingents, warzones in Lebanon, Africa and Cyprus. He was there my comfort blanket. We had been drawn from different cultures. Our friendship flourished in the buffer zones created for peace. I never wed my comfort blanket. Wet tears cascaded down my cheeks. Years of our friendship heralded the foundation of Black Panther Press.

Our new-found publishing house Black Panther Press aims to break down borders, boundaries, stigma’s. Mental health, unmarried mothers, those marginalised in society. Race, religion and creed pop up in each page.  Actually these topics all feature quite prominently in our books. The first of which has been published, entitled “Here Come The Girls”.

I wrote the first novel a number of years ago. Previously I had written my biography “In The Shadow of Men” published by Poolbeg Press.   Depression and eating disorders featured quite prominently in my autobiography. You see I’ve suffered from depression for a very long time. My family had to take drastic measures to ensure I didn’t attempt suicide again.

I released my biography into the hands of my capable editor in 2009. I felt like an arm was missing. I needed to talk more. So much more pain had to be unleashed. Years of war torn images, photos of baths filled with butchered bloody bodies. The sounds of South Lebanon still wake me from my dreams. I remember plumes of grey smoke blasting out from mortars. Red tracer rounds raced across the morning skies. My fragile mind has been infinitely molded by scenes of blood, bullets, mortars and poverty. First hand I have witnessed Dictatorships and democracies. Shouldn’t peace prevail? Shouldn’t prejudice and intolerance be pushed aside? That is the overall aim of our publishing house.

Translating my books into many languages was very important to me. Through ebooks and Amazon I have been able to reach far flung regions. With the internet I have spread a beautiful raw and riveting book to many regions. I have been very lucky. My close circle of friends is made up of a wide variety of nationalities. As a result some of my friends have taken on the mantle of agents. They represent me in their chosen countries, France, Belgium, Lebanon, Libya, England, Morocco, Egypt, America and Germany. They search for capable translators with the correct dialect for each specific region.

We have been careful to respect the culture code of each country. We have been careful to respect the censorship laws. So we hope to enter markets such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE. These culturally rich untapped markets are often overlooked. We see images of male dominated cultures. When in reality the souks of Jeddah and Beirut are as vibrant as the Macy’s of New York, the Channel and Versace’s of Paris. The internet sites such as Amazon, and ebooks have been so kind to me. It hasn’t been easy. Long arduous sleepless nights have ensued. Tears, tantrums, snowstorms and exhaustion have seen our first book “Here Come the Girls” by a debut novelist peak and spiral down. So is the life of any struggling first time author. I wasn’t prepared to let my dreams slide just because a fearsome recession had gripped our financial markets.

I reverted to old Arabic trading days, bartering. I sold many of my possessions. My friends chipped in and helped fund the book. Of course there is a long list of people who will reap the rewards before I see a penny. Agents, Editors, proof-readers, travel expenses, PR, translators, security, will all see the financial rewards before I do. This will come we hope from the eventual sales of “Here Come The Girls”

Here Come The Girls by Sophie Rose Williamson is available to buy on most Amazon sites. It is also currently available in French and German. It will be available in the Middle East as an ebook soon translated into Arabic. It is also available in selected bookstores nationwide.

To find out more visit, http://sophie-rose.weebly.com/index.html

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