39 year old Gold Coaster Kirsty Dallas has been writing all her life.
But what started as a hobby covering novels, short stories and poetry has turned into something completely different. In 2012, she first became published after a chance meeting with someone who had self-published a book while worked in the movie industry.
She still works two days a week at her “real” job – at an optometrist, but the rest of her week she spends writing.
In that short time span since 2012, she’s published eight books with a ninth due for release on 15 April. One of her stories Decker’s Wood, which is a comedy romance, sold 20,000 copies across the world in its first month.
“Once you get into the Amazon Top 100, that’s when you’re officially rating as an International Best Seller,” she told me, as we caught up at the new Burleigh Brewing Co. facility.
But she’s adamant she is not a numbers girl. “If people are reading it, that’s cool.”
It’s rare that authors don’t keep track of how many books they’ve sold. Kirsty is one of those international best sellers but she finds it hard to quantify her volume of sales.
“People do read them and I make money off them – I just don’t keep track of all the numbers, she said.
“That first book published – was the coolest feeling – when people started getting in touch with me and saying they loved my book – it hit me – oh my god – I just became an author.”
Kirsty’s debut book, Saving Ella is the first book in a series called Mercy’s Angels which deals with abuse against women, with the whole series revolving around a women’s shelter. As the series unfolds, Kirsty has published other projects.
“I’m kind of somebody who writes depending on mood. I’m a mood writer. I can’t force myself to sit and work on a particular project if it’s not there – I just move onto something that’s working better for me.”
Four books have been published in the Mercy’s Angels series with a fifth in progress as we speak.
“I’ll just keep on writing while people keep on reading. That particular series I do get a lot of feedback from,” Kirsty said. “I get a lot of women who reach out to me who’ve read it.”
Kirsty explains that she has her own experiences when it comes to domestic violence. “I am a domestic abuse survivor myself,” she said. “So, feelings, emotions, I can place myself in those situations.”
Plus she has researched women’s shelters and regular contacts people for added perspectives, interviewing them online via email.
Kirsty said the political awareness around domestic violence has changed a lot in recent years.
“Once apon a time it was a taboo subject that we didn’t talk about,” she said. “More people are aware of it now, can understand it. They can read a book and understand and appreciate it and can understand the horrors women go through in that situation.”
“A lot of people who haven’t experienced that, don’t understand it. You get that ‘why didn’t she leave’ kind of thing.”
I hope my books open up people’s eyes to why one wouldn’t leave.
Kirsty’s new book, though, is something totally different to anything she’s written before. She normally writes contemporary / comedy romance. This new book, called When Nothing is All You’ve Got is dystopian.
“It’s set in an anti-utopian society – a post-apocalyptic place,” she explained. “It’s based in Earth’s future. Basically America has crumbled under war – they’ve been attacked. In an effort to gain control of the states and country – they’ve segregated the states with borders and have brought in zero tolerance for crime. There’s no grey anymore. It’s black and white. If you commit a crime, you go to prison and the prison is underground.”
“They have closed off the New York subway system and the whole novel takes place underground in this prison.”
“It’s like Mad Max meets Cinderella,” she said. “It’s a story about a girl who’s more or less discarded by her father and the lead character – her name is Nada, which is Spanish for nothing – she is the underground’s most successful cage fighter.”
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When Nothing is All You’ve Got goes live on 15 April and will be available electronically via Amazon for Kindle, itunes, Nook and Kobo. It will also be launched in paperback format on 23 April at Pomeroy’s Café at Capri on via Roma.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lamp Photography