I’m sure every writer’s journey is different, much dependent on lifestyle, circumstances, experiences and so forth. For me, I can only say that yes, I’ve always loved writing /reading stories but it wasn’t until what happened to my daughter, Samantha, that I seriously put pen to paper, not even knowing if it could be published.
My daughter was born with transposition of the main arteries (crossed the wrong way to the heart), a block value and other issues regarding the heart. She had a temporary surgery to keep her as healthy as possible, a few days old, then at eight months, Samantha has major heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London. The surgery was a success and she continued to live a happy and healthy life, although, she did have to take heart medicine. Everything was going well until her heart stopped and she died for the first time when she was two and a half.
This was in the Eighties and the medical profession has come a long way since then, but in those days, there were no specialist paramedics but only ‘ambulance people’ who had reasonable skills but nothing like these days – the equipment was far more basic, too. The consequence was that Samantha was revived but too late by doctors, so all that was left was an empty shell; who she’d been had vanished.
Samantha existed in this state for seventeen years until she died for a second and final time.
You wonder what this had to do with my writing journey?
What happened to Samantha affected me so badly that even now, decades later, I am still broken, despite living a life as best as I can. One question haunted me during those waiting years – ‘Where had my daughter gone?’ Yes, her struggling body was there, but she didn’t know me, was completely helpless and suffering every day. Her mind, though, her joyful, beautiful personality had been wiped clean – so what happened to it?
The result was my book, Gone, a fantasy which attempted to answer that question. It, of course, had to be a fantasy because how else could these matters be addressed?
It was not an easy story to write, but I was pleased with the results. Gone was written while Samantha was still ‘alive’ and I’m not sure if it helped me or not, but I knew it had to be put down in words in the hope to find ‘hope’. But there wasn’t any hope as nothing could be changed. As a lover of fantasy, I do admit that I enjoyed the worlds I’d created and think, with amazement, how wonderful it would be if it were true. A place where minds go while waiting for bodies to die and then to move onto somewhere ‘else’?
Slings & Arrows, however, was written after Samantha died the second and final time, seventeen years after her first death. This book is a non-fictional account of those terrible years.
The Avalon Trilogy was actually brought to life from Gone – I couldn’t let go of those worlds and knew how much fun it would be to turn it into a fantasy adventure for a younger readership. The story became so large that I had to divide it into three parts – The Star Realm, Invasion and Secrets Of The Ice.
I know that I have no actual experience of fantasy worlds, but my imagination can reach into ideas that even surprise me and yet they are rooted in experiences; either personal or something I’ve read, for example.
Knowing Jack was sparked by son’s incredible intuition, yielding a mystery adventure for twelve-year-olds (ish). I think all my stories would be appreciated by most age groups, if they are open to phenomenon and imagination. I love to provoke thinking – ‘Could that happen, do you think it did?’
I love to read, an essential part of writing, I believe. Fantasy is an expansive subject and can be fun to read and write. For things like crime thrillers, I do have to check some facts and I am fascinated by why humans do what they do; the psychology is captivating.
The mind, especially after what happened to Samantha, is of particular interest to me; memory, character, personality, motives and so forth. I wrote Lost Shadows because of this fascination. There are numerous reasons for the mind to be damaged and memory is key to who we are, in my opinion, therefore, if it was lost…
This writing journey has been decades long, however, since my husband died (two years ago but feels like today), I’ve been unable to control the overwhelming feeling that now comes if I try to bring a story to life. The ideas are still there, only when I sit at the PC, the words tumble and swish in time with grief and I have to stop. Anguish over Samantha and her torturous life has never left me and now with Trevor gone (that’s a long story in itself. We met again after thirty-seven years and were together for only eleven), life is a painful voyage without relief. I did write a fantasy romance about us before he died and he enjoyed reading it – it’s called Changing Angels. I’m so glad he read it.
I’m not sure how my writing journey will end. I’d love to be able to sell my books, too, ha! I did manage a story called Soul Light earlier in the year, which is a mix of poems and stories that are related, where characters live in an unusual town. I’ve been asked to be part of an anthology based on a particular topic inspired by photographs, and I hope I can do it. I’ve noted some ideas and even started a couple of stories but… Who knows what life will bring; I can only wait and see.
I cannot ignore my dreams, so many of them, with names and places and ideas that spark my imagination and compel me to write; to create stories, whether fantasy or horror, or mystery or psychological thriller or murder or even humour and adventure. So, my garden is sown, flourishing, with all manner of growth, and still the dreams come.
Julie Elizabeth Powell, my soul lingering within my imagination; maybe you’ll join me?
Amazon USA page:
Amazon UK page:
Website: - http://julizpow.wix.com/julieelizabethpowell