**Q&A** Nicola Bourne "A Fabulous Woman's Guide Through Cancer"

The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer
Nicola Bourne

The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer is a down to earth, friendly and informal book for any woman who is being affected by cancer. It is not about the medical details, the statistics and the science behind the illness, but about how having cancer will affect your life.
  • ·       How do you explain cancer to a toddler?
  • ·       What do you need for a hospital visit?
  • ·       How do you survive a social event when you have just finished a round of chemo?
  • ·       How do you find out about financial and legal support?
  • ·       What can you do to stay sociable when you’re not feeling up to a big night out with the girls?

The Fabulous Woman's Guide Through Cancer gives real advice from real women who have had real cancer.

Written with compassion, sensitivity and warmth this book is full of clearly presented information, tips, check lists and advice making it an invaluable companion to refer to again and again throughout the time it is needed.

It is my great pleasure to welcome Nicola to my blog today. 

Nicola wrote the first edition of this book in 2015 and since it's publication she has received a lot of positive feedback about how valuable women are finding it. Amongst the feedback, there were also a lot of requests for more information, more detail and more advice with certain aspects of the topics discussed. Nicola decided to respond to this by updating the book - little did she know how much more she actually had to say! 

This new second edition is almost double in length than it's original. It retains the essence of the first edition but the layout is much improved making it easier to locate specific sections. The text is neatly broken down into bite size chunks, boxes, italics and bullet points. There are some new chapters and there is more practical information included as well. 

Nicola's style strikes a great balance between the chatty, informal, supportive voice of a friend as well as being clear, practical and pragmatic. It is an invaluable companion for any woman going through cancer and for any friend looking to support the fabulous woman in their life. 

So thank you Nicola for appearing on my blog and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

What gave you the idea for writing a guide through cancer for fabulous women?
When I was diagnosed with cancer I looked for a book, a source for all the information I needed, but couldn’t find one that answered the questions I had. I found cancer books were either very medical, or memoirs. I was only thirty-one when I was diagnosed and I had a two-year old and a three-month old baby. My concerns were how do I explain cancer to my children? What should I pack for hospital? How can I stay social when I can’t go out? How will I cope with the bodily changes I am about to experience? I wanted real advice from real women who have really had cancer.  As my journey continued I met other women with cancer who had also found a lack of this sort of information. That is when I knew that as a writer, I had to write this book, for all the fabulous women with cancer.  To give a first-hand viewpoint, with a deep understanding and personal experience of what they are going through.  Plus, I have a genuine passion for helping other women who are affected by this awful illness.

What is the one thing you would like fabulous women to get out of your book?
As well as all the practical tips, I think it is for women to know that they are not alone, that there are other women who have been through this and who may be able to help in some way.

What was the most fabulous thing about writing this guide? Or the most fabulous thing that has come out of the experience?
So many fabulous experiences have come out of writing this book.   The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer was a labour of love and nothing compares to the getting wonderful, heartfelt messages from ladies who have been touched or helped in some way from reading it.  It wasn't always easy writing a book about one of the worst experiences I’ve had to encounter. I remember when writing about the emotional side of cancer and reliving the moments when I was so low I wanted to give up, that I came away from my computer crying.  However, knowing that I have been able to use my love of writing and turn something so negative into something positive that can helps others, is quite simply amazing.

In your book, you mention a few resolutions you made about things you wanted to achieve once you had survived cancer. Have you been able to make those changes? What has been the most fabulous thing about making these changes? 
Yes!  I have said before it's a shame that it took having cancer to put my life so harshly into perspective but it really did.  When I didn't know if I was going to survive or not, I wished I had gone to university to read English Literature and Creative Writing. I wished I had had the courage to try and publish some of my writing and I wished I had travelled more.  So, once I got the 'all clear' I knew exactly what I was going to do and set about making those things happen.  I'm currently in my final year of university and about to have the 2nd edition of my book published - as well as having had several articles and pieces of short fiction and plays also published- so far, it's all going to plan!

In your book you talk about an Anti-Bucket list. What has been the most fabulous thing you have done on this list and what is the next thing you are looking forward to doing from that list?
I love my Anti-Bucket List!  It's an 'Anti-Bucket List' because Bucket Lists are something you complete before you die -I am completing this list because I am alive!  
The most fabulous thing was probably going to Marrakesh with my husband.  It was my first trip with a colostomy bag and I was so nervous, so that felt like a particularly large milestone.  Next, I would like to take my children to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in the West End.

What do you think makes a fabulous woman? What do you think are fabulous qualities in a woman?
Self-belief I suppose.  It is SO easy for everyone to let fear stop them from doing something they want to do or achieve, I think fabulous women go out there and do it anyway.

In your opinion, can you tell me who you consider to be a fabulous woman? 
I think Emma Watson is completely fabulous.  The way she keeps feminism at the forefront with HeForShe and her feminist book club Our Shared Shelf is inspiring.  
Another fabulous lady that I was lucky to meet earlier this year is Jaime Thurston, founder of the amazing charity 52 Lives.  Every week, 52 Lives posts a story about someone in need of help via their website and social media. People then offer anything they can that will support this person.  Jaime has now also set up Project Kindness which goes in to schools teaching children about how small acts of kindness can literally change lives.  Jaime is definitely one fabulous woman.  
I'm really lucky because I feel like I know so many fabulous women!  My mum, grandmothers and sister are without a doubt the most fabulous women I've met, but I would definitely say many of my friends are too.  

What’s next for your fabulous self?
Sleep!  :)  As I said I am in my final year of university and after that you will hopefully be seeing a lot more fiction work from me.  I am due to have another short play performed in 2017 and the plan is to have my first fiction novel published in late 2017 / early 2018.  Watch this space!

If it’s possible, can you finish by sharing your one top tip for fabulous women who maybe fighting cancer? 
To anyone who had or has cancer I just want to say… 
You are so strong. Especially on the days that you don’t think you are, the days when you want to give up. Those are the days when you are actually the strongest, because you keep going.  
You are going to do things you only dreamt of before.  You are going to be even more amazing because at one point you were stripped of everything and (if not now, in time) you will rebuild.  
Give yourself time and be kind to yourself, let the magic of life unfold.

Thanks so much Nicola for a fabulous interview! The book is a fantastic achievement and even though we all wish no one ever had to have the need for such a book, I hope it is able to offer real support the women who need it. I wish you well in your career with fiction writing and look forward to having you back on the blog to talk about your novel in 2017!

I'm just going to finish with one of my favourite reviews of the book from Amanda Innes who posted this on Amazon in 2015. It captures the book so well. 

I can't recommend this book highly enough! Bourne openly describes her own heroic battle with cancer and offers an abundance of tips and suggestions for women facing similar battles. She also gives guidance for those supporting friends or loved ones who have received a diagnosis of cancer with top tips on what to say or not to say, and suggestions on how to help. Reading this book is like sitting down for a cup of tea with the author; her tone is incredibly friendly, supportive, and ultimately fabulous!

About the Author:
Nicola was diagnosed with an advanced colorectal cancer in 2012. After being told she may not survive, Nicola has been 'all clear' since 2014.

Nicola writes for many publications on the topics of Women's Health, Cancer, Living with a Colostomy and Parenthood.

She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and two children.

To connect with Nicola you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or via her website:
www.nicolabourne.com          @njbrn           @nicolabournewrites

For more recommendations and reviews from me, you can follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk) 


  1. Gosh, Nicola,I recognise so much of what you're saying there. Great interview and I wish you all the success with the updated Fabulous Women, with finishing your course and of course, the Anti-bucket list - love it! I always say that a bucket list is a great idea but find it sad that it can take cancer or another 'jolt' in life to encourage people to set one up. Do it now, folks! It doesn't have to be world wide cruises either, love that you're taking your children to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory one day :) All the best to you x


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