Today I have a special Indie Spotlight interview with Dawne Archer whose book Trekker Girl Morocco Bound raises money for the charity Thrombosis UK.
Dawne is lucky to be alive, having survived blood clots in her leg and lung, aged 26.
She vowed to live life to the full, and has indulged her curious nature in travel, as well as interviewing interesting people on the radio. Often roles are reversed, and she becomes the interviewee in her quest to raise awareness of thrombosis.
Trekking the Sahara Desert may have been a step too far in her fundraising for Thrombosis UK, but it was just the start.
Dawne tried her hand at writing, and her first book Trekker Girl Morocco Bound is the result.
Hi Dawne. Welcome to my blog today!
Your book is about a trek you went on to raise awareness and funds for a charity – please can you tell us a little about the charity and why you chose that particular charity?
Every 37 seconds someone in the Western world dies from a VTE.
Here is the mission statement from Thrombosis UK, taken from their website
Our priority is for everyone to KNOW the Risks Signs & Symptoms of VTE and to support research to extend UNDERSTANDING into the PREVENTION and BEST MANAGEMENT of VTE.
Thrombosis UK is a registered charity in England (1090540).
VTE stands for Venous Thromboembolism, which includes DVT (blood clots in the legs) and Pulmonary Embolism (clots in the lungs).
Thrombosis UK is a small charity that achieves great things with very little. There is someone on the end of the phone if you need advice or support, and their website is a mine of information. I give them my help because my dad died of a clot in his lung, and I have had them in my leg and lungs.
I am lucky to have survived. I have an inherited gene mutation which makes me much more likely to clot in any given situation. For example, we are all vulnerable to thrombosis postoperatively because of lack of movement. My risk factor can be up to 88 times more.
Thrombosis affects my daily life and that of my family, so this charity seemed to be an obvious choice. My commitment is ongoing, and I will support them to the best of my ability for as long as I am able.
What was the biggest challenge? The trek? Writing a book? Publishing a book?
That is a great question. You would think that the trek was my greatest challenge, and it certainly was, in ways I had never expected. However, writing and publishing my book was a steep learning curve. I am still learning about marketing and selling the finished product.
Do you have plans for a follow up trek/memoir?
I always have plans, but Covid has brought things to a halt recently. However, I have written pieces about my travelling life for a couple of compilations, and I think there could be some travelogues on their way. Another trek? Never say never…
Are you still raising money for Thrombosis UK? In what way?
I am always raising funds for Thrombosis UK, even if it is just a tin for saving my small change and a couple of collection tins in shops. Since the trek, I have managed to dance my way through a fun “Not so Strictly!” competition, and completed a 35-mile walk up into the mountains of Mallorca one hot August night. When I get interested in a challenge, raising funds is at the forefront of my mind.
However, it is not all about fundraising. Raising awareness of thrombosis is key to saving lives. Radio interviews, blogs, print interviews and social media have all enabled me to spread the word. I also get asked by TUK to join them in patient/health professional sessions from time to time, and I will continue to assist them in any way I can.
What made you decide to publish your book independently? What was your path to publication?
I was a complete innocent in the publishing world. My writing mentor, E Van Johnson, has self-published many books, and he encouraged me to do the same. Without his assistance, this book would not have seen the light of day. The whole process seems more immediate than the traditional publishing route, and the author has more control and receives a greater proportion of the royalties.
Have you ever written in other genres?
I have written travel pieces, based on my own experiences, and I think this is where my writing future lies.
Do you only read the genre that you write?
I read anything and everything! I was introduced to the best group on Facebook called ‘We Love Memoirs’, which has encouraged my memoir reading and reviewing. However, I still love a good thriller with a twist in the tail.
What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?
Music is the backdrop to my life. The radio is often playing while I write. I have also tried my hand at radio presenting which I enjoyed, both from the point of view of music choices and the opportunity to interview interesting people. I am a curious person, so asking questions comes naturally. I do feel nervous when the tables are turned, although I am never short of something to say.
Live music is a passion, and I hope that outdoor festivals will come back soon.
As for TV, I love to binge-watch a good box set or indulge in travel and wildlife programmes.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Sit down and write. Many people say they have a book they would like to write. Not many actually do it. Don’t read about it. Do it. Fine-tuning can come later.
Don’t forget that we lose 50% of the blood flow in our legs after 90 minutes of sitting. I keep a clock on my desk to remind me to get up and move around every hour or so.
Thank you so much Dawne, for coming and sharing your story on my blog! Good luck with your work promoting Thrombosis UK!
Trekker Girl Morocco Bound
Life After Blood Clots or How I learned to live and love life as a thrombosis survivor.
This is my story, join me on my journey.
People tell me “You’re lucky to be alive” and they are right, yet I still suffer from Survivor Guilt; why did my dad die from his blood clot while I lived through the two I had aged only 26?
Now in my 50s I live a fuller and more active life than ever before, although trekking in the Sahara to raise money for charity was perhaps a step too far.
Thrombosis UK works to educate both the public and health professionals to ‘Spot the Clots’.
Knowing what to look for might save your life or that of someone close to you.
All profits from book sales will be donated to Thrombosis UK.
Who is next on Indie Spotlight?
Liesbet Collaert’s articles and photos have been published internationally. Born in Belgium, she has been a nomad since 2003 and calls herself a world citizen. Liesbet loves travel, embraces diversity, and adores animals. She currently lives “on the road” in the Americas with her husband and rescue dog. Follow her current adventures at www.roamingabout.com.