My favourite childhood movie was The Neverending Story. The idea of reading a book and then finding yourself a part of the story was intriguing to me even when I was young. It was an escape that I would have welcomed back then. My parents’ tumultuous relationship and the constant upheaval of moving two to three times a year, every year, to a new city, starting at new schools mid-year, trying to find a place to fit in amongst an ever-changing sea of faces was tiresome and stressful. I was always the new kid. Always ignored, often bullied. I turned to books and writing at a very young age to deal with it.
I both liked to read and to create stories where I was in control (Choose Your Own Adventure books were my favourites). I created people who loved me, cared for my happiness. I created places where I belonged.
I preferred living in my own fiction. It might not have been the best way to cope – creating and living in day dreams – but it got me through many hard times (and honestly, it saved me from myself as a teen, it prevented me from harming myself, when the times only got tougher).
Now, as an adult, I have for the most part created a real world of my own with a spouse and children I love and who love me and I finally feel very much like I have somewhere to belong. As a result of spending most of my time working on my real life, writing inadvertently went on the backburner for many years. I didn’t feel that need to write as much, but I missed it. I really missed it and when the shadows of my past began to creep up in the form of depression again, I knew exactly where I needed to go.
The story that had been in my head for most of my life of an unusual girl named Hope Quest who spoke in a whisper and had the power to move the stars was what I turned to. I finally sat down and spent a year and half writing it, living in it while also keeping a foothold in my real life. It was healing and cathartic and amazing.
I had discovered that I had a place to belong – in not just one, but two worlds.
In putting Hope Quest’s story into the world (Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird, soon Book 2: The Lightning and three more books to follow), I feel as though I am offering my escape to anyone else who may be in need of it.
Despite loving my real world, I still love escaping to my fictional one now and then. It’s just good to know that it’s there whenever I need it.