Tuesday 21 February 2012

Blackout - Interview

A 23 year old woman who was medically retired at 19 has had her first book published, despite suffering from several life threatening illnesses.

Joey Paul was diagnosed with Type One Brittle Asthma when she was seven years old. The little-known branch of the asthma condition affects only 1500 individuals in the UK, and leaves Joey reliant on a combination of medication. 

“I’ve had doctors who think it’s ‘just asthma’ and won’t let me tell them any different,” she describes. “I’ve had people tell me that ‘asthma isn’t a debilitating disease” But in the case of Brittle Asthmatics, nothing could be further from the truth.

Severe attacks can result in sufferers having to stay in hospital, and even the simplest daily tasks can become a chore. “I have oxygen tanks at home and I use a wheelchair to get around since walking makes me extremely breathless”.

In addition to Brittle Asthma, Joey also suffers from Vocal Chord Dysfunction, Fibromyalgia, and Myalgic Encephalopathy - more commonly known as M.E, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As a result, she was retired from work aged 19.

“In the beginning, writing was more to do with having something to take up time after I'd lost my job,” she described. “I discovered it was something I could do and it didn’t make me any sicker.”

She soon began contacting publishers in an attempt to take her work from her computer and put it into bookshops.  That in itself was no easy feat.

While most would-be authors struggle with simply finding a publisher who’ll print their work, Joey also had the added trouble of finding one that understood how her illnesses affect her work.

“My conditions don’t work well with stress,” the author explained. “I wanted a contract that would allow me to work in my own time.”

“I seriously lost count of all the letters that said ‘nice book, but sorry’…” she explains. It was only her determination that resulted in a deal with Author House earlier this year. “That would be my only piece of advice to anyone who wanted to be published. Don't stop trying, you'll get there eventually.”

Joey’s first book, ‘Blackout’, was released in August this year, and one of its central characters suffers from Brittle Asthma. “I was spending every other week on a hospital ward with a bad attack,” she remembers. “Writing the book was a way for me to let out the frustration of it while doing something I loved.”

Since being published, Joey has taken the opportunity to return to college, with the hope of going on to study for a degree. She has also written three more books, with the hope that her next will be published in the next year. “I’m holding out at the moment because it’ll be the first in a series,” she explains excitedly. “But I’d like to be writing the third one before I submit the first”

Blackout by Joey Paul is available from Amazon.co.uk priced £1.42

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