Indie Spotlight – Ailish Sinclair

Today I would like to welcome author of historical fiction, Ailish Sinclair, to my blog.

Ailish Sinclair trained as a dancer and taught dance for many years, before working in schools to help children with special needs. A short stint as a housekeeper in a castle fired her already keen interest in untold stories of the past and she sat down to research and write.
She now lives beside a loch with her husband and two children where she still dances and writes and eats rather a lot of chocolate.
Her historical novels THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR and FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE are both published by GWL Publishing.

Contact Ailish here:

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Welcome to the Indie Spotlight, Ailish, what made you decide to publish your books independently?

I remember having a conversation with a friend, when I was still immersed in the writing phase of my books, where we discussed publishing options. We talked about the big five publishers, self-publishing and small presses. At that time the big five seemed like a pipe dream while self-publishing felt a bit overwhelming with all I would have to arrange for myself. The idea of small independent presses shone out like a happy medium between the two. And that turned out to be true for me.
When the time came to send the book out into the world, agents wanted me to change the story into something more formulaic and similar to novels already on the market and the thought of self-publishing still felt scary. I submitted to small presses and got quite a lot of interest, choosing GWL as they were definitely going to produce a hard copy of the book as well as a digital version.

What do you consider to be the main benefits of being an indie author?

Being published by a small traditional press means no costs to the author. They provide all the editing, book cover design, formatting and proofreading. I’ve also appreciated the level of personal attention I’ve received. During the production of my books I’ve had two extended hospital stays and the publisher has been extremely caring and understanding about my health and deadlines not being met.

I’m sorry to hear that, Ailish. I hope your health is much improved now and stays that way. It sounds like you made a good choice with your publisher, since they were so understanding.

Now the other side of the coin. What challenges do indie authors face?

We have to do the bulk of marketing ourselves as independent presses do not have the big advertising budgets of the larger publishers. But I’ve actually found that I really enjoy it, both connecting with readers and other writers across social media and studying up on the subject. There’s always more to learn about this continually evolving aspect of being an author.

Most people on social media seem quite eager to be supportive and to help out with marketing, sharing things on Twitter, posting on Instagram etc.
What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?

Research your chosen method of publication thoroughly. In the case of publishers, beware the predatory vanity presses who sometimes present themselves as ‘traditional’. If they ask for money, they’re not traditional at all.
But the most important thing is the writing. Keep tapping away at the keyboard. Keep mulling your stories over in your mind. Keep lying awake at night because your characters won’t leave you alone and want you to fix their lives for them. (Maybe that’s just me!). Don’t forget the writing amidst the submissions and marketing and social media fun. Without the writing, there are no books!

What have you learned from being an indie author?

Not to take what could be perceived as setbacks too seriously, whether that’s rejections or reviews. I’d just come home from hospital when I read the only truly nasty review received to date. I looked at it and thought: I nearly died, but I’m here, at home, with my family, in time for Christmas. On the other hand, someone didn’t like my book. What actually matters?

What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?

My second historical novel, FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, is out on April 1st this year. It’s the book I avoided writing for quite a while as I had already found some of the research for THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR rather harrowing. Did I really want to follow witchcraft accusations with kidnapped children? The answer was yes; those children wouldn’t go away, and I did want to tell their story.

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today, Ailish! Good luck with your new book!

The Mermaid and the Bear

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.
She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.
She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.
Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…
Until the past catches up with her.
Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

Buy The Mermaid and the Bear here:


Add The Mermaid and the Bear to your To be Read list here:


Fireflies and Chocolate

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…
For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.
Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.
For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.
But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.
Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

Buy Fireflies and Chocolate here:


Add Fireflies and Chocolate to your To Be Read list here:


I also take a lot of photos of the place I live – Aberdeenshire, Scotland – and share them on my blog and social media. Here is a recent one of fox tracks in the snow:

Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?

Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself.

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3 thoughts on “Indie Spotlight – Ailish Sinclair

  1. Pingback: Playing with Geography at Cullykhan Bay - Ailish Sinclair

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