[#ALLIA  #writing] Maybe it’s because I’m Irish but every book I’ve ever written has had a lot to say about freedom — even my very first publication, a nonfiction book with a small feminist press in Dublin (Attic, now part of Cork University Press), called BodyMatters For Women.

That was a health and exercise book – the day job then was fitness instructor – but the most important chapters, for me, were those dealing with ways to break free of our society’s messed-up messages about women’s bodies.

From there to the book I’m working on now – a novel about a mother and daughter who can’t break out of each other’s emotional clutches – I’ve been fascinated by freedom, especially its psychological dimensions.

That’s why I’m so excited by the opportunities inherent in self-publishing. To be able to bring more freedom into how we write and reach readers seems to me as wonderful a thing as writing about the theme.

This is launch week for the Alliance of Independent Authors. The question I’m most often asked these days is: Why did I start this organisation?

In a word: Freedom.

In the history of human communication there are a few key moments. One was the move from bard to scribe, when storytellers started writing stuff down. Another was the invention of the printing press, and the advances at Gutenberg that allowed books to be cheaply made and distributed. Another was the move from silent movies to ‘talkies’

I believe we’re now living through a cultural change of similar order.

And when I’m asked by my grandchildren (if I’m ever given any, but that’s another story!) where I was when this important shift was going on, I want to be able to say: in the heart of it, stretching my own creative boundaries and helping other writers recognise and relish our new creative freedom.

TOMORROW: The four fabulous authors who will be interviewed at the launch – Dan HollowayLinda Gillard, John Logan and Joni Rodgers and tomorrow write about ‘How I Went Indie and Why’.

FRIDAY: Those authors, and Alliance Advisors, offer their Top Three Tips For Self-Publishing Writers.