What would you say to your loved ones if you were only given a short time to live?
Having to leave family behind is a cruel fate, made worse when they are children. These are the touching words of a father to his daughter after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, knowing that she is too young to understand.
Terry Lander, author and poet, set up Lyvit Publishing as a vehicle to sell his poetry in 2005. Since then he has taken on four other authors and published four of his own poetry books.
Why did you set up Lyvit Publishing?
I found self-publishing was too expensive when I first started writing, so I printed my work from my home PC and hand stitched the pages together, cutting the edges with a Stanley knife to get a vaguely saleable book. I managed to put together around five a night, selling them to friends and family and saving the money for my first professional print run, which took around two years.
Lyvit Publishing has grown since then, hasn’t it?
We now produce professional books that are recognised by Amazon, Waterstones and WHSmith. Our 12th publication is my debut novella, To Say Goodbye. We are an indie publisher and all of our authors are currently writing further books. I’m amazed at how quickly the website has expanded and how many authors I am now responsible for as they have all approached me under their own steam, bringing their own ideas and helping to build the brand in any way possible.
Is Lyvit a one man group?
The publishing side is, as I am responsible for taking on new authors and producing their books. However, I get a lot of help from my authors with regards to advertising and promotion. I met David Coad, sometime in 2005. He had written over 1,500 poems and I agreed to publish his first collection in 2007, increasing our author base and catalogue at the same time. This gave me some experience with typesetting and proofreading, both of which I assist authors with during the production of their books.
When did you publish your first novel?
In 2008 I published Alya Bessex’ first book, The Unaired Views Of A Twenty Four Year Old Nobody, which is a mix of autobiography and opinion to great effect. He approached me after finding Lyvit on a social networking site. 2009 was by far our biggest year, with Kerry Vincent’s debut poetry collection, Mark Hendy’s celebrated debut novel and an interesting idea from Mark called MI77OR IM46ES. This simple initiative involves taking your photo in the mirror and has seen submissions from Chris Barrie, Isy Suttie, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince and many others. We sell most of our books from the online shop on our website at http://www.lyvit.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell me about your own book, To Say Goodbye
I was inspired to write the story to raise awareness of an illness that does not discriminate – Steven Winwood and Lindsay Ashmore were in their twenties when they died. I spent a lot of time with them during the end of their lives. I wanted to give people an idea of what it is like to be given an end date to your life as I saw so much emotion and determination during this time. Neither of my friends was willing to give in, doing anything possible to fight their illness and also spending time raising awareness. I didn’t want their information to be a reminiscing story I told when I was older; I felt I should use it to help others.
Is it an autobiography?
No, the book is a fictional diary written by a father who is diagnosed with the illness. Knowing he may not see his daughter grow up he writes down the events of the day, many of which are humorous incidents born from her naivety as she is too young to really understand what is happening to her father.
Was is hard to break away from poetry?
When I started writing “To Say Goodbye” I had been writing poetry for four years, so it was hard to break the mentality of writing short pieces. I had to commit more of my time to writing and made the most of opportunities where I wouldn’t be disturbed to enable me to build the story effectively. I find it very hard to write when there are distractions, although I find listening to music without lyrics helps me to focus.
Tell us a little about the man behind To Say Goodbye
I was born in Cornwall and have lived in Helston all of my life. I took part in the Flora Dance during my school life, returning to watch in subsequent years. Most recently I have danced the midday dance, a real honour in a town of such tradition. I started writing poetry in 2005, and have been published in a small number of anthologies (including ‘101 Poets For A Cornish Assembly’), ‘Metverse Muse’ in India and ‘Poetry Cornwall’, a subscribers magazine edited by Les Merton.
What do you do now?
I pose as a trainee electrician, one of many ‘careers’ that I have embarked on since leaving college. Before my present position, I have been a retail assistant, a trainee loan account manager, a bank cashier, a payroll clerical assistant, a trainee pharmaceutical assistant, a payroll clerical assistant (again), a clerical assistant in a different department and a mobile inventory control assistant. I hope to complete the training in my current employment so that I will no longer be referred to as a ‘trainee’ or ‘assistant’.
My hobbies include running a part-time disco and taking part in the annual Gweek Pantaloons pantomime production. I am happily married and live with my wife and three children in Helston.