FROM looking her best to Amuzing Grace and from just imagining to The Guinness Book of World Records, former Clare Champion reporter Tara King is finding November a very busy month.
The 23-year-old launched her first book on Wednesday and will follow this with the launches of two further books over the following two weeks.
Having gone straight from school into a career in journalism, Tara worked as a journalist with The Clare Champion for four years, leaving in July to pursue her dream of becoming an author.
Look Your Best is the first of three books completed by the Galway woman since then. Covering fashion, beauty, hair care and numerous tips and tricks, the book is endorsed by TV3’s Xposé and was launched by show presenter and Irish model Glenda Gilson this week.
“The Look Your Best – beauty, fashion and tips book actually came about by accident. Earlier this year, I was chatting with my publisher John O’Connor of Blackwater Press over a cup of tea in the lobby of the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick when he asked me if there were any other areas I would like to write a book about.
“You see at the time I was writing Brendan Grace’s autobiography, Amuzing Grace, and Michael O’Doherty’s book on bio energy healing, Just Imagine – a life without illness, (both coming out later this month). I will also be releasing a crime book next year, so with those areas already covered, I mentioned that I would like to bring out a sports-related book and a beauty and fashion book,” the Abbeyknockmoy woman recalled.
At the time, Tara was writing the fashion and beauty page in The Clare Champion.
“I began telling my publisher about the nature of the page and how I believed women would love a book that was full of interesting, unusual and effective tips that would save them from having to buy products. By the end of our chat, we were planning the marketing of the book and it just took off from there,” she added.
Tara had always worn her interest in fashion on her sleeve and Look Your Best proved to be the natural progression of one of her related hobbies.
“For the past few years I have been collecting tips, not with a view to writing a book, just out of enjoyment. These were tips that I found worked for me and my friends and so I put them in a scrapbook. Some were old wives tales, others were tips that I liked, while others I heard of and developed further myself.
“Basically, if it caught my eye, it found its place in the scrapbook. I always knew that some day I would bring out a beauty book, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon,” Tara stated.
Her style influences are very much international, counting among them Dutch model Sylvie Van Der Vaart, French newsreader Melissa Theuriau and Queen Rania of Jordan.
“Eason’s have a stand that’s full of style and social magazines from different countries and whenever I go in there, I always head straight over to it. Even if the magazines are in a different language, I will still buy them because I love finding out the latest styles in different countries and who it is that’s wearing them. As a result of that, I have a broad range of style icons.
“There are so many women out there who possess the most amazing style and yet even though they are famous in their own country, we don’t know of them here. In terms of Irish style, I have to say my icons would be the models Vivienne Connolly Dunne, Glenda Gilson, Ruth Griffin and Aoife Cogan,” she explained.
The book is divided into four sections: hair; make-up and skin care; fashion; and solutions.
“One of my favourite elements of the book is that it is full of quick, inexpensive tip and tricks. The tips are also very interesting and unusual and there are so many solutions to a variety of different beauty problems and all without the expense.
“It is full of tricks that women can use in relation to make-up, skin care and hair care. It also has a very unusual fashion and solutions section that I think will catch the attention of those who read the book,” Tara claimed.
From getting rid of static in clothes to showing how to make a retro bowl to hold jewellery using only an old vinyl record and some boiling water, the book has it all.
It shows how to turn a photo frame into a feature for a dressing table, which can be used to store earrings and bracelets, and it has features on how to customise shoes and T-shirts.
“I want women to realise that instead of spending a lot of money on a product, there are a variety of other ways to achieve the same results but without the expense. The way I see it, why spend €30 when you can get the same results for €3?” the young author stated.
“Given the year that’s in it, I think women will appreciate the tips, tricks and solutions in LYB. So many people don’t have the funds anymore to spend on products, so this book reveals all the tips and tricks to show them how to get the same results but without the expense,” she continued.
“The book will appeal to women of all ages, women who are sick of paying out big money for products and finding them ineffective.
“Look Your Best not only shows you several inexpensive solutions you can try instead of buying the product, it also shows you how to make the most of products you have bought. For example, there are several tricks you can use to make your mascara or lipstick or foundation work so much better,” she added.
Comedian Brendan Grace’s autobiography, Amuzing Grace hits the shelves next week, while a book by Doonbeg-man Michael O’Doherty, Just Imagine – a life without illness, comes out on November 23. Both were ghostwritten by Tara.
“I was working on three books at the one time and as all three were very different subjects, they each brought their own individual factors to the process. For example, after spending hours writing a biography, the beauty book was a welcome break and vice versa,” she recalled.
One biography Tara would love to tackle is that of a particularly famous German man.
“There are a number of Irish personalities both in sport, entertainment and otherwise whose lives I would love to encapsulate in a book.
“However, outside of Ireland, I have to say I would give anything to write the autobiography of the grand prix driver, Michael Schumacher,” she disclosed.
As well as writing books, the talented Galway author could herself feature in a worldwide bestseller next year because of her unusual feat.
“My publisher is making enquiries with the Guinness Book of World Records to see if it’s a record that a first-time author has three books out at once,” she claimed.
In the coming months, the ambitious young writer plans to hold Look Your Best workshops through the country and is hopeful that this is the first in an LYB series.
Plans are afoot to launch the book internationally in the New Year and she expects to have a crime book on the shelves by this time in 2010.
“I also have two novels in my head, a comedy and a thriller that I want to transfer on to paper and I also have a comedy screenplay that I want to start working on,” she revealed, adding, “I have postponed sleeping time until 2011”.