Q & A with Darcy Sheddon

Why did you decide to write your book?

I wrote the book to help other parents know what it was like to have a child with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). As another CFS sufferer rang and told me after he read the book "this book should be required reading for parents just starting to go through this". It was also very important for my son David to have his story told so that people he had known through his teenage years understood what he had gone through. It has also been very cathartic for me to write the story – it was a very tough period in both our lives.


Who/what inspired you to write?

Our GP, Dr George Quittner, provided the initial encouragement to write the book because, as he said to me, "Darcy, you have done everything that could be done to help your son – other people need to benefit from what you can tell them". I have to say, once I started writing the words, all of the emotions just fell on to the pages. Even now, when I read certain parts of the book, I still cry.


What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing this story was actually being able to talk with my son about his time of illness in a rational and unemotional way – something that we were not able to do while he was still sick. It proved to be part of the healing process for both of us. Another wonderful part of it has been the many thankyous I get from other CFS sufferers. They are so happy to see that someone has put the story of this hidden illness 'out there' and giving them the ability to say to their friends and family "read this book … you'll know what I am going through"!


What are your top tips for writing a book?

Give yourself plenty of time – you are not on a time-line. For the non-fiction genre, know what you are talking about, make sure your facts are correct and have the courage to say exactly what you need to.


Which books/authors have inspired you?

Other non-fiction authors that tell of their life's struggles and successes. As a child I loved the Gerald Durrell books (I was, and still am, obsessed by the world's wildlife). The Power of One was also another book that I found a great read.


Why did you decide to self publish and why Palmer Higgs?

I chose to self-publish because I became too impatient with waiting for publishers to decide if they were interested in the book. I chose PH because I was referred to them by another author who was very happy with her experience with them. I also found favourable reports about the company on the net.


What do you hope your readers get out of your book?

I hope that they will benefit from reading about our experiences – good and bad. Even though it is about CFS, I feel it applies to many aspects of life and can be of interest to a wider audience. It's really just an interesting story. I also know that David is happy that his friends, family and other people who were in his world at the time of his illness, now have a better understanding of what he endured over those years.


Would you consider writing another book?

I am already doing research for my next book. It combines my loves of Australian wildlife and Aboriginal culture.


Do you have any other tips for new authors (i.e. book launch, research, marketing, etc.)?

Only that marketing and promoting of your book is much harder than actually writing it. Many authors find the selling/promoting of their book a bit alien to them. You have to be prepared to push yourself to do this, or be prepared to pay someone to do it for you.