About Me

That's me -)

That’s me -)

Apparently an “About Me” page on an author’s website has to start like this:

S. Yates has been a successful writer since she took for the first time a pencil in her hands at the tender age of 2. Her hilarious drawings were the envy of all the other children in the kindergarten and the pride of her parents. But soon she discovered that her true calling laid in words, not pictures, and soon she became the youngest published novelist in her country.

Obviously the above is all wrong and additionally I dislike “About Me” – pages written in the third person singular, it sounds pompous in my eyes ;-) So here the true story of this mediocrely successful writer:

 My name is Sybille Yates, I assume you guessed so much from the name of this website, and I was born 20 30 40 40+ ago in Germany. The later accounts for the sometimes funny grammar and sentence structure on this website, as for the quality of writing in my books see the note in the sidebar ;-)

Before anything else, I am a ferocious reader and you can take that literally. If I could find a job where I get paid for reading, I would be as rich as {insert name of your favorite rich person here}. Yes, I also write since I don’t remember, mainly short stories as gifts for friends but I never really bothered to get anything published. Why? Not a clue really, perhaps because at that time getting your words published was not as easy as it is today. So, whilst I was always a (hobby) writer and a devourer of books, there is nothing to report really about early publishing successes. Oh, I forgot, whilst in school I wrote occasionally for our student newspaper! Does that count?

Fast forward in time. I left my native Germany towards the end of the last millennium (doesn’t that sound grand!?) to discover the world and ended up seeing more of Europe than I ever thought I would ;-) First I lived for four years in Spain, helping as a volunteer in 20+ pilgrim’s hostels on the Camino de Santiago after having walked the Camino de Santiago myself. Additionally I walked, yes on foot!, during those years two times from Spain to Italy, one time to Assisi and one time to Rome. And I am not even a Roman-Catholic!

In 2004 I moved to England and, surprise, surprise found myself in October 2005 living in a small village in Oxfordshire as the “vicar’s wife”. Work wasn’t abundant in that part of the world and so I started to look online for something that I could and wanted to do. I have always been a decent photographer so that looked like a good way to supplement our income. One thing let to the other and soon I started to dabble in web site creation and online writing. I even did some SEO and internet marketing. I will not bore you with all my adventures regarding that one ;-)

So let’s fast forward again to the day, ok the evening, when I had first the idea of taking that writing thingie more seriously. I was on a Skype chat with my online and real life friend Lis Sowerbutts that had already written and published some non-fiction travel books. We were talking about the Camino de Santiago, she wants to do it one day, and I told her of some of my experiences and stories. What she said was “You have material enough for more than one book in that!” And considering it for a while – she was right. I didn’t wanted to write yet another “Blister Memoir” but I have indeed a lot of knowledge and material to fill several non-fiction books around this topic – and an idea or two for a novel also ;-) So I thought about what to write first …

During the so-called “Pilgrim Preparation Days”, where new pilgrims meet with more experienced ones, we often answered jokingly to the question “What do I have to bring for the Camino?” “What to bring, and more importantly not to bring, could fill a whole book.” And so I did just that, I wrote a book about what to expect on the Camino de Santiago, what you need in terms of gear (and what not) and, to make it less dry and theoretical, I seasoned it with some real pilgrim’s anecdotes. And the rest is history as the saying goes …

Oh, and here the traditional end of an author’s page:

Sybille Yates lives today in Prague, together with her husband and their elderly cat Oscar. Apart of writing she enjoys reading and photography and plans to return one day forever to the Camino de Santiago! ;-)