The Book Whisperers is a community of people that helps writers of all kinds to self-publish their work. We have partnered with them on several occasions to help people with assisted memoir writing or to help publish books of poetry or children’s books. We spoke to Mary Turner Thomson, one of the group’s founders and Managing Director of the social enterprise.
What gave you the idea to create The Book Whisperers?
In March 2020, when we knew we were going into lockdown, I sat down with a couple of my author friends and discussed what we could do to help our community. We figured – as authors and publishers – the thing we really could do was to help people spend the time in lockdown writing that book they had always thought of doing. So we created a website, and a free Facebook group, alongside three basic six-week courses in writing.
We put out a call to our friends saying, “If you want to write a book, now might be the time to do that, come and join us to learn how!” We thought about twenty people would join us. Within a week we had about one thousand members.
What services do you provide? How does it work?
We provide whatever the client needs to get going – whether that is brainstorming ideas, writing coaching, ghost writing, editing, layout/design, or publishing support. So it all depends on what the client needs.
So is it mostly for experienced writers?
Not at all. It’s for everyone, at any point in the journey.
How did you and Future Pathways find each other?
Future Pathways heard about what we were doing, so they came to us and said, “We’re working with someone who wants to write his life story.”
My colleague Lea Taylor – Creative Director of The Book Whisperers – worked with him. She would interview him, then write up the note, using his voice and turn of phrase to ensure authenticity. She’d then show him the notes and they’d work on them together. By the end of the process he had a completed biography in his hands.
He said: “Her way of thinking, putting words on a page, forming a sentence – helping me to express myself on all aspects of my life. I never expected this amount of help. To this day I thank my ghostwriter helper and would highly recommend anyone taking one on. Seeing the finished product in print was unbelievable. I had started a project and finished it. When I got my book, I sat down and read it. It made me cry and made me happy and it made me laugh. The combination of all these aspects of a man’s life, everything looked as if my life, all the pieces, slipped into place and at the end of these weary days I’m a very happy chappy.”
Picture above: Lea Taylor (left) and Mary Turner Thomson (right), Directors of the Book Whisperers
Have you worked with many Future Pathways people since then?
Yes, we have been very lucky to work with quite a few. Every story is different. Even if the client wants a private book for their family and friends (rather than published book for the general public) it is still a very good process to go through.
Do you think that even just the process of writing can be therapeutic?
Absolutely, in lots of ways. Writing helps with communication, self-esteem, self-confidence, concentration, life expectancy, all sorts of things. The benefits – of writing and reading – are absolutely massive, not just for mental health but physical health as well. As you can tell, I’m quite passionate about the subject!
Finally, what are your future plans for The Book Whisperers?
We want to build up the platform, and get a lot of people onto it. By doing that we will be able to source new authors who can work with us. So when people come to us and want to write any particular kind of book, we’ll have an author who specialises in that.
We also want to do writing courses for existing authors and writers, and we’re thinking about doing writing retreats. So we’ve got great plans.
Honestly, it’s my dream job. If I won the lottery, I would still carry on doing this. When you’re doing a job that you love so much you wouldn’t stop even if you become a millionaire, that’s when you know you’re doing the right thing with your life.