Write on! Novel release for Talking Book Library’s Lee-Ann

Have you ever considered writing a book? If you enjoy reading and listening to audio books, it may have crossed your mind. Publishing a book is now easier than it’s ever been.

Lee-Ann is a Digital Production Officer in our Talking Book Library. As a young girl, Lee-Ann’s parents took her to the library. Her fascination with words and reading grew as she got older.

lee-Ann stands in front of the book cupboard in the Audio Library
Lee-Ann has had a lifelong love of books

Lee-Ann has been writing her first book, a contemporary adult fiction novel called Black and Blue. Its planned release date is in November.

We decided to find out whether Lee-Ann’s role at VisAbility had inspired her to put pen to paper, and we also spoke to her publisher, Ian.

Time to quiz Lee-Ann about this new chapter of her life.

Have you loved books and always been a keen reader?

Yes, absolutely. My parents would take me to libraries as a kid, and I’d devour books. You’d often find me in the school library at lunchtimes or reading outside my classroom, It might sound a bit sad and lonely, but I was having a great time!

I enjoyed writing from an early age and ended up studying Journalism, Asian Studies and Internet Communications at Curtin University. Around this time, I was also freelancing, writing travel blogs, and involved with social media projects.

A few years later, I finished a Diploma in Library and Information Services. While studying I started doing some voluntary work at the VisAbility Library. It eventually led to a permanent role and I’ve been here three years now.

The Library is unique because it’s making stories accessible in digital formats for people with a print disability. We’ve had clients with low vision who tell us they live alone and our talking books have kept them company. I know what we’re doing is making a difference.

When this book is published later this year, my goal is to ensure it’s available as an ebook and in an accessible format as an audio book.

Lee-Ann sits in a recording studio
Lee-Ann has worked in our Audio Library for three years

How did the book come about?

‘Black and Blue’ is not something that happened overnight. The idea to write a book began in 2015, and I produced an early draft, and it’s gathered momentum in the past eighteen months, partly because of COVID-19 and various lockdowns.
Lee-Ann and her publisher stand next to a book library in Vic Park
Lee-Ann has been working with publisher Ian from Leschenault Press

It’s semi-biographical. I’d call it contemporary fiction. It’s about Jade – a woman on the cusp of adulthood. Jade’s mum is Malaysian, so she has the same heritage as me. There’s a lot about bands and gigs and the club scene.

Jade is slightly dysfunctional and has anxieties and mental health issues – subjects close to my heart. Because of her worries, she makes choices that aren’t necessarily good ones. But by the end of the book, she emerges more confident and capable.

Ian, as her publisher, how easy is it to get a book online and into shops?

It used to be very difficult, but we’ve seen a rise in independent authors and independent publishing, so it’s relatively easy to have your book available globally.

There’s no longer a roadblock to getting it past distributors, and the turnaround is a lot quicker. We can help publish a book within a year, sooner most times. Editing, cover designing and proofreading are much faster than they used to be. Costs have come down as well.

I was previously in the military in the UK, but in 2004 moved to Australia and established a training company. In 2014 after running a course to explain how people could get their books independently published, I ended up running a hybrid publishing business called Leschenault Press (link opens in new window).

Ian and Lee-Ann sit on a bench in the park
The book will be published in November

From small beginnings, we now have more than 50 titles in the market and work with authors throughout the USA, UK and coast-to-coast Australia.

When I received Lee-Ann’s draft, I was most impressed. It’s a great book, but I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers.

It’s probably best you go out and buy it!

Lee-Ann’s book will be available in online stores including sites such as Amazon from November. You can also subscribe to Lee-Ann’s blog (link opens in new window) to follow her musings.

VisAbility’s Library is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It houses more than 70,000 book titles. They are available free of charge to anyone who has a print disability and is an Australian resident.

We continually add more titles and encourage people to submit requests for books that they’d like to see incorporated into our collection.