As featured in the The Observer - well maybe...

Having read a piece on a new novelist (26) inThe Observer, who it appeared could do everything but fly, I decided to write  one all of my own. My tongue was slightly in my cheek but all of it is true especially the part about the book having bestseller written all over it (well not literally of course, at least not yet).

Ah, a debut novelist.  But isn't it virtually impossible for anyone to get their first book published?
Self-publishing is the real deal now, do you think publishers need to sit up and take note? Having won short story awards and had several stories on Radio 4 Joan Taylor-Rowan has just self-published her first novel -The Birdskin Shoes (through Amazon).  It is rather brilliant.

OK, we've got our reading glasses on: more detail please. The Birdskin Shoes is a marvellous tale of love and redemption that transports the reader from the grey skies of rural Ireland to the dazzle of the Mexican circus in the company of Joey, a young man with a remarkable gift but a guilty conscience. Taylor-Rowan is half-Irish and has travelled extensively in Mexico - but has never performed in a circus. She has been up the Amazon on her own though and also has a PhD.

But writers often struggle after their first novel don't they? Pah! She has already plotted her second and is in the middle of the research - a story of alienation set in the heyday of Space exploration.  She also has a book of short stories ready for publication.

Words words words. What does she do in her spare time? Paying a mortgage is of course a prime concern so she works full-time teaching Art and Design, but she still manages to make and sell textile artworks, run the occasional pop-up ice cream parlour and write the libretto for a musical based on one of her short stories with a young composer who is currently performing his own songs on E4's Playing it Straight.  She also has just started to learn swing dancing - after all the body needs a bit of fun too.

She says: I think if I picked up this book, I'd say, "why hasn't anyone published this yet – it has bestseller written all over it! - plus the most beautiful cover on Kindle."  Her favourite writers include Carol Shields, Annie Proulx, Laurie Lee, Truman Capote and Carson McCullers.

We say: If only she was young and moody-looking we might feature her, but at her advanced age (52) she might not live long enough to prove us (and Waterstone's) right.

The Birdskin Shoes is available now at www.amazon.co.uk

Or read Ms. Taylor-Rowan's blog through http://www.joantaylorrowan.com

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