I've invited Elizabeth to pen a piece that I'm really proud to present here this week. I hope you enjoy it.
I always knew I had a unique take on life, but I only found out two years ago, at the age of 18, that I had Aspergers Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder). People have never made sense to me. In fact, I've made a habit of avoiding contact with them as much as possible. On the other hand, I love animals; and what’s more, they love me. We understand each other on an almost telepathic level. This affinty with animals lead me into volunteering; first with horses, then dogs, and finally cats.
I've loved working with animals. It was the people that were the problem. We just didn't understand each other and at that time I didn't know about my Aspergers. My mum tried to give me some coping strategies, but I still kept getting confused and in the end I got so depressed and anxious that I couldn't keep it up.
Elizabeth Jade, author (image credit EJ).
After years of struggling, my mum insisted that I see someone about my anxiety and depression. I have to say that my experience with CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) was not at all pleasant, but it was here that the possibility of Aspergers was first explored. Cats Protection then opened a re-homing centre on the edge of town and my mum spoke to them about my talents and difficulties. As it turned out, the staff understood exactly where I was coming from and they were certain that volunteering would be beneficial for me as well as the cats. They quickly dubbed me the Cat Whisperer and I gained a great deal of satisfaction from seeing pussy personalities changing, even though I mentally struggled to go in as often as I would like.
Another outlet for my depression and anxiety has been in writing stories; animal stories naturally. The stories come pre-written in my head and fight at all hours of the night to make their way onto paper. In an attempt to boost my self-confidence, my mum decided to prove how good my stories were by finding me a publisher for my book ‘Akea’- not an easy task.
Akea - The Power Of Destiny.
Akea is a Siberian husky who was born into a family of sled dogs and a life which should have followed a predictable path, but from the day she first saw the wolf Kazakh, Akea knew her future lay beyond the safety of her home. She soon leaves her family and with the help of Kazakh and the wolf pack, she finds her inner wolf, but unexpectedly the pack turns on her, casting her out to fend for herself. After spending some time in an animal shelter where she learns the fate of her first family, she is sent to live with a new one, but when Kazakh finds her again, she willingly abandons them too and follows him. Kazakh is well aware of the reason for the wolf packs animosity, but Akea’s destiny is clear and he must make sure she is in the right place at the right time, even if it costs him his life.
My brain then went on to write book 2 and parts of books 3, 5 and 6. It seems I have as much control over what order I write in as when I write it, which isn't much, but as this was obviously planning to be a series, I added ‘The Power of Destiny’ to the first title to help me keep track of things. Cats Protection was good enough to let me have my book launch at the Re-homing Centre last summer. It was this familiar setting that enabled me to actually attend and 25% of sales on the day were donated to Cats Protection as a thank you.
Marketing is a challenge for any author, but for me it’s virtually impossible. I can’t handle any of the personal appearance methods; to be honest, I’m not up to any marketing and again it’s something my mum plays a big part in. Through our social media connections we have come across some great advice and some equally great people. We have been given the opportunity to include Akea Book 1 in a new magazine for parents and we hope this will lead to some more sales, helped to set up a newsletter and shown how to approach newspapers in a way that is more likely to get you accepted.
I still have more bad days than not so bad ones and my self-confidence is still pretty low, but I am immensely grateful to all those who continue to support me in doing the things I love most.
Purchase Akea - The Power Of Destiny here.
Visit Elizabeth Jade here.
Tweet with Elizabeth Jade here.