May I say first of all what a pleasure it is for me to interview Natalie Vellacott in the Author Spotlight series. We have much in common, both former UK police officers and Natalie’s first book They’re Only Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? was set in the Philippines, where I now live. I have read it, enjoyed it and reviewed the book on Amazon, Goodreads and the LibraryThing.
Let’s get to the interview –
After falling away from her Christian faith as a teenager, Natalie Vellacott spent a number of years trying to find happiness in worldly pursuits before realising, at the age of 23, that life was meaningless without God.
Natalie served as a police officer with Sussex Police in south-east England for ten years. She still enjoys watching police and crime drama series on TV. Her humorous and revealing autobiography, Planet Police, has recently been published.
Natalie later became a Christian missionary to the Philippines after falling in love with a group of street children addicted to solvents. This occured whilst she was serving on-board the missionary ship Logos Hope. They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? tells the story.
Natalie is currently in England working for a voluntary organisation, Groundwire UK. She shares hope in Jesus via the internet. In addition to maintaining her blog and writing honest online book reviews from a Christian perspective, she is working on her next book, The Logos Life. It details her Logos Hope experiences.
Planet Police can be found here on Amazon.
You can find Natalie in all these places:
Why do you write?
I wrote my first book to raise awareness of the plight of a group of street teenagers addicted to solvents in the Philippines. I also wanted to raise money in order to help the boys practically. Due to the encouragement I received, I decided to also write about my previous police experiences in Sussex, England. My main purpose is always to share my Christian faith through my writings by detailing how it shapes my life on a daily basis.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a book about my two year Logos Hope journey that began in 2011. This book is at the cover design, editing and proofing stage. I hope to publish it before the end of the year. I’m also in the process of writing a sequel to my first book about the “rugby boys” in the Philippines.
From where did you draw your inspiration to write your latest book?
I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with others so that they can learn from them. I see my writing as an aspect of my Christian witness and therefore my primary inspiration comes from God.
Which writers had the most influence on your decision to write?
I was challenged whilst serving on the Logos Hope ship by a book that had been written by a former crew member about her experiences. She kept journals whilst she was on-board and subsequently published them in novel form. I realised that I could do the same and so began keeping a journal for that purpose. As far as I know, my writing isn’t really influenced by other writers, although I am an avid reader.
What was the last book you read?
I’ve been working through classics that I somehow missed out on. I just read Lord of the Flies and rated it four stars primarily due to the profound spiritual lessons that can be drawn from it. My review is on Goodreads.
Do you suffer from writers’ block?
Not really. I have to be in the right frame of mind to write. But once I get started I usually write a whole book over a few weeks. I think this is because I am writing real life experiences so I need to keep the flow of the story by avoiding too many long breaks.
Biggest frustration as a self-published author?
Visibility! There are numerous confusing options for authors to increase their profile but few seem to actually work. I recently blogged about this under the title “Reflections of an Amateur Christian Author.” I’m just grateful that I enjoy writing and that I’m not attempting to make a living out of it. All my royalties go back into Christian ministry in any event.
Reviews for books are vital. Any tips on getting more reviews?
Take advantage of giveaways! Librarything and Goodreads operate programmes and some options are free. I don’t recommend review swaps or exchanges as it makes it difficult to be honest. I was involved in a few Goodreads groups that generated some reviews. But ultimately it’s just a case of increasing your readership. The more people that read your books the more reviews you will receive.
Do you use social media? If so, do you like using it?
I use Facebook personally but not so much for my books because I don’t want to irritate my friends. I use Goodreads primarily and all of my posts on there are synced to Twitter. I use Google+ as it’s linked to my blog. I don’t really use the other networks. I enjoy using Goodreads because I’m an avid reader but the other platforms can become a bit tiresome.
Many people have a bucket list. What is #1 on yours?
I don’t really have one, but writing and publishing a book probably would’ve been on there if I did!
Any special message for your readers?
I appreciate those who take the time to read and comment honestly on my books. I’m always keen to hear from you and to attempt to improve my writing. I pray that you will really hear the saving message of Jesus contained in all of my books and that you might find true hope as I have done. God bless you all!
Thank you so much, Natalie. It was such an interesting and informative interview and I wish you all the very best in all your future endeavors.
Natalie Vellacott worked in Sussex Police for almost a decade, during which time she investigated almost every type of crime from traffic offences, thefts and minor assaults to burglaries, rape and murder.
These revealing and often humorous stories from the frontline of policing address the questions Natalie is most frequently asked as a former “cop”: what is the worst incident you dealt with? the funniest? the craziest? the most serious? She also shares personal life experiences, showing how these impacted the way she dealt with issues that arose in police work.
A fascinating read; hard to put down!
By Kim on 13 Feb. 2016
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