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  • Writer's pictureHelena Brady

Publishing Diary 3- Why ILLUSION means so much to me

Well hello everyone, it's been a while! I'm back, and with an update that ILLUSION IS RELEASING IN 3 DAYS AAHH!! How quick has the time come! I'm super excited, slightly nervous, but also very excited haha! You can pre-order the ebook here!

Now, I know I'm the worst when it comes to keeping up blog posts, but I wanted to come back here to talk a little about why I wrote ILLUSION, and why it means so much to me. It's not a secret that I love this book, otherwise I wouldn't be publishing it, haha! But my love for this book runs deeper than the words on the page. For me, this book is so much more than just another fantasy book I've written. This story is a story of acceptance and overcoming overwhelming challenges. I sometimes call this book my therapy book because it has helped me with my own personal story of acceptance and overcoming challenges. This book was there for me when I didn't know how to deal with the things I was facing in real life. I don't want to get too personal here, but I do want to give you an understanding of why this book means so much to me, and why publishing this book feels so scary sometimes because of that.

When I wrote this book, I was dealing with overwhelming anxiety. It affected how I lived my day-to-day life, and I didn't know how to cope with it. When I first started having panic attacks and anxiety attacks, I didn't know how to deal with them. I was so scared of having an attack that I would trigger one unintentionally. I wasn't in the best place mentally, and I felt trapped. I felt like I was alone in what I was experiencing, and I didn't know what to do or where to turn. But what I did have was this book. This book was my escape from it all. It didn't make my anxiety go away, but it did let me write my anxiety onto another person, even if they were fictional. In the book, Ravyn has anxiety and experiences panic attacks. She was a person who understood what I was going through, and it made me feel less alone in what I was facing. It let me explore what I was experiencing in a roundabout way, figuring things out while I typed. I have poured so much of myself into those pages, more than I ever intended to. But writing this book helped me so much, and every time I read it I can see pieces of myself. It is such a personal story to me. The pages carry part of my soul, and my truths are hidden in the ink.

Apart from helping me emotionally, ILLUSION also helped me with accepting my identity as a queer person. When I wrote this book, I was having a bit of an identity crisis. I didn't know who I was, and it was destroying me. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror because I refused to accept who really was. My character, Ravyn, didn't know who she was either. She didn't want to accept herself, didn't know how to accept herself. And while this element of the book has been toned down from when I first wrote it, it doesn't change the fact that it is still in there, tucked away on the pages. I wrote my way to acceptance. I didn't know any other way to do it. I always say I am not a talker, I am a writer. Talking about heavy personal things is not my strong suit, but I can sure as hell write about them. When I wrote Ravyn struggling with her identity, like I had written her struggling with her anxiety, I felt less alone in what I was facing. She knew what I was going through, she experienced it as I did, and it helped me immensely.

One of my goals with this book is to add another queer fantasy book to the world, something I didn't have growing up. I feel like if I had been able to find fantasy books featuring queer characters when I was growing up, maybe it would have helped me on my journey and made it less soul-destroying. ILLUSION is a contemporary fantasy book at it's core, but it has that element of a woman-loving-woman relationship, an element that I can't recall ever finding in fantasy books when I was growing up. I know what it is like to be a young person struggling with their sexuality, I have ridden that rollercoaster, and I know that if I had been exposed to more LGBTQ+ content (books, tv, movies, etc.) I wouldn't have had such a torturous time on my journey to acceptance. I know things are a lot better nowadays, but I keep thinking back to the person I was, and I want to help young people who are in the position I was in. We still have a long way to go in LGBTQ+ acceptance, so I hope that with this book I can contribute, even a little, to helping make the world a better, safer, and more accepting place for queer people.

Publishing this book feels scary and overwhelming. This story is so personal to me, and I feel like I'm ripping myself open and laying it out for people to judge. But this story is important. It's important to me, at least. I always write parts of myself into my books, but this one definitely contains the most. And it's scary to put that out there for people to read. I know most people won't pick up on these things at all, but I know they're there. I know what is hidden in those pages. I know the sweat and tears that went into making this book.

I'm proud of what I created. Apart from writing, reading was always an escape of mine. I hope that maybe this book can be an escape for someone else, and they can see themselves in the characters and know they are not alone in what they are facing.

I know that was some heavy stuff there, but I'm all out of words to say on the topic. Maybe I'll go more in-depth at a later date, but for now, I'll leave you with a quote as always!

Don't forget to pre-order and add ILLUSION on Goodreads! (Feels strange going from serious stuff to jolly promotional stuff, but ya know, I gotta promote my book somehow, don't judge okay.)

Thanks for listening to me ramble. Enjoy your week, and hopefully I'll be back with another post soon. I'll see how I feel.

"Ravyn squinted, following Nat’s fingers until she could see the shape of the bear in the sky.

It was so calm, so peaceful out here. A gentle breeze hushed them, gliding over their bodies with a cool breath, pulling them away from exhaustion. It caught on some stray strands of hair and let them dance in the air.

“This is nice,” Ravyn said in a half-whisper.

“Yeah,” Nat replied. She pointed towards the sky again. “Look, you can see Mars.”

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