Akea is no ordinary husky and taking her place as Wolf Queen was just the first step in the journey set out for her by the Great Wolf. Akea’s world turns upside down when humans raid their home, scattering the pack and capturing her hybrid son. Salvador struggles to adjust to a life in captivity quickly realising not everyone approves of his mother’s rise to Wolf Queen. When the Great Wolf sends him warning dreams, Salvador discovers his true purpose for being there.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I often come across comments that say you need to push through your feelings and make writing a daily habit; that if you don’t commit to a certain amount of time to write, it just won’t happen. I can understand the logic behind it, but it really doesn’t work for me. When I first started writing, the ideas would come out faster than I could get them onto paper – my handwriting proved that. I couldn’t control when it happened, so I would find myself writing through mealtimes or into the early hours of the morning. I knew that if I didn’t write things down straight away, I would lose them forever. I also seemed to have a series of books pre-written in my head and would find myself writing bits of various future books before returning to what I was supposed to be working on. I think my Asperger’s brain was largely responsible for that and I found it best not to argue with it.
2020 has been a difficult year for many people, and as I also struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, and a phobia of illness, I’ve found my current answer to ‘when do you write’ is ‘not very often’. Instead, I’ve been working with my editing buddy on my third children’s book, in the hope that focusing my mind in this way, will eventually lead me to writing the concluding chapter. As to where I prefer to write, well that’s a much easier question to answer – usually in my bedroom! This is my quiet place, away from my parents, my brother and two of our scatty dogs.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I’ve always done my best writing with our third dog, Kizzy, tucked up next to me. She is more like an assistance dog than a pet and tucks herself in tight next to me when I’m writing. She hasn’t been so well lately, so maybe it’s the lack of a snuggle buddy that’s making writing such a challenge as the moment. I also like to have two tablet devices with me. One is for research purposes or watching random YouTube stuff (sometimes my brain needs to multi-task), and the other is for the character profiles. I find it easier to visualise my characters, so I have photos on my device of what I think they would look like, and this always helps me when writing.
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Not really. I’ve only drank one type of drink my entire life – Robinson’s Summer Fruit squash. I don’t like hot drinks and I don’t like other flavours or different makes of the same flavour. I will make up a litre of Summer Fruit squash in the morning and that will last me until mid-afternoon. Then I’ll make another one up which will last me until I go to bed. I just take the bottle with me when I move rooms and then I always have a drink to hand. The supermarkets have run out of all sorts of things this year, but so long as they don’t run out of Summer Fruit, I’ll be fine.
As for food… Well, for me, food is for mealtimes and certain foods belong to certain meals only. I simply can’t switch them around no matter what the reason. If I am up late, I still have to fit all three meals into the day somehow, even if it means having tiny portions in order to do so. Skipping meals is not an option. I guess that’s a strong aspect of my autism.
– What is your favourite book?
That’s a tricky one. I’ve really enjoyed books by Brian Jacques, Erin Hunter, and Michael Crichton, and most books based on Gene Rodenberry’s Star Trek. But then I also really liked Roots by Alex Haley – which also made a great television series. If I really had to, I could probably narrow it down to the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, but I really couldn’t choose between the different books in the series.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
It’s something I’m working towards. I’ve dabbled a bit with science fiction and historical storylines, but I struggle to write without doing it from the animal’s perspective. The trouble is that I find animals much easier to understand and I can connect with them on a deeper level. That’s why I’ve volunteered at various animal rescues over the years. I was even nick-named ‘The Cat Whisperer’ during my time with Cats Protection. Unfortunately, it’s always been the people I have a problem with. They make no sense to me at all, so writing for human characters is proving to be an uphill struggle, but I’m determined to master it without them all ending up with autistic characteristics…
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I don’t believe I’ve done that with other people, but apparently, I have done so with myself, even though I didn’t realise that at the time. It wasn’t long after I published the first book in my Akea series that reviewers started commenting on the parallel between Akea’s personal journey and my own.
In Akea – The Power of Destiny, Akea starts off feeling that she doesn’t belong in the sled dog family she was born to, and when she sees a lone wolf by the name of Kazakh, she understands that her true destiny lies beyond the relative safety of her family. Kazakh’s role is to help her discover her place in the world, but doing so goes against the rules and norms of wolf society. Each obstacle that Akea overcomes makes her stronger and brings her closer to her goal, until she finally ends up fitting in where she physically stands out the most, and is accepted by both the wolves and the family she left behind.
The themes of belonging, acceptance and overcoming obstacles were not something I’d consciously included, it seems my own desire to be accepted and understood had indeed been woven into the story. Discovering this made me look more closely at the second Akea story I’d written, and I discovered I had woven similar themes into this one too.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I used to do that all the time because they literally would pop up any time and any place. And if I was working on something in particular, then I would take that notebook with me too because I never knew when the next piece of story would surface. This made sense until the unspeakable happened – I misplace the notebook I was writing my third Akea story in. Fortunately, I knew I hadn’t taken it out of the house for a while, but even so, it took me months to find it and by then I had mentally lost the connection with the storyline. I’m finding hard to reconnect with it and finish those final chapters. Now, I mostly keep my iPad mini to hand for story ideas. This way, I can save it both to the device and to OneDrive. Then at least if the iPad goes missing, I haven’t lost the story altogether. I also save to a memory stick every so often as an additional back up. Not using paper has the added advantage of helping me with my spelling which goes completely out the window when I’m in story writing mode, so there is less of that to correct when editing.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
Romance – I’m not a people person and have always said the only boys I will ever fall for are ones with four legs. Animals are my life and I would give them my heart every time.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
I think I would enjoy working with someone like Kathryn Lasky or Erin Hunter. As we all write animal stories, it would be interesting to see what we could come up with by working together. But I would also like to work with someone who could help me to transform some of my animal based story ideas into ones involving people instead. I really struggle to see the world from a neurotypical point of view, and this makes it a challenge to write from that perspective. I am determined to master it, but it would be nice to get some help, particularly from someone who writes historical dramas as I have a basic plot written for this, but the characters are still animals at the moment.
– If you could travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you choose and why?
It’s important for animal behaviour to be written authentically, and there is only so much you can learn about grey wolves from YouTube or wildlife parks, so I would love to study their behaviour in the wild, perhaps in Russia or North America. I think this would allow me to include even more wolf behaviour in my Akea stories.
Thank you, Elizabeth Jade and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Elizabeth Jade was born in 1998 in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, but moved with her family to Wellington in Somerset when she was very young. Her early schooling did not go smoothly, and as a result, she was home-schooled from the age of seven. Her parents soon learned she had a unique slant on life and quickly abandoned attempts to follow the national curriculum in favour of child-led learning.
Elizabeth stumbled into writing at the age of fourteen when she began to suffer from anxiety and depression and quickly found her story ideas pouring out faster than she could get them onto paper. It wasn’t until the age of eighteen that she realised her struggles in school had been due to Aspergers Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder).
As an enthusiastic animal lover, Elizabeth volunteered first at the Conquest Riding Centre for the Disabled and then at St Giles Animal Rescue before moving on to the Cats Protection Homing and Information Centre. Her gifted way with the cats quickly earned her the title of ‘Cat Whisperer’ from the staff. Since she had always possessed such a way with animals, it was only natural for her story ideas to revolve around them.
Elizabeth’s personal experience as a young author with the challenges of autism, depression and anxiety, along with her writing theme of acceptance and overcoming obstacles, have led to her having a junior school class named after her.
Book Trailer – https://youtu.be/GBR5Qmk61yk
Website – https://www.elizabethjade.org
Blog – https://elizabethjade.org/blog/
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