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Behind the scenes: Bestselling author Louise Jensen & chronic pain

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Louise Jensen

Today I extend a huge welcome to Louise Jensen, bestselling author of psychological thriller, The Sister. Her second novel, The Gift, will be published on 16 December 2016 (It is available now for pre-order). Louise’s journey to publication has not been straightforward. Read her inspiring story below of how she has suffered with chronic pain for many years. Despite this, she has never given up, learning to be kind to herself and know when to put her work aside and engage in the equally important activity of reading.

Thanks so much Louise for joining me.

 

How long have you been writing?

As a child I was forever scribbling stories and was desperate to become an author but that seemed so far out of reach, and I had no idea how to achieve it. My writing tapered off when the careers advisor at school told me no-one makes a living from writing and to become a secretary so that’s what I did. After acquiring a disability in my 30’s I started writing non-fiction articles for magazines on chronic pain and mindfulness. When I hit 40 I thought ‘it’s now or never’ with regards to writing a novel and I took the plunge.

What were you like as a child?

Exactly the same as I am now I think, quiet, slightly insular and always reading.

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Can you name one or two of your favourite novels of all time? Why do you love it / them so much?

Little Women is my favourite book. I read it at a very young age. I had been devouring Enid Blyton loving the mystery and the suspense and suddenly there was this story that made me cry, feel empowered and moved me in so many ways. I wanted to create characters to make people feel a mixture of those two things. The mystery, the sense of unease and the tugging at the heart. The Sister and The Gift are both a bit of a genre blend.

How has your health affected your writing?

I have chronic pain and restricted mobility and with writing I had thought I had found something I could do, but I have found the staying in one position for prolonged periods has really increased my pain levels. Also the inflammation I suffer in my joints has been greatly exacerbated in my fingers from typing. When you have a health condition it’s all about finding ways to manage it. I’m currently playing around with dictation software. I never give up!

Your debut novel The Sister has stormed the charts. How far has this been from what you expected from it?

It sounds silly I know, but even when I was signing a contract with a publisher I never really thought about actual people reading my story. I remember when it went up for preorder I counted the friends and family that said they would buy it that day and I knew I had sold 17 copies. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my debut would reach number one. The loveliest thing has been all the emails I received from readers who have really engaged with Grace’s story. To know somebody has spent time with my characters makes me feel very humble and very grateful.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Loyal. Funny. Creative.

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What is the proudest moment of your life?

I have three boys, and seeing the young men they have grown in to makes me feel so proud. There are all kind, funny, generous and bright and sometimes I catch a glimpse of them and I feel overcome with emotion. I can’t believe how lucky I am.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

My dining table with all my family around it. Now the boys are growing it can be hard to coordinate getting everybody in the same place at the same time but sharing a meal with the people I love is one of my most favourite things to do.

What advice would you give to people who wish to write with chronic health issues?

To listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. Chronic pain generally fluctuates to a degree and there will be days you can sit and write for hours and there will be days the pain is overwhelming you can barely remember your own name. Those are the days it’s really important to love yourself, and never feel like a failure. When I have particularly bad flare ups I read instead, and reading is essential if you want to be a writer. Don’t give up and be proud of every single step on your writing journey, no matter how small.

Louise, thank you so much. For anybody out there reading this who wants to write but feels hindered by physical pain or disability, I hope this is an inspiration to you.

Visit Louise’s website where she blogs and also writes fantastic flash fiction, like her on facebook and follow her on twitter.

Rebecca

Compliment this post with other inspiring stories: how writer Sara Alexi has worked with her dyslexia to become a bestselling author, how crime author Angela Marsons was rejected for 25 years before breaking into the industry &  author Sharon Maas’s fantastic advice on being true to yourself as a writer.

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What readers are saying about The Girl and the Sunbird:

‘This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, impactful story that I won’t soon forget.’

‘I envy anyone who is still to read this.’

‘It’s one of those books that weaves itself into your soul and stays with you long after you reluctantly read the last page.’

‘A brilliant book, an epic story, this book deserves to be read by everyone.’

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