Summer Blog Takeover
To make a change from my musings on terrible things in the news, and because it’s summer and I’m looking forward to doing nothing much for a few weeks except read under shady trees and finish Book 2, my blog will look a little different for a while.
Coming up is the first of a series of guest posts from authors I’ve invited onto my blog. Some are just starting out, some are long established and some are well known penners of bestsellers. Their books are in various genres: ‘bookclub’ fiction, crime fiction, psychological suspense/dramas/thrillers, historical and contemporary fiction (i.e. the kinds of books that most interest me).
These posts will be weekly at first, and will continue on past the summer. (I’ll be sneaking in from time to time too.) They will be about something the author especially wants to share, such as an aspect of their latest book, or else they’ll be chosen from a list of topics that I’m particularly interested in, ranging from how the hell authors find the time to write and also have a life (I can’t wait to find out!) to the ethical conundrums they’ve faced during the writing process.
First up is Hemmie Martin, author of an impressive list of novels in several genres. The Reluctant Mother, her latest, raises the fascinating issue of mental illness caused by motherhood.
Thank you for inviting me to be on your blog, Jennie, and giving me the opportunity to discuss my latest contemporary novel, ‘The Reluctant Mother’.
I am always drawn to writing about mental health issues in my novels as I come from a nursing background where I’ve worked as a community nurse for people with learning disabilities who had mental health issues, and a forensic mental health nurse for young offenders between the age of ten and eighteen.
Seven of my novels include mental health issues to varying degrees. Even in my crime series, DI Eva Wednesday’s mother suffers with a schizoaffective disorder, and her sister has bi-polar. My novels touch on subjects such a self-harm and suicidal ideation and intent, as these are issues I came across quite frequently when working with the young people.
Postnatal psychosis is a very cruel manifestation of mental health for the sufferer and her entourage. My husband, a psychiatric nurse, worked with a woman who had sadly killed all three of her children – a very distressing case for all involved.
I do try and have a positive slant in my novels, however, although two of them do contain the suicide of a character. With ‘The Reluctant Mother’, Colette does push through the worst of it, and tries to rebuild her life, even though her mother-in-law is very judgemental, seeing postnatal psychosis as something to be ashamed of. Her husband, Finn, is torn between supporting his wife and taking on the fear produced by his mother’s ignorance.
I enjoyed researching this topic, although I did get quite side-tracked at times. I gleaned information from my husband, specialist websites that included professional articles, and I also used my own experience of postnatal depression. Although my experience was very mild compared to postnatal psychosis, it gave me insight into the darkness of depression, and the struggle to be the perfect mummy that everyone expects, when everything seems stacked against you. Writing this novel, took me back to that dark place, but fortunately it was a problem that remained in the past, of which nothing has remained today.
‘The Reluctant Mother’ touches on postnatal psychosis as a foundation for Colette’s story, but the novel takes the reader on a journey of her getting her life and marriage back on track. She meets another mother suffering from the darkness of depression, whose life is spiralling out of control. Can Colette save her and her two daughters?
Thank you for having me here, Jennie.
Book and Author Links
- Buy The Reluctant Mother on Amazon
- Hemmie Martin Amazon Author Profile
- Hemmie Martin Author Facebook Page