Lockdown Fiction is a blog series, curated specially for our States 2021 festival. We’ve asked 4 authors to reflect on the experience of bringing out a book with an indie press in the middle of a pandemic.

We open with Laura Besley, whose debut flash collection, The Almost Mothers, was published by Dahlia Books just days before the first UK lockdown in March 2020.

Q: what was the inspiration for your latest book?

I wrote most of the pieces in my flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, in 2018 as part of FlashNano (write a piece of flash fiction for each day of November). I quickly realised that most of the pieces I was writing were about motherhood and after the month of writing ended, I polished up the ones I liked, added in a few older pieces, and put a themed collection together.

Credit: Dahlia Books

Buoyed by a longlisting for a competition in 2019, I sent it to Dahlia Books in response to a call for submissions on Twitter. A contract was signed, copious edits were made and The Almost Mothers was published in March 2020.

Q: what was the best thing about being published by an indie press?

The best thing by far is the personal contact you have with the editor and publisher (who is often the same person) and how much you are involved in the steps to publication.

Q: how did they – and you – face the challenge of publishing a book during lockdown?

The Almost Mothers was published right at the beginning of lockdown and unfortunately all my launch events were cancelled. I feel that the online community of writers and publishers, particularly small presses and independent bookshops, really rallied during lockdown and I was fortunate to be a part of that. Through book blogs, reviews, interviews and word of mouth, my collection was very well received and I’m hugely grateful for that.

Six months after its release, Dahlia Books organised an online event with myself, Laura Pearson and Lauren Hayhurst and recently we had an online anniversary celebration with Saima Mir and Nikki Dudley. At both events we talked about Writing and Motherhood, and how to find a balance between the two.  

The Almost Mothers can be bought direct from Dahlia Books, for £7.00, via their online store: The Almost Mothers – Dahlia Books (kong365.com)

Our next Lockdown Fiction Blog will feature indie author, Jon Wilkins, and be published on 14th April 2021.

Don’t miss our related festival blog in which editor Farhana Shaikh reflects on Ten Years of Indie Publishing with Dahlia Books. This will be released on the day States 2021 goes live: Sat. 24th April. Book your FREE festival tickets here.