4th of May 2019: Kudos to the Passion of Writing

Posted on Posted in Book Talk

Kudos to the Passion of Writing

How a talented self-publisher was fondly remembered 

Yasmin Butt’s warm nature connected her with people, made even strangers open up to her. How much she meant to the ones closest to hear became apparent to me 10 days ago. At Yeading Library family, friends and fellow authors gathered to remember Yasmin and her passion for people and writing. It would have been her 46th birthday.

Only the good die young, Bill Joel used to sing. Although this generalisation might not always be true, it definitely is in regards of Yasmin Butt. From the stories her family and friends shared at her remembrance day it became apparent that she was a woman with a beautiful soul and a big heart. Sadly, I never got to meet her in person but being there at the library speaking to people who did, gave me a glimpse at her wonderful personality. 

Listening, I recognised that Yasmin and I had a lot of things in common. We share a love for writing and reading, a curiosity for new things and a certain adventurous spirit. It made me sad to think that I missed the chance to meet her because I think that we would have made good friends.

Yasmin self-published her debut novel „Gunshot Glitter“ back in 2013. Just like me, she believed that a good quality read didn’t necessarily need a publisher. She believed in self-publishing like I do and therefore it made perfect sense to me that her closest friends and family decided to honour her on her birthday with a self-publisher event. I am sure she would have loved to dish about books and writing with us and I definitely could feel her presence while we did.

The description of „Gunshot Glitter“ is so captivating and intriguing that a sum-up written by me wouldn’t have done it justice. The original description goes like this:

Your name is Celine Silver. But no one has called you that in eight years. You’re a classically trained musician and an Honours graduate. You come from a nice, middle-class family. You kill people for money. And no one knows you anymore. Fate throws the man you abandoned right back into your path – the man who knew you before you got blood on your hands, before you changed your name. And he’s demanding answers. But is there a way back to the path of normal? What price do you have to pay when you realise you no longer want to be monster? And who are the real monsters and victims anyway? And what about the incinerated boy who will never quite go away...

I am pretty sure it is not a coincidence that the title of Yasmin’s novel is connected to a song by Jeff Buckley. Because Yasmin apparently loved music and had a great music taste. 

When Soprano Singer Holly-Anna Lloyd sang two of Yasmin’s favorite songs at the event in the library Yasmin loved so much, it was very hard for me to hold back the tears. I for sure won’t be able to ever listen to Radio Gaga again, without thinking of Yasmin. „Someone still loves you“ did definitely not refer to the radio that day.

With her talent it is a real pity that Yasmin only wrote one book. At the same time it is an incredible achievement. Although there are a lot of people out there who dream of writing their own book many never do. But Yasmin had this passion and drive to do it and that already says a lot about the person she was. It is even more impressive that among all the books that are published out there every year - every day - „Gunshot Glitter“ made it on the shortlist of reader recommended novels in Books by The Guardian in 2013. 'A gritty, compelling, darkly-gleaming diamond of a read“, said Lisa Jewell, Sunday Times Best-seller, who also happened to be one of Yasmin’s favorite writers.

With Jude Hayland, M. Angel and myself, three authors of different genres spoke about their books, their writing journey and the joys and hardship of being an indie author. 

But I think that Yasmin herself described best why self-publishing is so appealing: „I chose to publish 'GUNSHOT GLITTER' myself as I wanted complete creative control over my novel", Yasmin says on her Amazon Author Profile.

She continues: " Something which is harder to achieve via traditional publishing. As a writer, originality and telling an unforgettable story mean everything to me." 

Unforgettable is the right word in many ways. She wrote an unforgettable book, was an unforgettable person and her dearest organised an unforgettable remembrance event for her. I feel honoured that I was invited to join in and be part of it.

You might wonder how I, an Austrian writer, ended up there in the first place. Well, it was a bit more than a year ago that I travelled to London to promote my debut novel „Belfast Central“ at the London Book Fair. During my time in London, I joined the open-mic night at Uxbridge Library and read from my newly launched book. Afterwards, I chatted nicely with one of the librarians and handed her a free copy. 

She clarified that she was actually part of another library in London’s borough of Hillingdon but that she would gladly take a copy. Little did I know that this lovely short encounter would eventually lead to so much more.

Being open and engaging with people got me to Yeading Library on that special day. Open and being talkative were traits in Yasmin as well.

This whole experience taught me that reaching out to people and being compassionate is never wrong. On the contrary, in this sometimes cold world we live in, it’s the only thing that’s right.

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