Today it's my pleasure to be featuring non-fiction on the blog with a post from Dawne Archer about her memoir Trekker Girl Morocco Bound.
The trek was a big deal for me. I was in my early 50s and reasonably fit but it was a real challenge. As it turned out, it taxed me emotionally and physically in ways I had never expected. I actually walked slowly and painfully, wearing a back brace and using two hiking poles to drag myself up the sand dunes, munching high doses of painkillers. You’ll have to read the book to find out why I was in such a state though, as that would be giving too much away!
In addition to this, I have inherited a clotting disorder which makes me prone to blood clots in certain situations. For instance, we are all at risk of a clot after an operation due to being immobile. I am 88 times more at risk! This is something I live with and have to factor into my life and anything I do.
So I wrote this memoir for a number of reasons:
To commemorate the trek which is something I will never forget. Despite the practical difficulties, the Sahara Desert in Morocco is awe inspiring, starkly beautiful, exciting and dramatic, to me at least.
To help increase awareness of thrombosis and as a kind of memorial for my dad who died of a blood clot in his lung.
Which leads me onto another of your questions, asking if it was a hard story to tell. Yes, it was, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly I was reliving my blood clot journey which was dramatic and emotional. Then I talk about losing my dad and you can imagine how hard that was. Yet I felt it was essential to bring home to readers the reality of thrombosis and how it can affect anyone’s life, often without warning. Awareness is key to saving lives.
There is an underlying theme in my book which is that of an important friendship, renewed in later life and now deeply cherished. My friend Sarah and I jointly decided on this trek and the book tells you about meeting up again and our decision to do something important together. I can honestly say that it seemed like a good idea at the time.
You do ask about my writing experience and I can tell you that this is the first book I have written. It took some time to come together and I had some great support from a fellow experienced author, Evan Johnson, without whom it may never have actually happened. I have learned so much about writing books and publishing along the way. It is a steep learning curve.
I also have a short piece called ‘Correfoc’ in ’40 Memorable Life Experiences 2020 Edition’. Edited by Robert Fear who has put together many authors to bring this highly readable and interesting collection of writings to publication.
Why do I support Thrombosis UK? This is what they have to say:
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. (VTE is Venous Thrombo Embolism, essentially blood clots in the veins such as DVT in the leg or a Pulmonary Embolism in the lung.)
Thrombosis UK is a registered charity in England (1090540).
Statistics on the subject are frightening. Did you know that 1 in 4 deaths worldwide are thrombosis related? Or that one person dies every 6 seconds from thrombosis around the world? I could go on but, as writers tend to be sedentary creatures, perhaps I should leave you with the thought that we lose 50% of the blood flow in our legs after sitting for only 90 minutes. I keep an alarm clock on my desk which rings every hour to remind me to get up and move around, grab a glass of water to keep well hydrated, anything to keep that lifeblood flowing.
‘Trekker Girl Morocco Bound’ is available in all Amazon marketplaces.
www.mybook.to/TrekkerGirl is the universal link.
You can find me on Facebook at Dawne Archer Trekker Girl or on Twitter as @DawneArcher19
All book titles in bold are Amazon UK Affiliate links which will earn me a few pence if anyone clicks through and makes a purchase - any money earned will go towards buying books or gifts for giveaways.