Speaking with Louisa Deasey; Best selling memoirist, editor and non-fiction writing coach | Professional Chronicles with Patricia Kathleen (2024)

Today I am speaking with Louisa Deasey.Louisa is a twice-published bestselling memoirist, editor and non-fiction writing coach.Over the past twenty years, Louisa has worked as a magazine editor and features journalist, ghostwriter, newspaper columnist, digital copywriter, online editor and media and publicity consultant to major brands, personalities and experts in the health, travel, lifestyle, design, medicine and psychology space.

This podcast series is hosted by Patricia Kathleen and Wilde Agency Media. This series is a platform for women, female-identified, & non-binary individuals to share their professional stories and personal narrative as it relates to their story. This podcast is designed to hold a space for all individuals to learn from their counterparts regardless of age, status, or industry.


*Please note, this is an automated transcription please excuse any typos or errors

[00:00:00] In this episode, I speak with Best-Selling, memoirist, editor and nonfiction writing coach Louisa Deasey key points addressed where Louisa's incredible journey throughout writing her first memoir titled Love and Other U Turns. We also looked at these self-taught and honed education and subsequent skill set that Louisa developed in order to write her following and Best-Selling memoir titled A Letter from Paris. We also examine how Louisa used her education and self-taught knowledge in order to develop her online memoir, a nonfiction publishing programs that she now offers online. Stay tuned for my enthralling interview with Louisa Deasey.

[00:00:44] Hi, my name is Patricia Kathleen, and this podcast series contains interviews I conduct with women. Female identified and non binary individuals regarding their professional stories and personal narrative. This podcast is designed to hold a space for all individuals to learn from their counterparts regardless of age status. For industry, we aim to contribute to the evolving global dialog surrounding underrepresented figures in all industries across the USA and abroad. If you're enjoying this podcast, be sure to check out our subsequent series that dove deep into specific areas such as Vegan life, fasting and roundtable topics. They can be found via our Web site. Patricia Kathleen .COM, where you can also join our newsletter. You can also subscribe to all of our series on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Pod Bean and YouTube. Thanks for listening. Now let's start the conversation.

[00:01:42] Hi, everyone, and welcome back. I'm your host, Patricia. And today I am elated to be sitting down with Louisa. Deasey Louisa is a Best-Selling memoirist, editor and nonfiction writing coach. You can find more about all of her work as well as the services she offers on her web. W w w dot. Louisa Deasey. Dot com. That is l o u i. S a d. A s. E y. Dot com. Welcome, Louisa.

[00:02:09] Hello. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:10] Absolutely. I'm excited to climb through everything that you're doing. We were talking off the air and I told you that we've had a lot of audience and listeners right in over the years and talk about writing coaches and people who can advise about writing rules a great deal in our past. I know that everything that you share with us today is going to be received in the highest regard. Oh, that's good to know. Absolutely. For everyone listening who is new to the podcast, I'll offer up a quick roadmap of the direction of my inquiry's will head. And then I will read a bio on the so that everyone can garner a brief sense of her background before I start peppering her with questions. So the roadmap for today's podcast will first look at Louise's academic and professional background, leading her up to the services that we will then unpack. Then I will turn towards, of course, unpacking Louise's suite of online memoir, a nonfiction publishing programs, where I know a few of those are currently being used up and changed a bit. Then we'll look at unpacking the goals that Louisa has for the next one to three years, professionally and personally. Those have changed a lot for a lot of people in regards to the current climate of the Kovik 19 pandemic. And then we'll wrap the entire Adva podcast up with advice that Louisa may have for those of you who are looking to get involved with some of her services or perhaps emulate some of her career success. A quick bio, as promised on Louisa. Before I start peppering her with questions, Louisa Deaseyis a twice published bestselling memoir list editor and nonfiction writing coach. Over the past 20 years, Louisa has worked as a magazine editor and features journalist, ghost writer, newspaper columnist, digital copywriter, online editor and media and publicity consultant to major brands, personalities and experts in the health, travel, lifestyle, design, medicine and psychology space. More recently, Louisa has created a suite of online memoir and nonfiction publishing programs for writers at every stage of the publishing journey. Her work has been featured in Vogue Body and Soul, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Hundreds More Publications. She is currently at work on her third memoir. So, Louise, I cannot wait to unpack a lot of that with you. I'm excited. I haven't had anyone who actually self identifies as a memoirist on and I cannot wait to climb into that with you. I find it such a valid and noble profession. But before we get to that, I'm hoping that you can describe for all of our audience members listening and those watching on a vodcast a little bit about your academic and professional background leading up to where you are now.

[00:04:51] Sure. So. Well, I went to high school, which is pretty normal here in Australia. Then I took a year off and just worked. I lived in a share house and I worked and I did a few little short courses in acting and drama. And then I started an arts degree, which I think it's the same in the US liberal arts. I thought I wanted to do drama and acting. I can't believe I've never even noticed how much I loved writing. But it wasn't until I was in my third year of my arts degree that I realized I actually loved writing about the place that I was studying rather than being in them because I didn't really like people looking at me. So I had a bit of a switch and I ended up doing a double degree in literature because I'd accidentally taken on too many drama subjects before I realized that I didn't really want to do that. And then because I realize sort of it took three years of writing essays for me to realize that I actually love that part of studying. I applied for a really well at that time. It was really prestigious writing postgrad writing degree in Melbourne. And I thought I didn't get in because I looked in the newspaper on the wrong day. So I applied to work on a cruise ship because I thought, well, look, I will just travel the world and write about that, you know, Harry instead. And I literally made it through to the third round of interviews for this job. Crystal Cruises or whatever it was. When my aunt called me and said, congratulations, I just saw your name in the paper for the riding college. So I had actually got in. So I had to cancel that at the last minute. And I started this writing postgraduates. To you, to you, that's called Tife. I'm not sure what that is in the US, but it's more hands on than university. And the whole reason that that's cause it was RMIT, which is Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, professional writing and editing. And I think the reason that it was so highly regarded was because the teachers in the. It wasn't academic. It wasn't philosophical. It was actual hands on how to get published, which, you know, I don't know. That was just sort of the Holy Grail when I was at university, nor one, you know, they talk about writing and publishing, but no one could actually tell you how to get published. Yeah, it did. I started that course. And I loved it. But I ended up being quite disappointed because it wasn't all that it was sold to me to be. And I sort of thought, wow, well, look, this is one of the best publishing courses in Australia, even though it's not very good. And I got a lot of sort of the wrong advice in that course.

[00:07:45] And I ended up sort of staking out a lot of stuff on my own. And remember, this is before the Internet was, you know, the Internet existed, but it wasn't big. It's 2001. And part of the costs was a topic called industry overview. And we needed to do a few hours. So I think it was two weeks on site at a publishing company. So other a newspaper or a book or magazine publishing company and all that that caused told me to contact with these tiny little publisher in Melbourne and see if I could get a couple of weeks unpaid work there. And I didn't want to work at that tiny little publisher. That just sounded miserable. And I didn't want to work that. I wanted to work for magazines at that time. That was my passion. And all the magazines, all the women's magazines, offices were in Sydney. So I bought a copy of the reader's marketplace, which was like this like fifty five dollars an hour. Remember, saving up my waitressing money and buying it and just going through the list of phone numbers and calling every single women's magazine until I could get someone that would take me on for a couple of weeks work. And then I went back to RMIT and I said, OK, I've got two weeks at Elle magazine, I've got two weeks at Bay magazine. And they were like, what are you talking about? They don't take interns. And that's it.

[00:09:01] Yeah, they do. I just tend to call fifty so fifty seven times.

[00:09:06] And then so I flew up to Sydney and did that and that was I guess you'd say I was off to the races because I got my first byline in that work and I'm sort of simplifying it now. But that really taught me that, you know, I just there's only so much that you can learn at university and and time. You know, you really have to do it yourself in a lot of ways. And the other thing is the people that are teaching you often, there's a reason that they are teaching, you know, that they've obviously had their career or they're having a break or so. I just found a real gap between what I was being taught and what I really wanted to do. And I learned so much as soon as I actually started working in, like I think it was the following year, I got my first job at a newspaper back in Melbourne and I learned more about writing for publication in a week. They have had it five years at university. Yeah, it was just really interesting to me. The gap between academic learning and actual actually being inside a newspaper or magazine office.

[00:10:14] Yeah. In the States, we call that on the job training. Oh, T.J.. Yeah.

[00:10:20] Yeah. And I think it's so true, though.

[00:10:23] I mean, I can't say it enough and I'm a big I'm really big on internships or any type of apprenticeship, things of that nature. There are so many fields that I think do this as well. Computer I'm married to an original Silicon Valley computer nerd. A lot of people asking to me know that. And the most hysterical thing for me, and I think it might be changing right now, but it's not nearly quickly enough.

[00:10:48] Computer programing, as studied in university, has absolutely nothing to do with the code that is written that affects you die and changes the range. They are very likely ayari. And that's the same thing with writing. I think you're right in literature and all of my university degrees. And what I love about university is that you do study philosophy and theory, but there's absolutely no practicality. There's no applicability in that knowledge. And I think that writing is a crucial one. And I think your story also brings up a really interesting point, which I've always described. There's a certain amount of entrepreneurship, even to the writers of old to going Artley, Walden, you know, all of those things. That is a very kind of like gusto, greedy. And I think that people leave that out when they talk about writers, you know, and what it's really necessary to be a writer and successful. You running off to city, you calling fifty seven times.

[00:11:44] I would have been more than that, but yeah, it's so interesting that you say that I have all of this. I have all three of Steven Pressfield books. Have you read the war of arson, Tony? And I love I love these books and hate. I love. I think it's in the war about. He says, find you. You know, there's nothing braver and more entrepreneurial than sitting at a blank screen and, you know, trying to put your heart out there and in a way that's palatable for the world to rageous story. He says, find yourself an entrepreneur to chat to for some motivation. I know why that is so true, because it's very similar. You're putting yourself out there. You trying something that's never been done before? Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree with you there.

[00:12:30] And you have to have a certain amount. It's it's a crazy tightrope for.

[00:12:34] Right. For authors. I find you have to care deeply about your audience, but you also have to have this kind of devil may care genessee quar about like I'm just going to put it out there. I don't care what anyone says, like, here it is. Here's me, you know, because if you worry too much, you don't release it. You don't put it out. And if you if you don't worry enough that you're not capturing your audience in the way that you ought to. You know, this is kind of given take is so difficult. I'm wondering, how did your career after you kind of launched into doing all of these, you got your first byline from this, you know, very greedy, like something tiny. Yeah. So how did that kind of launch into did you start to pepper into taste as to know which areas of writing you were most suited towards? How did you find, like, your memoir this moment?

[00:13:20] Well, it's so funny because I didn't actually know that I loved memoir until a few years ago. But I say that, you know, I've simplified it a lot. But I you know, I went to Sydney. That was actually a six month process when I was working, interning, trying to get a job, a paid job, because I was working like 40 hours a week at a restaurant in Corkle by Sydney while I was doing days unpaid at these offices. And my Driton, the thing was back then, because it wasn't there was no you know, the Internet wasn't as big as it is now. You had to actually be working on staff to say the stop job ads in Pacific publications and all of those places. And nothing came up in the times that I was there. And I made some contacts and I was like, can you please let me know if something comes up? And I ended up running out of money and just being exhausted because I was working so much because Sydney is so expensive. I came back to Melbourne and got a waitressing job here in Melbourne and then just started sending out because again, no Internet sending out kulla photocopied packs of my tiny little byline. So I think by then I had had a review of a film, an essay, a first person essay, which is Memoir in Runner's World. So I used to run quite a lot. And maybe one other thing and. Oh yeah, quiz. I had a quiz published in Playboy magazine and I would send out these color coordinated packs and that must've cost me so much money because it was all my past. And eventually I got a job. I think it was eight or nine months later at the Herald Sun, which is our major daily newspaper. And I actually had a hiring freeze on at the time, which I didn't know. But now I'm glad I didn't come after got the job there. And that was fantastic. That was a baptism of fire. And I got mobile ones there. And what I found that I really enjoyed writing about was health and wellbeing and psychology, because I think I knew the health editor from school and she'd said, if you want to write a couple of columns, you can do that. And just a bit like you. I loved interviewing people. So I think one of my first articles was on iron deficiency or something, and I had to find a medical expert to interview on why women have less often than men typically. Well, something like that. And I just love the whole process of putting together a story and formulating the argument, getting experts to give you information. That's something. And I'd seen in my time at the magazine offices that freelancers, you know, that you could freelance the health magazines or women's magazines on health topics and get paid quite well. I think in feature articles, this is still when we have print. But, you know, people read print, so you'd get maybe a thousand dollars for a health feature. So I made it my goal to to make a living writing health features and psychology features. There's a magazine in Australia called Good Medicine, and I pitched to them. I just pitched lots of articles and I'm still waitressing. And then I eventually quit the Herald Sun because I didn't want to do news journalism. I found it quite. I really couldn't. I just couldn't handle it. I was there when the Bali bombings happened, which was a major news story here in Australia because Bali is so close to Australia. And yet I just I couldn't take it. I'm not I'm not cut out for news journalism. So I'm trying to fast forward, so after that, I started freelancing, I loved writing about health and psychology. I loved interviewing people at sort of the same as, you know, it just it felt feels like such a privilege when people opened up their lives to you. And, yeah, it's very mutually inspiring. And I, I find the whole process of interviewing very interesting. I think I was working for an architecture magazine and I interviewed this architect and I could see him actually transforming in front of my eyes when I was interviewing him because he was he was considering something he'd never considered before just because of the way I'd framed the question. And I've always found that really interesting. So then miraculously and I'm making it sound quick. But this took a few years. I've gathered enough work to actually just be living off my freelancing. So I no longer needed to waitress. And I met this comedian who he lived out of his car and he excellente basically just performed in outback rough pubs around Australia. And I fell in love with him really quickly and basically moved him to his car because I was like, well, I can write from anywhere. And at that point, I was making enough money and it was just a huge adventure. And so I went traveling with him for about a year. And that was sort of when my career took off in terms of freelancing. So it was quite strange. I got all these weekly columns, fashion columns. Would you believe in a in another newspaper called The Age? And I was traveling with him through these really, really rough redneck sort of places and having to write sometimes from the front seat of the car or lack of a room at the back of the pub. And eventually I came back to Melbourne because, yeah, I couldn't I could only leave out of the car for so long. I missed Melbourne. And I'd always thought, like, I sort of thought, well, wait, I'm always looking for the next thing. And I sort of thought, well, the only thing that is left for me now is to write a book, because I had been freelancing at that point for two or three years, I think, which I loved. But I just wanted to do something bigger. And I always wanted to write a book. And I think I was getting close to 30 years old and I didn't. It's those those significant voices that make you sort of think, oh, yeah, I've got to do that thing that I always said I'd do. So I started writing a book about traveling around Australia with GM, which was a memoir travel memoir, because I always loved reading travel memoirs as well. Mm hmm. And long story short, and I sort of talk about this a lot in a lot of my memoir, blogs and trainings and things. But, you know, it took I didn't know how to write a book. Crooner's knows how to read a book when they stop. And I had a really, really. So I had a few really fortuitous connections. A woman on the street introduced me to her literary agent, like who was one of the top literary agents in Australia. That was a very amazing fluke. But I also had the most brutal rejection that you could actually imagine. One of the top publishers in Australia, a great arrange to meet with me. She contacted my agent. She said she'd been reading my manuscript. She agreed to meet with me at a cafe and she flying down to Melbourne from Sydney. And I thought, wow, she's going to offer me a book deal. And I told my family, my friends, and after an hour of her telling me how bad my writing was, why I'd never be published, I had to actually say, well, I might go now.

[00:20:48] Yeah, what a malicious moment.

[00:20:51] It was pretty awful. It was really awful. It took me six months to get over that. I couldn't even look at the manuscript. I was just humiliated, absolutely humiliated.

[00:21:00] Well, at that point, I wonder, looking back now that you have success under your belt, what was the point of her make going to such effort?

[00:21:08] Well, this is a thing I didn't know at the time. You know, I was so naive, which I sort of think you have to be to get anything done. It took another year when I did actually sign the book deal for that book. And I met with my new publisher and she gave me the background to that particular person and said, you know, she's she's been put on on leave for bullying. She's got a mental disorder and various other things. And I was like, oh, my God, because I never I thought I would go to the grave without knowing why she had flown down to basically put me down for an hour in a cafe.

[00:21:50] The power hierarchy in publishing is ridiculous. I mean, it's all right up there with my mother, most antiquated, you know, DHT and subject kind of. Ships that happen. And I is I am excited about it being overturned and we can get into this later.

[00:22:04] I've spoken to a lot of authors that self publish because that did this system, it was abusive at its finest.

[00:22:11] So abusive. I'm wondering, are you describing the beginnings of love in other U turns? Yes. Yeah. Oh, my God. That book was published. Yeah. So after I got over the brutal rejection and everything.

[00:22:25] I actually rewrote the book and then pitched it on a cold pitch Friday. And it was like she called the publisher, called me on the cheese day and offered me a book deal and I just cried. And it was published, I think, six months after that, which is pretty quick in publishing, really fast.

[00:22:42] What caused you to, like, finally kind of regroup after six months from your lashing and think. No, no, this is good. I know so many people that would abandon a piece of work with that kind of abusive moment in their life. You know, it doesn't. I would have abandoned it.

[00:22:56] And yet, my friend Dave. He's no longer alive. I ran into him just on the straight and. Hey, hey. I'd gone to school together and he was there. And the other student who studied literature in our country, high school, and he was a good four A's, like a sole friend. You know, I hadn't seen him for about five years. And I ran into him on the street and just said I said I wrote a book. But it got no love lost or something. And, you know, I just vaguely told him the story, but I was still crushed. And he said, you wrote a book, you write, you actually finished it.

[00:23:28] You got to pick it up.

[00:23:29] And he was determined. He took it on like it was on him. But I get that book back to a publisher. And if it hadn't been for him so passionate about getting me. And he looked at it and gave me feedback and he was like, you need to stop the story here. And he was so passionate. And he was actually dying of liver cancer at the time. And he passed away before that book was published. He was only thirty two, but if it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't picked it up. But he was just so determined like you wrote it and you finished it. You can't just chuck it out. And I think about that now. And I think that's how I want to be for other people, because it is I think it's just it's a tragedy when people get so crushed by rejection that they just put it away. And I've seen that happen. And it's.

[00:24:18] It takes a long time to finish a book. It really does. Just labor.

[00:24:23] And bless Dave for knowing that, you know. Yes. You, too. I think you're right. I think voices of encouragement are so necessary. People don't realize, I think, how important that they can be, you know, from outside. So after you had your initial success, did you immediately catapult you into a letter from Paris or did you take some time? How did that play out, the aftermath of success?

[00:24:50] No, sir. This is sort of a complicated I mean. Yeah. So the book so I love another U-turn came out.

[00:24:59] It was a very odd time in my life because my mom died at the same time.

[00:25:06] And also publishing had switched completely online. So everything that I used to do for money, which was pitch FHA radicals, I went down from first the word count stopped. So we went from a nineteen hundred word FHA to 700 words. So that means if you getting paid by the word, you're now getting three hundred and fifty dollars where you used to get twelve hundred. So it just became less and less. It was harder and harder to live off freelancing. And I knew that I had to retrain in the digital world, but I had no idea where to start because, you know, and a lot of people that I had worked at the Herald Sun with or had who'd been freelance journalist or had been journalists, it was a really hard time. Everyone was like, you know, they just suddenly lost their jobs. I know a woman who started a funeral home after losing her 20 year job, you know, in this type of some editing, because she was like, well, that's never going to you know, there's always gonna be a need for a funeral home. Yeah, but I sort of and I saw some of the bloggers coming up, and I think Sarah Wilson had just started blogging in Australia. She's the I quit sugar lady. And I could say that some of these people were really taking on the digital world and harnessing that. But I have no idea where to start. Like, I'm such an on tech savvy person, like, you know, and I didn't know anyone who did it. And I ended up taking this. And the thing was, my book came out and I talk about this a bit later, but I had no idea what I should have done when that book came out to really make it a success. So a lot of people don't know when a book comes out. You know, you basically get three months, if you're lucky of time, chop shop shelf space. Yeah. And you've got to do with many interviews, as much publicity as you possibly can. I had like a website that was stuck in the 1970s. I had to ask people to actually update it for me because it was all hyped, humoral card. I didn't even know I couldn't even update my website, wasn't even a word press or anything was on some something that I don't even know. Yeah. So, yeah, I was really shocked. The book came out and it sold a few copies and then by October that year it was like I'd never done anything and I was starting from scratch again. And so I was really crushed, actually. It was quite depressing because I sort of thought, well, I spent so low on this book and, you know, these are these things that people don't tell you about publishing, but you need to be stuck thinking a year ahead. You need to be doing your publicity count down. And then this is the full podcasts really were a thing as well. And I do do a lot of radio interviews, but. But because I did I had this weakness in the tech sphere.

[00:28:05] I didn't have a good website. I didn't know how to how to set up a blog. I yeah, I didn't know how to do any of that. I basically went back and got a corporate job at an accounting company because they would take they taught me how to do web editing. And I had to use like six different content management systems.

[00:28:25] And I learned a lot. But it was the most boring job I've ever had.

[00:28:31] Yeah.

[00:28:32] Yeah. But, you know, I just I needed to get a job and I needed to learn how to use the Internet, you know, digital publishing. And so I was sending out seven weekly tax newsletters at these incredibly boring job. I don't think I really lasted like three months. That got I learned a lot. And then I went to Byron Bay because, as I said, my mum had died not long. You know, maybe a year and a half earlier. And I still very, very wounded from that. So I sort of packed up all of my things and moved to Byron Bay and just sort of lived in this shed that overlooks the forest, which didn't cost very much money and started writing digital copywriting. So I, I transferred the skills that I've been doing as a journalist to that and got quite a lot of stuff published. The only difference is your byline isn't on it when it's copyrighting. And at that point, I started writing a fiction novel. Sorry, this is such a long winded way now.

[00:29:33] Love. Yeah.

[00:29:36] So I started writing a fiction novel because I thought that was the other thing. So publishing a memoir. It was actually also quite a bizarre psychological process when Love another U-turn came out, because, as I said, my mum had just died and I was doing all these interviews based on the person that I was when I wrote Love of a U-turn. So it's all these free wheeling and it's a quite a funny book. Quick. It's it's all about the wackiness of outback towns and how I liked not having many possessions and just living out a car. Banks are free in Australia, but after my mum died, I, I really changed. My character changed. I think everyone loses a parent without changing a lot. And so it was quite hard doing those interviews and trying to be all cheery and promote that book when I had changed so dramatically. So I thought, well, gee, I don't think I can write in another memoir because it's just so personal and, you know, people are asking me about my relationship with Jim when really. And saying, you know, your mom must be your parents must be so proud of you. And I hadn't even properly grieved. And it was all just was really hard. It's it's very hard for me writing a memoir because it is so personal and you need to have a lot of. Not protective, but you need to know what you're doing. And I didn't know what I was doing. I hadn't. I didn't really know anyone else who published a book. I though the lady on the street who'd interviewed, introduced me to the literary agent had sent me some great advice. But aside from that, you know, I there were no writing coaches at that point. There were. Yes. So I moved to Byron Bay and I started working on a fiction novel, which was sort of a thinly veiled fiction. It was about trauma and grief and processing, sort of what I was processing. And the only way I could write it was to make it a fiction, even though it really wasn't. It was all just a metaphor. And then I sort of did what I needed to do in Byron Bay. And I came back to Melbourne about a year later. And, yeah, just just went back to work. And I was pitching that fiction novel around. I ended up going to the US, going to this incredible writer's retreat because I wanted to get it to a publisher in the US because I thought, well, the reason my book Eleven of a U-turn wasn't a success is because it was only published in Australia. That's such a small market here. But that didn't really eventuate. And then that book was sort of messy. And I think I really didn't. I'm not supposed to write fiction. It's not. I didn't have the genre right. I didn't even know if it was a thriller or a romance or what or like a supernatural. It was just it was a bit of everything. That book was kind of my therapy writing that.

[00:32:32] Well, yeah, it sounds cathartic. Maybe maybe not being published in any way.

[00:32:40] And so I came back to Melbourne and I just got lots of different jobs editing and ended up working in media, sort of media training and marketing for Melbourne University, which is really big. But it's I think it's one of our biggest universities. And I loved that job. And, you know, I really just threw myself into my work and thought, you know, like a cat published a book. But I'm probably never gonna do that again, even though I wanted to. I sort of stuffed that down because I'd been so disappointed with what happened with love. Another U turns anyway. Long story short. I had just finished a year working at Melbourne Uni and I'd quit because of something really awful that happened there. We've with this boss and I received this email from a woman in Paris about my father. And so my dad died when I was very young. And she said our grandmother died yesterday. And in her apartment, we found a stack of letters written in nineteen forty nine about a man named Dennis in Deasey Are you any relation? Is he your grandfather? And that was my dad. And I said, well, I wrote because this was on Facebook Messenger. She contacted me and I said, nineteen forty nine. That's right. So she was telling me he'd been in London. I didn't know any of this stuff about my dad. I didn't know that he'd been in London when he'd he'd been to France. I knew that he'd had a French wife, but I didn't really know when or how or how that had connected. And basically, as soon as she started e-mailing me and she sent me all of these translations of the French letters that her grandmother had written and she said, you know, grandmother was talking about your father until the day she died. And they actually sent me a recording of her in the hospital talking about my death. And this had been 36 years since he died. And I just couldn't. It was all a bit crazy. And I remember thinking in the pit of my stomach, if I'm going to have to write another book.

[00:34:54] I just I was like, man, but I've done it.

[00:34:57] And it was so hard. Yeah.

[00:35:00] And I think this is sort of where why and where the whole memoir coaching and the courses that I do now, where it will come from. Because at that time as well, a good friend of mine, she'd won a competition, a writing competition for a piece of memoir she'd written about running away from. So she her dad was a Vietnam vet and had very serious PTSD. And so she and her siblings and her mom had had to run away from home because he was very violent. And she'd want to competition for this pace. And long story short, that led to her publishing contract for that book. But she'd never published a book before either. And I saw her going through everything that I'd gone through with Love, another U-turn. So she didn't know that she would have to organize the launch event and do as much public. She felt the publisher was going to do everything. You know, she she really didn't know anything about the promotion. She was really upset and kind of stressed and. Yeah, that sort of thing. And so, like, I sort of took it on myself to try and educate her for what she should be doing up to the launch and that sort of thing. And then. Yeah, we just talked a lot through through the launch of her book and everything. And that was when. I was working on a letter from Paris, but I was determined that I would not write the book the same way that I did love another U-turn. So I didn't want to write the whole manuscript and then stop pitching it. I was like, I need a deadline. I need an FUC advance. I need you to pull this stuff. So I was really, really strategic, which I'd never been before. And I pitched, I wrote, I got things published. I used that to leverage publishers interest, which then led to a documentary. There's a show in Australia called Australian Story, which is documentaries of I don't know if you've ever seen it. I have. OK. Well, one of the producers of from Australian Story contacted me about this story about my dad, which I've been how to make. Leveraged into the contract for a letter from Paris. Because I really want to. Yeah, yeah. And I'm shortening it. There are a lot of very stressful phone calls and emails. But I was determined that I would have a deadline and a contract before I sat down to write that book. So I worked on a letter from Paris. And it was it was a bestseller when it came out in Australia two years ago and it's still been up and down a bestseller here, and it's come out in the UK and the US and Canada as well. But the reason that I'm sharing that isn't too advanced. It's because I was very, very specific and determined and strategic in everything that I did with Boris. How I pitched the book, how I avoid it to how it was published. How I went to the editor, what I did pray, publicity, all of that sort of thing, because I had had such a bruising experience with love and other unions. And the thing is, most people don't get a second chance to write a memoir or publish a memoir. So I was very lucky. But this is what led me to create these courses. And so the coaching that I do with authors is because what I saw I saw what happened with my friend Bruce. I know what happened with me. And so many people think the story's over when you sign that book to Sharon. And I know what you're saying about self publishing as well. If you actually if you want a lucrative publishing contract, self publishing is the way to go. And if you've already got a platform and you've already got an audience, you might be better off self publishing. But for a lot of people, like it was to me, you want to be traditionally published because that's, you know, this it's pretty amazing to have the backing of a traditional publisher. And it's you know, it's one of those dreams you want to be published by a publisher. And, you know, they do things that. I mean, just the quality of working with the editors on a letter from Paris taught me so much that I would have learned if I'd, you know, I would never of self publish that book anyway, because it's too important to me that it be produced in a really quality, beautiful. I just really wanted it to be traditionally published, but I understand that a lot of people. If if the purpose is to make money, then I would say sure. So publish or even spade, if you want to be speedy.

[00:39:55] No. And I also think there's a great deal more to be learned. I think both processes have education.

[00:40:00] But certainly the old still old school, there was, you know, a valid moment in that two to be had. And I think that there is there's a great mystique. It's just like academia. It's just like any race. You know, there is still a great deal of pride that one should take out of executing those systems. And it sounds like, you know, your qualifications. What I love about the difficulty in this journey that you've just unraveled for us is that you couldn't come from a more qualified source, you know, to have love another U. Turns and then a letter from Paris and and being on this bestseller, you know, international list is amazing. And I love. I don't really trust teachers that haven't had some kind of a struggle.

[00:40:46] Well, that was the thing.

[00:40:47] That was the thing with me and I, you know, and that was what made me so angry, actually, when I was at uni was none of those teachers had been published. And I was like, what do you know, except for, you know, bizarre academic journals. But I was like, but I want to see your book in a shop.

[00:41:03] Yes.

[00:41:04] And I want to hear the story. The difficulties are, you know. Yes. This horrible moment of someone flying from Sydney to kind of train crash you until this friend uplifted you and all of that back and forth.

[00:41:15] And yet I'm wondering. So we're getting to your Web site and kind of crawling through the suite of online services that you have. Can you kind of crawl? Anyone who hasn't visited your Web site yet or knows anything about it? What are the different services that you offer your clients?

[00:41:34] So it's it's funny that we're doing this podcast now because I'm actually raised configuring a few things because what I've realized. So I always wanted to offer memoir coaching and courses to show someone step by step how to write a memoir, because I know how overwhelming, how overwhelmed I felt at the beginning of a letter from Paris. I was like, how do I even put the sample chapters together for a publisher? How do I know? Because it's such a personal thing. You write, it's so overwhelming to go well, how do I, you know, jump into my entire life story and pick out the most relevant or interesting peso's to this story. And so I sort of came up with a process and a method for that finding the quote which know most storytelling. You would find the same with documentaries. You finding a hook, you finding where the story actually begins like that is more crucial than anything. You're finding the universal themes, finding the they really unique personal aspects to the universal themes. So I'm always sort of obsessed with finding like creating a mathematical or strategic formula to something to make it less overwhelming. So I originally started I created a course called Memory Academy, which was a six month step by step course for writing your memoir and getting it ready for a publisher. And I've had a few people take that course and I realized that it sort of needs to be three courses because it's very layers. There's three layers to writing and publishing a memoir is the actual writing of it, which anyone can can do. I love writing and craft is really fun to study. Yeah. Great to sit in your room and write a memoir. And this is something that I noticed with my students who took the program last year, which I'm really doing is if I hadn't got over their visibility issues, if I hadn't won, one of my students didn't even have a website that had her name on it. She was too scared to use her real name for any of her published paces. And I realize visibility is one of the biggest aspects of writing and publishing a memoir. So I sort of have to put that into a separate program, which is all. And I didn't realize that I'd done all of this with you. So all those years that I spent pitching articles and following up and writing freelance articles. That was me getting comfortable, being visible, pitching and following up. So I created a another smaller program, which is all about getting getting published and getting visible because that is actually going to lead to your book deal anyway. So, you know, if you want to be traditionally published and if you want to self publish, you really need to get visible, too, because you'll sell more books. So I separated that. And then this is the new program that I'm working on, which I'm really excited about, because it's everything that I was just sort of. Describing to you about my friend Bruce and then what I went through with love, another U-turn, which is people who signed the book deal, right? That's amazing. That is a huge accomplishment. But there's actually a six to 12 month process that they need to go through to ensure that that book sells for longer than two months, because that might be the book. The only book that they ever publish and you want to give it the best chance of success. And self care is a huge part of that process because otherwise, how are you going to go on TV or radio or podcasts and talk about your incredibly personal, sometimes traumatic story? Because a lot of memoirs are about very traumatic experiences or Newtons. You know, sometimes if it's a travel memoir like Love, another U-turn, that is a happy that is a really happy story that I wrote. But, you know, for example, with a letter, letter from Paris, I did a lot of talks, library talks. I did some events in Sydney at the Ambulance Française, because my dad was connected with the aliens from sides. And I had complete strangers coming up to me afterwards and asking incredibly personal questions about my family. And if I hadn't been prepared for that and if I hadn't done it all before, I would have just fallen apart. And I still was extremely exhausted after promoting that book, but. I had all these methods in place and I knew what I was getting into. And I think there's a real gap there. People think as soon as I've signed the book deal, that that's that's a fantastic I'll just hire a public system. I can take care of the rest. Yes. Or you actually have to do a lot, particularly with memoir, because you you are the story. It's not like I didn't invent with a really well-known historical fictional son. Attach a list of documents. You've heard of her. She's hit the bestsellers in the in the US with her latest book, The Paracel Orphan. And we didn't have into the library. And, you know, she had always it was the same library that I'd done an event at two or three months earlier. And she had members in the audience asking her questions and she looked so relaxed and so happy. And I realized, oh, my God, it's because she didn't because hers is a fiction. And I was like, oh, man, you have to be so different.

[00:47:16] And she wasn't, like, absolutely ruined after the event and, you know, just meeting. And I never thought about that. She's just discussing the story. She told you she's not discussing her history.

[00:47:29] I would feel personally, I would feel sorry personally, sort of pried open after every media appearance or event, which is fine, you know? And they will. And I did certain things to strengthen myself before that. And there were questions that I wouldn't know, that I wouldn't answer them, but I'd sort of come up with because I've worked as a journalist. Sort of come up with deflecting ways to turn them back. But, you know, it's all this stuff that people don't know. And I really want to educate people because. Yeah. A bit like the legacy project thing. If this memoir if this book is the only book that you ever have published, you want to give it the best chance of success. And you you owe it to yourself as well to to really look after yourself and really promote it to the best of your ability, your ability, and make it a really joyous, glamorous, wonderful thing because. Yeah. I mean, a lot of memoir groups on Facebook, which is sort of showing me how. How damaging that whole launch process can be if people aren't prepared properly. So that's that's the new program that I'm working on. How long is it? How long does it last? At least six months. I haven't. Yeah. Yeah, I haven't completely fine tuned the the material yet, but it has to be at least six months. I'm thinking of possibly extending it to 12 because most most publishers give you at least 12 months lead time before the book comes out. Yeah.

[00:49:08] And it's it's more to cover not just the marketing and the publicity, but self care. And you know what you want what you want to say. Media training from that perspective of, you know, if this is the only book that you publish. If if this is what your children and your grandchildren are going to hear about your story, what would you like them to take away? So, you know, I like politicians. Get trained to. Sure. Your press conferences. Authors may need that sort of training as well.

[00:49:42] Absolutely. Well, given that you're revamping a couple of things right now and kind of extending into its proper time, length and category, sectioning with the three different courses, and what are their goals and plans do you have for yourself moving forward?

[00:49:56] Are you looking at any new works yourself or are you kind of honing in on this some coaching role, this advisory role that you have for the next few years? What do you see for yourself?

[00:50:06] So I'm always I'm always thinking of the next project. At the moment, I'm actually working on a proposal for my third memoir, which is actually a Joel memoir with my dad. So as I as I worked through a letter from Paris, I found his manuscript in the library. I found a memoir that he'd written. And this is part of the reason I'm so passionate about memoir. And even though he died when I was six through writing his memoir, I feel like I've got a relationship with him. I know my dad again. So I really am so passionate about the value of memoir in terms of writing. You know, if he if he hadn't left his memoirs, I wouldn't know so much amazing stuff that happened to him that, you know, even things about this character that I've just really, really been important to learn. So I'm working on a proposal for that to be published as a follow up to a letter from Paris. I've been transcribing all the material because it's suddenly pipe up at the library. So over the last year, I've been transcribing it and into digital files and now I'm just polishing it because it's sort of from the 1940s and 50s. So, yeah, it's pretty, pretty fun to work on that. And also working on. Yeah. I'm really excited working on these memoir programs. I have one of my programs that I'm not revamping. That's just there. Evergreen for anyone is for beginners and that's a memoir journaling program. So that's a 30 day program because I couldn't have written any of my memoirs without my journals. And it sort of teaches you how to write in sort of how to ask yourself those questions that are going to get you writing in a way that you can then use for for a future published book if you want to turn things.

[00:52:02] Yeah. Yeah, I love that. I love the call and response that you're having with your with your father as well.

[00:52:07] You know, I'm I'm a big believer in closed doors and death being maybe one of the most astute ones that we're faced with in this sphere, not closing conversations in relationships. You know, I think it it's it's very finite. To view it that way. And I love the idea that you're having this newfound conversation in relationship with your father all these years later. It's amazing.

[00:52:30] It's set a work of love. It is. So I mean, I was working on it yesterday and I I published a couple of the chapters from his first trip to Paris in 1940. I was just like, Ma going out. This is this is incredible. It's like a Paris that is from a made up story buttons because it was in his diary. I knew that it was true. And I just.

[00:52:53] Yeah. Yeah. The Paris. I want to go to everybody from Paris. I want to be there. I can't.

[00:53:00] You know, I can go and read some of the stories. I want to go back to Simone de Beauvoir as Paris like I want.

[00:53:05] Yeah. That this is like. Have you seen Big Night in Paris, the Woody Allen film? Yeah. This is like that. It's like, you know, he's just walking into a cafe and people are like, oh, god, my car coming. I will, I will take you somewhere better. And just hopping in the car with people and.

[00:53:21] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:53:22] Absolutely brilliant. Well I cannot wait for it to come out at all. And Louisa, I am sorry to say that we are wrapping it up on time because we could I could sit here for our days with you.

[00:53:36] I probabley talked way too much.

[00:53:37] No, not at all. I'm not editing any of this out. Am I going to let my team do it either. I want to know. I this is my final question. I wrap everything up for those of you listening the same question. It's my favorite. She's never going away. I'll never stop asking it. If you were in a park or a garden somewhere in beautiful Melbourne tomorrow to socially safe distance given the pandemic and a young woman or female identified or non binary individual walked up to you. So anyone other than a straight, white, cis gendered male and said, listen, I you know, I went to university, I would do this writing program. I think people have it wrong. I don't think there's enough application applied there in a mean I'm going to launch out on my own. I'm going to write my memoirs, and then I'm going to get them published and I'm going to do all of this and I'm going to use the grit and determination that doesn't hasn't been taught to me before. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give that individual knowing what you know now?

[00:54:34] It's so funny because I did actually run into a. A girl who sounded very similar to that at a bookstore a few months ago, and she was so sweet and asking me questions because she wanted to be a writer. The first thing I would say is. Persevere. It's like it's like what what Dave said to me. You have to persevere.

[00:54:57] You probably get rejected the first 10 or 20 times. So perseverance is more important than having a quick win.

[00:55:07] The second thing is to always be learning. So I take everything as a learning opportunity. Even the most brutal rejections or feedback try to take the good and drop the bad because you can't take it personally or you'll just be wounded. So I try and just treat everything as a learning experience. And lastly, only speak to people who've been published in terms of advice, if that's what you want to do. Just get your advice from people who've been published. Don't be listening to, Someone whose Aunt Jenny, maybe Wrote a letter once 50 years ago. That was maybe put in a newspaper. Yes. Find some people that you can model or and even if you can't talk to them, read on their blogs, listen to their podcasts. We're sort of lucky in the Internet era, we can find mentors and not even make them. And learn all their best stuff. So, yeah. I my three pieces of advice persevere. Take the good. Drop the bad. When you learn and find someone that you can model what you want to do. Find someone actually published that you can model.

[00:56:28] I love this. Three pieces, especially the last one. Only speak with people who published about publishing like I love them.

[00:56:33] I shouldn't have this now. I believe it is last or. I know. I agree.

[00:56:40] Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Louisa. I appreciate it so much. And I know that everyone listening will as well.

[00:56:47] Thank you, Patricia. It was really good.

[00:56:49] Yeah, absolutely. And for everyone listening. Thank you so much for giving us your time. I have been speaking today.

[00:56:55] I've had the brilliant opportunity to speak with Louisa, Deasey and you can find her at w w w dot. I'm going to spell it out. L o u i s a dea s e y dot com for all of her services, as well as information regarding all of her bestselling books and works. And thank you again for giving me your time today.

[00:57:15] And until we speak again next time, remember to stay well, stay safe and always bet on yourself. Slainte.

Speaking with Louisa Deasey; Best selling memoirist, editor and non-fiction writing coach | Professional Chronicles with Patricia Kathleen (2024)
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