We all know that, at times, life can deal you a tough one. We’ve seen it in our own lives, our friends’ lives and through the great women we talk to in our #GirlBoss and #WomenWorldwide series. What do you do to rebuild when you are dealt the ultimate tough one? Well, if you are Billie Bacall, you capture the images you draw in healing and self-publish in the form of a book entitled I am your friend with the aim of helping others to elevate their spirits in such moments. You also donate 20% of the profits to cancer charity, Future Dreams. Because you are badass like that.
HOC: Great to meet you, Billie. Can you tell us about your journey in a nutshell?
Billie: Of course. Within the space of just 24 months, I was hit with the sudden death of my husband, underwent major surgery and embarked on a course of chemotherapy. Having plummeted to rock bottom, I found solace in drawing and filling up sketch books with original drawings and quotes.
In fact, it was during in between chemotherapy sessions that I first started to jot down fleeting images to help lift my mood. Recollections, an inspiring thought here, a word there, a feeling – I translated all of these things on to paper in the form of drawings. Soon, the idea of creating a collection to help and inspire others who found themselves in similar scenarios started to emerge.
Over the next two years, I devoted my time and energy to creating I Am Your Friend – a book which consists of 100 pages, designed to act as a source of inspiration for those moments in need we all experience.
HOC: Just incredible. How on earth do you self-publish a book, we’d love to know?
Billie: It’s not complicated but a long process and one that takes a huge amount of time and energy to get things right. However, I had a strong artistic vision so it wasn’t difficult for me.
More than anything I chose go down this route as I was advised that even if a publisher wants to publish you, it can take around 12 months and I didn’t want to wait that long as the time is now! I’ve had amazing responses to the book so I know I’ve done the right thing.
HOC:Tell us about I am your friend, when did you know this was something you wanted to share with the world?
Billie: When I first started to think about developing a book, my aim was for it to speak to the reader and act as a comfort and a ‘friend’ in times of need. I wanted to make sure there was a real tangible energy and quality about it – a bit like a go-to in times of hardship. I realised quite quickly after starting my first draft that I wanted to help others who felt down and out and share my book with the world as soon as possible.
Each drawing makes use of just 3 simple colours; black, yellow and red, with yellow representing positivity and red representing the heart energy. My aim was to create something that speaks directly and instantly to the reader, and that’s what I’ve done with this book as they simply need to pick it up, flick through and feel inspired. It’s really aligned with the types of images that we see on the likes of Instagram these days.
HOC: You have gone through a lot in recent years, what advice do you have for someone going through similar experiences?
Billie: I would say, never give up. Seek inspiration and comfort in the small things and keep a positive mindset.
Keep things simple and always be kind to yourself. Ask yourself what is the kindest thing I can do for myself today? And get a lot of sleep, during hard times, early nights are the best!
HOC: Your book sales go towards a cancer charity, Future Dreams, can you tell us more about their work?
Billie: Yes, the charity is Future Dreams. I am donating 20% of the overall profits from my book to Future Dreams House – the new London home to Breast Cancer Haven. The centre provides free one to one emotional and physical support and therapies of women affected by cancer, and their families.
Holistic care is vitally important to support someone going through this process – it can make all the difference to state of mind and sense of wellbeing which in due course will aid emotional and physical recovery.
Look for Billie’s book ‘I Am Your Friend’ on Amazon.co.uk