I have a consummate artist here today. You might remember Lia from her Friendly Neighborhood Friday feature as a designer. Well, she’s written a book as well and it’s been released today! Read on to learn what her book’s about and after that, check out her book trailer and author interview.
This is what happened when something devastating crashed into an unusual mind.
When I suffered a brain injury at the age of 19, I was not told what I had. The
world became a dreamlike haze. I was cut off from my own thoughts and memories.
Instead of receiving medical treatment, I was sent into psychotherapy. So began
a ten-year battle to recover my lost self. This memoir is a window into the
surreal internal landscape of a brain injury survivor striving to find reality
Positive thinking and pills couldn’t fix me, but a bizarre and cutting-edge
field of medicine just might.
D.P.- Share a guilty pleasure with us.
L.R.- There’s a snack called Wild West beef jerky which I love. It’s literally just
dried meat, sweet vinegar and spices. It’s insanely expensive – you get a small
scraping of it in each packet – and the texture is like chewing on leather. I
also adore sushi and huge blocks of those cheeses that smell like your feet
after two weeks’ camping.
D.P.- What’s your favorite song for writing?
L.R.- Ah, now you’re talking. I’ve always loved music. My actual book is stuffed with
musical references – the chapter titles are existing song titles. (Author tip:
titles aren’t copyrighted, but lyrics are!) I actually made a playlist for the
book. It’s alt-rock meets electronica, rounded off with some Pink Floyd.
But “music to write to” is a very small subsection of the music category. The
current state of my brain is too befuddled to write with anything distracting in
the background, so chillout, electronica, classical and film soundtracks have
taken the place of the loud rock and raucous pop I used to love. I appreciate a
quiet, melancholy mood, interesting musical textures, and not having to get up
in the middle of work to put another album on (yes, I still think in terms of
D.P.- What’s the funniest book you’ve read and why?
L.R.- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. People dismiss it as science fiction, but
that’s the mask it wears. It’s a hilarious satire on the absurdities of human
psychology and politics. Pick it up if you haven’t already.
D.P.- Beach or woods?
L.R.- It’s winter here in England, so I’ll say the woods. My ideal place to live would
be near a deep dark forest, where a person could go at any moment to be alone
with a book. I’d spend entire nights lying under the branches, looking up at the
stars, and sleeping under the quiet trees. Obviously there’d be no wild animals
in this fantasy wood, or random dog poo.
D.P.- Which genres do you write and what’s your favorite one?
L.R.- I’ve been a science fiction fan from the start of my reading life. Fantasy can
be amazing too, but I’m allergic to epic good-versus-evil and pseudo-medieval
settings, and it’s a little difficult to avoid those in fantasy. Once I fix my
brain, I have a science fantasy trilogy to write: The City That Dreamed. The
heroine, Beth, lives in a futuristic city where humans mingle with creatures
spawned from the imagination. Searching for her missing sister, she uncovers a
religious conspiracy and starts to learn the secrets of the city. The idea was
born during my aimless wanderings and inspired by the surreal sensations and
rootless nature of the post-brain injury world.
D.P.- Tell us about your plans or ideas for the future.
L.R.- There’s this idea for a concept album called Infinity Mirror. It would be my
musings on individual freedom and human potential. The title is inspired by
those beautiful, cleverly designed mirrors that reflect an endless series of
lights into the distance. That’s the way I see personality and culture – a long
chain of reflections and projections bouncing off each other, with the
impossibility of finding anything fixed and true. But no less beautiful for
I won’t completely abandon the subject of brains. There’ll also be “Normal Is
Irrelevant: The High IQ Brain Injury Book”, about what exactly happens when
people of above-average intelligence suffer brain injuries. There’s a serious
need for this book. I’ve seen it in the community, and when I mention the idea
people say “Write it NOW”. Ideally, it should be written by a rehabilitation
professional – someone with qualifications and years of knowledge in the field.
But if anyone’s writing it they certainly haven’t told me, so I’m taking up the
challenge. It’ll be more journalistic and less “memoirish” than the one I’ve
D.P.- Breakfast, brunch, or lunch?
L.R.- Lunch. I like it so much that I also eat it at breakfast time. Cereal? What’s