SHE HASN’T FORGOTTEN – The girl means business

Author Carla Acheson sounds very foreign, but she was actually born in Gibraltar from Gibraltarian parents, and her maiden name is Lengui.

“Yes, I was born in Gibraltar though my parents immigrated to the UK circa the time the border was shut between Gibraltar and Spain, and they more or less returned when it was re-opened. I spent my first 15 ‘influential’ years in the South East of England. Our extended family is quite spread out over continents, Gib, the UK and even Australia. Moving to Gibraltar as a teenager had a large impact on me at the time, but once I found friendship (and later boyfriends), it became very much my home.”

Since then many things have happened in Carla’s life but the two most important ones have been her two sons, Ryan her eldest, and Connor her youngest. Last year, Carla’s family moved to Edinburgh although Ryan stayed behind in Gibraltar. Connor being only nine has settled well into a new primary school in Scotland.

“We moved to Edinburgh just before Christmas. My husband lived here when he attended university so he knew the city fairly well already. It was a good time to move because the school term finished locally and we enrolled our son to start the new school term in January. I have to say that it was a shock to land in Scotland in December and find that it was warmer at 14 degrees than in Gib at 13! To date, the climate has been unusually mild. My husband is from Ireland and he hates the sun. The poor man has had to put up with it on my behalf for 16 years, so it was time to return the favour and move to a cold country!”

Carla was interested in fiction both reading and writing at a very early age and even recalls writing fiction at around the age of twelve. She took up a series of writing courses later in life and found she had the skills to take on writing with confidence. She first published in 2012 and has not looked back!

“At first, the book drifted for a bit but then began to slowly pick up some brilliant reviews. By 2015, it hit a bestseller rank as a classic book and since 2015 my books have been selling up to five copies a day in the UK market which is a tremendous statistic for an unknown author.”

Carla has already published three novels, and her most recent one called “Girl Forgotten” is still on my to do list! I have read, reviewed and enjoyed the other two and I must say that there are real humanitarian lessons to be learnt from her stories; she has this great knack to ensure they are embedded in a fictional structure. I thoroughly enjoyed her first novel “The last gift” that became a Classic Kindle bestseller as soon as it was out! You read and feel how the author selects interesting bits of history and squeezes them into her fictional characters with great ease.  An author has to capture the reader with each word and Carla does this because in addition to writing, she fuels her daily life with new ideas, with challenges, creative thoughts she shares with others, which is how she inspires them to discover their talents and therefore go further to pursue their dreams.

Carla has also worked as a reviewer, interviewing best-selling and award-winning authors. Her articles and reviews have been featured in various online publications, as well as Waterstone’s Quarterly UK Magazine.

But the very best is yet to come: “This is a whole new ball game and one that many authors wish for. I have just signed a deal to open up the closed doors of distribution, support, and promotion within the book publishing trade. Since signing the contract, my latest book is already listed by Waterstones. These are the doors barred to authors unless prised open by a publishing contract, and I retain full copyright of my work… plus gain the exposure I could not get anywhere else. I have also made agreement to penning another book for future promotion. What happens now is that the existing books are re-published and sold as Revised or Second Editions and listed within the publisher’s catalogue.”

It is interesting to know that with Waterston’s listing first, other markets will soon follow as things promulgate. This is almost impossible to achieve without a bonafide publishing company, but that doesn’t mean that self-published authors haven’t achieved great things too…

“It’s very exciting but I’m trying not to be carried away with daydreams because it’s still hard work, and it will get tough. The work doesn’t end by just typing ‘The End,’ but I am hardworking, positive and now supported in the mainstream business. I will work hard to please my readers. There will be opportunities for store book-signing events, attending events like the Hay Festival of literature and arts, plus book trade fairs in the future. Who knows, these books or the next one I write may even interest a screen-writer or director. To have gotten this far is a rare opportunity for most authors, so I’ll take it day by day. I don’t often stop to pat myself on the back, I am very self-critical, but maybe I should at this point.”

Carla Acheson

Certainly, Carla deserves that pat on the back for getting this far, and she should be proud of it. Is this her best moment in time? “My whole career has been full of ups and downs. On reflection, I think my greatest moment was realising that the possibility of making a dream a reality was always within me. That no-one else could make it happen, nor could they stop me from doing so. It was always down to me and with God’s help and my own determination, only I could succeed or fail. Everyone has a book in them and it doesn’t matter how badly they think they will write it, just write it. That’s always the first step. I’d like to thank all my loved ones and my friends for their ongoing support in Gibraltar, Ireland and the UK. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Gibraltar to re-connect with the people I love and miss.”

From Gibraltar, we too wish our local author all the best in the literary world out there and hope that she will be invited to the next “Literary Festival” in Gibraltar, it would be lovely to hear it all directly from her in her home town.

words | Sonia Golt BEM