Congratulations to Australian writer Trish Clark! The 63 year old’s self-published book, Good Night & God Bless featuring Christian accommodation in Europe, has won the USA National Best Book Awards 2009 -Travel Guides.

Tall and attractive, the former Qantas stewardess discovered the idea of staying in monasteries and convents while backpacking in Europe. ‘I found them to be cheap, well located and preferable to an hotel, and while not especially religious myself, I like the serene atmosphere of an ecclesiastical presence,’ she told me in a café beneath St Andrews Presbyterian Cathedral, in central Sydney.

As the outside temperature topped 39c, she explained how she began writing in 2003, but on becoming depressed by a negative response from editors, she read everything she could on publishing and marketing, before plunging into DIY.

Printed in Hong Kong in the format of a bible, Good Night & God Bless features spiritual places to stay in Austria, Italy and the Czech. Republic. ‘I personally visited 100 and a further 200 recommendation were supplied by others interested in the project,’ she said.

Volume I which was picked up by Dymocks (the Australian equivalent of Borders) has sold out. Volume 2,covering the UK, France and Ireland, will be published by US based Paulist Press in February 2010. And Trish, a mother of five, is planning a third volume on Spain.

‘I hope to make the Santiago pilgrimage and can’t wait to be on a strange road, on my own, with nothing around me, but the horizon.’

However she has taken her children on trips abroad.

‘Wanting to take the two eldest somewhere really special while they were still young, I chose St. Etienne-le-Laus whose 16th century Benedictine monastery is built 900 metres up on a peak in the French alps.’

‘Legend says it used to be so tough to reach, that the Pope declared whoever made it to the top would be guaranteed eternal life.’

Trish Clark’s advice to any author considering the self publishing route is to read the Amazon book on self-publishing, to get an eye-catching cover, a really good website, a competent marketing agent and just go for it!

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About Travels with My Hat

Australian photojournalist and author. Used London as a base for nearly forty years while freelancing in the Middle East, Arabian peninsular, Africa and South Asia. Have written and illustrated more than a dozen books and travel guides. Operates a well regarded religious images stock photo library: Live in Leura in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.
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  1. Mimi Forsyth says:

    Clever woman! Monasteries far more interesting architecturally than Hiltons! She's bested Elderhostel.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have heard that the Santiago walk is now as busy as a supermarket queue and one must leave before dawn to ensure a bed at the next rest stop. It's too bad that as soon as a place is publicised in the media and film as 'unspoiled' it is the ruination of it. Jules

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