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To celebrate Empath’s one year book birthday, and also mental health month, I thought I’d write a post for Sarah about how I wrote my anxiety dragon book. Empath was my swan song to a six and a half year relationship that ended because “he didn’t want to get married,” but my personal fallout lasted nearly two years. Unlike my space pirate series or even The Island, writing Empath was a daily examination of my anxieties and fears. So, as you can probably imagine, it went swimmingly.
I got the idea for Empath based on a blog post about how I tend to turn my problems into mountains because I avoid dealing when them as molehills, or to continue the Empath analogy, fire-breathing monsters from lizards. I had also just attended a jewelry party at a good friend’s house, where I casually mentioned that I didn’t wear any jewelry other than the sun necklace I bought to replace the one I couldn’t wear anymore (as it had come from The Ex). One thing led to another, and Empath was born, stealing some names and concepts from a book I wrote when I was 11 or 12 about a bunch of kids who are transported to an island and politics and such.
As the book came together, I started to delve back into the memories of what life was like in those few months after The Breakup, before my quarter life crisis, when I was trying to prove to everyone (and myself) that I was Just Fine *SMILE.* Being a master avoider of conflict and angst, I would rather duck and hide and wait for everything to pass me over than have to face the music. And I wrote that into Lauren, giving her my fear and avoiding tendencies.
And then, par for the course, I avoided writing her story.
I waltzed around it, I danced around it, I added in the scenes that had nothing to do with the things that frightened me or made me uncomfortable. I made up a ton of excuses why I shouldn’t write this book or this other book (The Island) was better, or she was annoying me or the word count was too low, or whatever. Just excuse, excuse, excuse.
What scared me so much was this book very clearly shows someone who is not perfect, and it’s very clearly based on me. Razia/Lyssa has pieces of me, but there’s very clear delineation in my mind between how she reacts and how I would react. I can step back and say, “Oh, silly Lyssa, quit yelling at Sage, you dumb girl.”
With Lauren, I can’t say, “Silly girl” because I’m guilty of 100% of the things that she does. Lauren Dailey is the most “me” person, and I gave her all of my bad faults.
Instead of being a big girl and just dealing with my pain after the break-up and letting people know, “Hey, you know what? I’m really not okay here” I just filled my life with busyness. Instead of coming face to face with my loneliness and learning to love the solitude, I subjected myself to endless dead-end dates, praying that Prince Charming would come and save me. I put my happiness in other peoples’ hands, and – surprise, surprise – I never found it.
And in fact, when I thought I found it and it turned out I didn’t find it, I was crushed.
I’m not (totally) that person anymore (thanks therapy), but by writing about her, by building a character around those faults of mine, it forced me to come face to face with the person I used to be.
In true avoiding fashion, I did not want to do that.
So, basically: I was avoiding writing the book about how I avoid my problems.
In my thirty years on this world, I have discovered two things about avoiding problems that scare me: 1 – they rarely go away if you just ignore them and 2 – they always tend to be less terrifying than you’ve made them out to be.
When I finally get tired of avoiding my problems, or I’m forced to deal with them, I dig deep and find some kind of shaky strength and just face it. I make the phone call or send the email or check the post or whatever. Then I always feel better and promise myself I’ll never avoid my problems again.
Until the next problem shows up. Then it’s another battle.
So I’m not perfect, but I’m growing. And that’s all that counts, right?
Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell. Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another – an empath. The villagers – sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin – welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It’s sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.
Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her?
Empath is available on Amazon.
About the Author
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.
Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.
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