From novel ‘The Gift’ to her own ‘Gift’ @Fab_fiction – (LJ) talks from the heart #guestpost

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As I’m sure a lot of you are aware, Louise Jensen’s latest novel, ‘The Gift’, has made itself known in the Amazon charts (it may have peaked at numero uno…. 😉 ). Quite rightly so! If you still haven’t read this book, you can find my review: #Review of The Gift by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @Bookouture #psychologicalthriller.

Seeing as the book title is about a gift, I wanted to know what Louise’s own personal thoughts were in regards to her ‘gift’. As always, the talented author delivered; here is her very honest yet incredibly heart-warming guest post, especially for TWG.

Guest post by Louise Jensen.

My new novel, The Gift centres around Jenna, a 30-year-old woman who receives a transplanted heart. She is overcome with gratitude at this chance of a second life but, over time, she starts to experiences flashbacks of things that haven’t happened to her. Jenna learns about cellular memory, the phenomena that the cells of a heart can retain memories, and organ recipients can inherit these memories and she begins to believe that Callie, the donor, didn’t die in an accident as purported. Jenna is convinced Callie was murdered.  Jenna becomes obsessed with Callie’s family, desperate to uncover the truth, and as she alienates her own family and friends, and begins to lose her grip on reality, she questions whether, if she could go back, she would want this gifted heart. 

Writing this novel really gave me food for thought. It is human nature to compartmentalise things as they happen and often the things we think are the greatest things ever can leave us utterly bereft if they don’t work out, and things we class as terrible can sometimes turn out to be the greatest gift of all. 

Becoming disabled in my 30’s left me feeling utterly lost and utterly alone. With a lack of mobility and chronic pain my future felt bleak and in those dark, early days, I thought I would never be happy again. I was always very active and I was at a loss to know how to occupy my time and depression swamped me. A blackness I just couldn’t shift.  As time passed I knew I had to try to piece my life together again, for my children as much as me, and tentatively I began to write. As I wrote I became completely absorbed in the characters I was creating and I momentarily forgot my pain, I momentarily forgot I can’t just get up and go for a walk, and little by little life became brighter. 

My change of health wasn’t a gift as such, but an opportunity, and one I ended up grasping with both hands. 

In the mindfulness courses I teach I often tell the story of The Farmer and the Horse, a lesson that there often isn’t good or bad, some things just are; but if you look, sometimes ever so closely, there is often a silver lining after all.

A farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbours heard about it, they sympathised with the old man over his bad luck. “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, “Bad Luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer’s good luck.

Louise is an incredible author and such an inspiration, I am in awe of her strength through the good days and bad.
Thank you Louise for your wonderful piece.

Author & book links.

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Website
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Blog tour for ‘Owl Song at Dawn’ by Emma Claire Sweeney.

Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney.
Published 1st July 2016 by Legend Press.
Available to buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

‘Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness.

Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were.

If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.’

Thank you to Legend Press for giving me a copy of the book in return for my honest opinion.

Owl Song at Dawn is the type of book that, regardless of what anyone else says about it, you need to read it for yourself to capture the true essence of the story. Maeve has had a lot to contend with in her life. Not only has she been her own protector, she has had to be a protector for her twin sister Edie. Unfortunately,  people were treated much differently in the 1950’s compared to now, and disabilities weren’t accepted by many; if any.

Despite Maeve’s persona coming across as very guarded, I could tell that she carried a lot of hurt and loss on her shoulders. The loss of part of herself, her twin Edie. Throughout the story, Maeve is faced with dilemmas and past memories. She has kept Sea View Lodge the same over the years, and it’s a safe haven for people with disabilities to feel accepted.

Edie is never far from Maeve’s mind because she talks to Edie via the story as though she is right next to her, continuously protecting her.

How can people judge others without knowing them? The true meaning of Owl Song at Dawn hit home to me in multiple ways. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to deal with such prejudice about something you cannot control. You want to fight for the one you love, but there is only so much you can do if things are understood in different ways. I could feel the emotion right from the beginning to the very end, the powerful and fierce message the book contains is quite overwhelming.

Owl Song at Dawn is very well written despite having quite a harrowing storyline, which in turn makes it quite a deep read which I found tough to read at certain points. Despite that, I enjoyed the portrayal of loss versus love and finding comfort with moving forward into the unknown. Very inspirational.