Today we welcome author Katie Maylea. We travel to Birmingham in the United Kingdom to learn about what The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, and an 8 month old puppy have to do with road blocks as stepping stones. We’re all mad here, come join us …
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Katie and I am from Birmingham, UK.
I am a mental health campaigner, author and ETSY shop owner (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/katiescabinhandmade). I am also a Mommy of a six year old little princess and a doggy Mommy of 2 chorkie’s.
I am passionate about mental health awareness and a lover of handmade.
In which genre do you write?
My current book is a non fiction memoir but I also have a fiction children’s book coming soon too!
How many published books do you have?
I have one mental health memoir which is my journey through mental illness.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I am technically not a “writer” in the sense of the word. I have always loved writing poetry from a very young age but as far as my book goes my goal was never to be a writer. It was more that I had a story that I wanted to share to raise awareness on mental health.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
I am a huge Alice In Wonderland fan and love all the quotes from the film a huge amount. I have a tattoo “Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” and a mad hatters hat on my forearm so I would probably choose the Mad Hatter.
As he said…. “We’re all mad here” and i feel a bit like him sometimes!
What does your ideal writing space look like?
Ideally a beautiful summer house surrounded by singing birds and summer sunshine. What it really looked like was anywhere i could get some peace from two dogs and a six year old 😉
What are you currently reading?
I am reading “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney and loving it! I keep vowing to make more time to read as I find it very relaxing.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
You will usually find me busy making my ETSY orders or making new items to add to my ETSY shop.
Either that or working on something to do with mental health awareness, volunteering for SHOUT, a mental health crisis text line or in my spare time watching something on netflix.
I am a “busy” so I am always doing something. I find it very hard to sit still and just totally switch off. I get bored easily and like to be productive.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Oooooohhh, that’s a tough one! I would say Channing Tatum and ask him if he wouldn’t mind acting a little bit of Magic Mike for me, but that is for selfish reasons 😉
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
That I can do it! I honestly thought when I started my book that I wouldn’t manage more than a few pages. 85,000 words later I had a book on my hands!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help while writing your memoir?
There were a few songs I literally had on repeat a lot of the time. Mostly Beyonce’s “Listen” and Emeli Sande “Read All About It”.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?
I don’t anymore but i did for many years especially throughout struggling with anorexia. I have about 8 diaries spanning years and I remember about four years ago thinking about getting rid of them as they held so many painful memories but something inside me said, “Don’t do that in case you write a book”.
I am so glad I kept them as there are diary excerpts throughout my book that really give insight to the mind of mental illness in “real time” that was really important to me when writing my book as I wanted it to be as raw and honest as possible.
What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
I think the thing I always think of is the night that I was sat planning to end my life, I had made the plans, written the notes and I had really made my final decision about that evening.
I was sat on the floor and my laptop was open. Within that moment a friend popped up on messenger who I had only every spoken to via text and on the phone as the internet wasn’t quite as huge then as it is now. I can’t even remember what I said but that one message resulted in him coming over.
I went to the hospital and that one message ultimately, potentially, saved my life. That one moment has gone on to inspire a lot of the projects that I do and the fact that I volunteer for a crisis tect line as I truly understand that sometimes the smallest things in one moment can save a life.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
I would come back to a song that I mentioned before Emeli Sande “Read All About It” I really resonate with this song and it’s a song that always makes me feel a bit stronger and more determined to share my story and be truthful about what I believe in.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
Oh goodness, I loved Spot The Dog, Rosie and Jim but probably with what I do now if I was to get stuck in one it would probably be Art Attack!
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?
I would invite Alice from Alice In Wonderland in to my story. I have a feeling we would have got along well.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
I watched “A Star is Born” for the second time. I watched it the first time at the cinema and love the soundtrack so really wanted to see it again. Plus I can’t deny, I have a bit of a thing for Bradley Cooper!…..It’s those eyes!!
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
He comes to tell me that he has come to take me away to somewhere hot and sunny because like him, I need some sunshine in my life.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
Absolutely yes! The example I gave before about the night that I planned to end my life is a massive example of this, I generally believe this and while I often have people say to me that they are “Sorry” for what has happened to me or that they don’t know how I have remained so strong. I now look at it and think if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have the passions or goals and dreams that I now do.
I like to think that I experienced what I did to use it for something good and to fuel me with a fire that I now have, As the quote says
“Road Blocks can often prove to be stepping stones”
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
Haha! I have two dogs so my oldest Alfie who is ten I would ask ” Do you like Eddie?” (The new 8 month puppy) and “What do you want me to know?” The youngest Eddie who is 8 months I would ask ” Why do you refuse on doing a number 2 outside?!”
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I would say my determination and drive, I think this has seen me through a lot not only with goals and ambitions but also through emotions and getting through difficult times.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
I love Devon, I want to move to Devon one day. Anywhere quiet and ideally by the sea. Somewhere calming where I feel like I can switch off of have some wonderful scenery. I live in Birmingham and I definitely wasn’t built to live in a city.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
Somewhere hot with sea. That is my happy place. I am such a sun lover. I have wondered if somewhere in my family tree there is some Spanish or similar. I always get asked and every holiday I go on at some point someone will talk to me in their own language. I love being in the sun by the sea with a book – pass me a vodka and diet coke while I’m there and that is perfect.
Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.
My book “In Bloom Not Broken” is my journey through mental illness. It covers my battle with self harm and depression starting from the age of 14 through to my battle with anorexia throughout my 20’s and lastly being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder which included manic episodes with psychosis and delusions and suicidal depressions.
I wanted to write a book that was very raw, honest and that had no heirs and graces to really give insight in to the mind of someone struggling with mental illness to raise awareness and also to show others that they are not alone with these thoughts and feelings that can sometimes feel shameful and that things really can get better, even when that feels impossible.
It is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats as well as being part of Kindle Unlimited.
Thank you incredibly much Katie. Another I am adding to my list to be read. I truly enjoyed stepping into your world, even if only for a brief moment. And, I LOVE your Etsy shop!! Very cool!! –Camilla
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