As the title suggests, there are some very dark moments in my fourth novel 'Out of the Darkness', and the theme that runs throughout the story is someone surviving abuse and a violent childhood. How do you make something out of nothing. That defied the laws of physics, right? Well, that's what I had to do after I left the toxic, unhealthy, and abuse home of my parents. Like Laura, the main character of the book, I had to start with nothing, not even a human identity, as I wasn't treated like a human, only a non-person, in fact, I don't even remember my dad ever calling me by my name.
When I started to live on my own, I had to learn how to be a human, to live with other humans who treated me like a human and not like an animal. I liken it to people who have had serious brain injuries and they have to learn how to dress themselves, wash themselves, and brush their hair, etc. Well, I had to learn how to be a human at the age of 22.
Laura faces the same challenges when she is seemingly 'rescued' by Mr Freeman and taken to live in his house. He then grooms her over a period of a few years and gains her trust, only for him to betray that trust by sexually abusing her.
Some of the scenes in the book were extremely hard to write, such as loving someone and then losing them, and the heartbreak, bereavement and vacuum in your life that follows when they're not there anymore. Also, the abuse that Laura suffers at the hands of Edward Clifford is based on my own abuse marriage to my now ex-husband, and that was probably the hardest of all to write, especially the scenes that actually happened to me personally.
It wasn't very nice to recall and then write down what that abusive arsehole did to me, but I did feel that it was important to get my story out there, and also, to make other people aware of what one human being can do to another.
Laura comes out of her darkness and eventually finds love and happiness, but I wrote this at a time when I was still going through a divorce and unsure of both mine and my children's futures. I'm writing this in October 2023, and I eventually got my decree absolute a few months ago, after four horrendous years. Now my ex-husband has run out of ways to persecute, terrorise, torture, and torment me and my children, but he hasn't gone away, and I know he's planning his next move.
On a lighter note, we are all getting on with our lives, and even though I work long hours, and I'm a single parent with two teenage sons, I still find immense joy and fulfilment from my writing. I've just published my seventh novel, and I still have another six, or so, projects to come.
Background: Saffron Hill, 19th Century.
Markham Square, Chelsea in 1835.