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"I knew I had great stories to tell"

Stephanie: “I didn’t want my dyslexia stopping me from becoming an author”

For as long as she can remember, Stephanie Hudson has told stories, taking her friends on fantasy journeys. But as she suffered from dyslexia, she never dared to think that her dream of putting her stories on paper and becoming a writer would come true. “At school I struggled with grammar and spelling”, she recalls. “My teachers constantly told me how bad my writing was. It was so disheartening. I didn’t want my dyslexia stopping me when I knew I had great stories to tell”.

It is stunning to see people queuing out the door at signing events - Stephanie Hudson

After leaving school, Stephanie felt she had to put aside any hope of becoming a professional author, but she kept writing as a hobby while she went through various jobs in hospitality. Then, in 2009, she became inspired by an idea that was different to anything she had written before: it would become the foundation of her supernatural romance saga, the Afterlife series. “The story came into my head out of nowhere and it was like pulling on the thread of a jumper”, Stephanie says. “By the time I had completed the first book I had the storyline for a seven book saga in my mind.”

With a little help from the family

Stephanie’s passion for the story was so strong that she found the courage to show her writing to her mother, who was captivated by it. She encouraged Stephanie to continue and offered to help with her grammar and spelling: “It was lovely to get support, given my difficulties with dyslexia in the past.”

By 2010 Stephanie had completed two Afterlife books and gained enough confidence to show them to a wider group of friends, who pushed her to approach publishers. Unfortunately, it was not as easy as she thought, and she collected many rejections.

It was two years later that Stephanie discovered something that would change her life. “Mum found Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) after I bought her a Kindle e-reader and she saw how many great books had been published independently. Anyone could publish their book and it was free”, Stephanie explains. “I had reached an important point in my life. While I was trying to get my books to a wider audience I had got married and was pregnant. It was time to give KDP a go before I became a mum and life got really busy.”

Pushing the button to success

“It was a nerve-wracking time”, she recalls. “Mum was helping with editing and my sister created the covers. Pressing that ‘publish’ button felt like such a big step! What would people think of something that was so precious to me?”

However, Stephanie was met by a pleasant surprise as customer ratings were high, sales started increasing, and an avid fan community started building around her books. “It is stunning to see people queuing out the door at signing events. I have readers in places like China, Australia and Sri Lanka. It’s so unexpected and I’m so grateful.”

Just the beginning

It’s been a tremendous journey and Stephanie is looking forward to the future. “I’ve published five books in the Afterlife series so far and I have just published a children’s book”, she explains, “and there are many more ideas that I’m working on. I wouldn’t change anything in my past: everything happened for a reason.”

Stephanie’s success has also had benefits at home. “I can give my daughter a more comfortable childhood now. She’s two and a half years old and writing full time from home means I can spend quality time with her while continuing to fulfil my ambitions. It’s almost too good to be true.”

HIGHLIGHTS

When telling stories is a passion, dyslexia may be a tough obstacle to overcome. After leaving school, Stephanie had put aside her dream of becoming an author.

Stephanie's mum encouraged her to try and publish her book independently through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Stephanie was genuinely surprised by the enthusiastic response of readers. Today, despite her initial difficulties, she is a successful professional author with an ever growing fan community from all over the world.

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