Storywalker is a multiverse-hopping quest fantasy with big characters, worlds that leak people and creatures and mythologies back and forth, left wing crossness at neoliberal nastiness, several flavours of diversity, and a theme of abandoned people who build families of friends.
At the start of this book, my heroine Molly has two notable features: she lives with the chronic illness myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME); and she has a rare talent that enables her to enter books and talk with characters and share their adventures.
I too have ME. So Storywalker is autobiographical, in that I’m an author with ME writing a character with ME, and this is the first time I’ve done it. The first time I’ve done it openly, anyway.
I did it once before, but not openly. In my first ever published book, Beauty and the Bastard (Liquid Silver Books, 2010), my hero Saul was a fallen angel whose sentence on Earth included him being imprisoned in stone when the sun came up. Every evening, when he fell free from the stone, he suffered terrible muscle cramps until his circulation got going again.
The pain started when the sun went down. Saul had trained himself to deny its inevitability, day by day, so he could enjoy those few moments when the sun’s sinking glory almost touched him, when warm light filled his eyes and he almost remembered how that felt. But always, as soon as the final golden glint winked out, the pain consumed him. He felt that. He definitely felt that.
Sometimes, tired and jaded and unwilling to face the daily workout, he tried to stay in the stone. He couldn’t. The pain only increased until it hit screaming pitch and forced him to push free and fall to the ground, gasping and writhing in agony.
Muscle cramps were the most immediate and severe pain, especially in the big muscles of his arms and legs, but they were also the ones he could deal with most easily through a combination of stretches and a good lick of salt on his tongue from the little bag in his coat pocket.
Less acute, but longer to throw off, were the dull hammering headache and the pins and needles. And the headache always got worse while he drank bottled water and exercised his sluggish circulation back to life.
Only when everything else was working properly and he could relax enough to breathe deeply, did the brain pain start to retreat. He’d perfected this routine a lifetime ago, but the ordeal had never gotten any easier.
As far as I’m aware, only a handful of people recognised that as my own wake-up condition.
And yet, and yet, old Saul still managed to save the world.
And despite ME, Molly still does amazing things for her friends.
And despite ME, I’m still here writing novels.
We rock, you know, us chronically ill people. Need someone with superhuman grit and determination and sheer bloody bravery in the face of years and years of nasty shit? Find yourself a spoonie!Need someone with grit & determination & bravery in the face of years of shit? Find yourself a spoonie! #severeME Click To Tweet
As for me, I’m going to do it again this year. My 2016 goal is to plan, write, edit, and polish two murder mystery novels. Yippee ki-yay! 🙂