Inside the mind of Elizabeth Jade
I have one of those minds that can retain nearly every piece of information it comes across. It soaks things up like a sponge, particularly where animals are concerned. It’s also a mind that is easily influenced. Some of my story ideas come from dreams or conversations with people. Others are triggered by video clips on YouTube or even from photographs. Almost anything can trigger a story idea and before I know where I am, part of the story is down on paper and I’m already working out the main characters’ personalities.
Part of my being autistic means that I struggle with too much information on a page. I can see all the information in one go and I struggle to filter out what I actually need. For this reason, I like to work with a photo of my characters in front of me rather than using written profiles. The image needs to give me the right feel for the character as well as the right look. It can take some time to find an image with just the right feel, but when I do, I can use it as a reference point for that character.
The inspiration for my story ‘Akea – The Power of Destiny’ came from a photograph, but it also came about by accident. While working on an idea for a story involving a dalmatian and a husky, I started trawling the internet for images that captured the essence of the characters I was trying to create. Finding photographs of these two dogs together was surprisingly straight forward, but what happened when I found a specific image was very unexpected.
I could tell this husky didn’t want to share a story with the dalmatian. Instead, she told me her own story – a story in which she would go from feeling out of place among the sled dogs she was expected to fit in with, to feeling perfectly at home among the wolves with whom she had nothing visibly in common. I started with her birth into a family of sled dogs, and before I realised it, the rest of the story began flowing out faster than I could have imagined.
As each new character introduced itself into the story, I searched for photographs to represent them. The writing was very intense. It felt like the whole story was pre-written in my head and my hands were having difficulty keeping up. Sometimes I wasn’t aware of what I was writing. In fact, when I had finished the final chapter and someone asked what happened in it, I didn’t know until I went back and read it.
I had not planned for this story to be part of a series, but a family member made a comment when they had finished reading the final chapter, and this immediately triggered my imagination again. I started writing ‘Akea – His Mother’s Son’, which looks at what happens to Akea and her children, and this book should be out later this year.
I have also written parts of the next four stories involving Akea and her extended family. And all this started with a single photograph of a husky with a dalmatian. Incidentally, the Dalmatian story was never written.
At the forest edge, a silvery shape appeared from behind a grassy mound. Eacnung howled and her pups obediently ran to her; all except for Akea who was rooted to the spot; curious but unafraid. She was intrigued by the appearance of a creature she had not seen before; almost mesmerized in fact.
“Akea!” bellowed her father, “Obey your mother at once. Never trifle with a volk, never!” Akea blinked, unable to break free from the wolf’s hypnotic stare. Kelleher barked in an attempt to gain his daughter’s attention, but it was the appearance of the owner with his twelve bore that caused the wolf to run, breaking his hold on Akea. It was then that she felt her father’s paw strike the side of her shoulder. “Get inside now Akea,” he growled angrily. “And never disobey me again. A volk spells trouble; always remember that.”
The pups were herded back into the shed where their mother comforted them with a small feed and from that point on the owner, Kelleher and Eacnung were extra vigilant whenever the pups were allowed outside. Akea would always scan the edge of the woods in case the wolf came back, but she dare not let her father see her. Every night the wolf plagued her dreams and although she had no idea what it meant, she was not afraid. Kelleher however, was troubled. The wolf brought back unpleasant memories, for among other things Kelleher knew that he was not a true husky – there was wolf blood in his veins.
One night Akea woke up, went to the dog flap and poked her head out to look round. There stood the wolf, looking at her intently from his grassy mound. He raised his head and howled softly before leaving. Akea desperately wanted to howl back, but she knew her mother and father would not approve. It seemed as if the wolf was trying to contact her; as if he knew something about her that she was only beginning to learn.
Something stirred deep within her, and she no longer felt she belonged there with the other huskies.
Elizabeth Jade was born in North Yorkshire in 1998 and moved with her family to Wellington when she was about twelve.
She stumbled into writing at the age of fourteen when she began to struggle with depression and anxiety, and at the age of eighteen, she was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
She has always had a passion for animals and has volunteered at various animal rescues, so it seemed only natural that her stories would revolve around them.
Akea – The Power of Destiny was published in 2017 and is the first in a planned series of adventures for this Siberian husky and her wolf friends.
Akea is a Siberian husky who was born into a family of sled dogs and a life which should have followed a predictable path, but from the day she first saw the lone wolf, Akea knew her future lay beyond the safety of her home.
The wolf, Kazakh was well aware of Akea’s destiny and the traditions he would break to help her reach it. His task was to make sure Akea would be ready, no matter what the cost.
Akea leaves her family and with the help of the Wolfpack, she finds her inner wolf. Suddenly, the pack turns on them, casting her out to fend for herself. She spends some time in an animal shelter before going to live with a new family, yet she quickly abandons them to follow Kazakh to the Wolf Queen’s den. Just as their goal seems in sight, Kazakh is shot and seriously wounded.
Can Akea choose between protecting him and fulfilling her destiny? And even if she can, will she make it to the Wolf Queen in time?
WHO SHOULD READ
Although this book is primarily aimed at children in the 8 to 12 category, it could easily be enjoyed by older children and adults as it is written in a mature style with a light touch or read to younger children by their parents.
Akea is on Amazon in both Ebook and Paperback.
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The first contact will be with Amanda Barton