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Author Spotlight: Meet Award-Winning Author Kate Fisher

1. What inspires you?

I am inspired by the courage of others, particularly those who face challenges and adversity and continue to engage with the world with strength and kindness. I learn so much from other change makers and storytellers who use their platforms to share creative solutions to social problems. This can range from people sharing their stories to creating fictionalised versions of stories in the hope of changing behaviours. Through Milkshakes for Marleigh I have created a space for people to tell their stories to thank the blood donors responsible for these extraordinary Australian tales of survival. I hope to encourage new blood donors to address the persistent critical blood shortages in Australia and around the world.

2. If you could be anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I would happily be anywhere in the world as long as I am surrounded by my family! My ideal weekend would be sitting around a fire under the stars on a cold night, sharing great food and drinks with my husband, Mum, siblings and their partners to the background noise of our children playing happily together, immersed in the joy and hilarity of cousin time. Merimbula, New South Wakes will always hold a special place in my heart and watching the sunset over the water will always bring a special feeling of connection.

3. How did your writing process go?

Much of the book is based on interviews I conducted for The Milkshakes for Marleigh Podcast and

creating the written form of these stories was such a different process to how I host and produce the podcast. My biggest challenge was honouring the stories that people had shared with me without making them too medical! The focus of telling these stories has always been to celebrate the incredible things that blood recipients go on to do with their lives and their survival. My background in developing public health policy earlier in my career served me well to understand and interpret medical information but make it palatable for the reader. The hardest stories for me to write were the ones that I identified the most with - parents who feared their child may die and those who didn't get to take their children home.

4. Do you have any strange writing habits?

I am absolutely a night owl! So much of The Milkshakes for Marleigh book was written in the early hours of the morning, on a couch next to a fire (that is was often not really cold enough to light, I just like the ambience!). As I have been so lucky to have been trusted with so many precious stories for The Milkshakes for Marleigh Podcast and book Ive really needed to immerse myself in the retelling of some of the most traumatic and vulnerable moments of peoples lives. Its been such an honour to hold that space and then celebrate these extraordinary tales of survival. To write these stories with such details and intimacy meant that I needed a content home free from chaos and then only time that happens in our home is between midnight and dawn!

5. What is your favourite quote?

Our journey to becoming parents was a very challenging one and our first son being born prematurely meant his arrival into the world was far from drama free. My mantra was "birthing with love and not fear" - I knew there would be so much that I had no control over but I was so determined to do it with so much love. This has served me so well as a mother at the helm of a family with various physical and neurodevelopment disabilities alongside complex medical conditions. Ive applied this to so many hours spent in Paediatric Intensive Care with Marleigh in life threatening situations and I did my best to do it all "with love and not fear". While Marleigh is currently in remission from Autoimmune Encephalitis she may relapse and her life may be threatened again. Rather than restricting all her activities we encourage our whole family to live our lives "with love and not fear". That means not taking anything for granted, embracing opportunities and not assuming that we will all have more time together.

6. Is this your only book or are you working on more?

You an also find my work in the Women Making a Difference and Hear Us Roar compilations to be published in 2024.

7. What literary character is most like you?

When I was falling in love with my husband I was reading The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons so Tatiana will always have a special place in my heart! I grew up with Tomorrow When the War Began and the masterful storytelling of John Marsden. I can only wish for the courage and tenacity of Ellie.

8. What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing a book like this has been my fight to stay true to my mission of ending persistent critical blood shortages and honouring each story in the way that it was stared with me. KMD Book was the perfect home for this book because there was no pressure to sensationalise the stories for commercial viability. My publisher Karen really understood my vision to publish this book with integrity and to let the stories do the talking.

9. What got left out of the final draft?

My early versions shared more personal details of my experience of Marleigh's diagnosis with a life threatening condition and more about het near death experiences. While this is very important to her story and needed to be recorded, it didn't really fit with the uplifting vibe of the the mood I've created with the book. Also, the hardest park was leaving any stories out because they are all phenomenal, but I also didn't just want to retell stories that have been previously oversaturated in the media or just do a summary of my podcast interviews. There is so much in the book that has never been released through the podcast and the "snapshots" section of the book helps to include more stories of recipients and their gratitude for Australian blood donors.

10. If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be?

YOU WILL BE AN AUTHOR!!! From as early as I remember I have always been absolutely enchanted by books and always dreamed of writing my own book!

11.What are your social media links?


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