ARABELLLE'S SHADOWS BY FLEUR GASKIN
Hi my name is Fleur. I’m a former international model from New Zealand. I am currently living in Shanghai with my fiancé and my two cats. At the moment I’m trying to get into shape and have recently discovered that hula hooping for twenty minutes every other day gives you a defined waist – something I thought you had to be born with!
Tell us about your latest project.
I have written a coming of age novel called Arabelle’s Shadows. It’s about a model who is trying to become successful and find love whilst battling a depression that just won’t go away.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that constantly thinking about (and writing about) depression makes me depressed. It was a really difficult process writing Arabelle’s Shadows because I was delving into my personal, painful experiences and then trying to express them through words. I spent a lot of time reflecting on my past and that enabled me to forgive many of the people that some of the characters were based on.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I hope to shed light on what it feels like to be severely depressed. To give a voice to a disease that is so difficult to empathise with unless you are actually experiencing yourself. I hope that it will give friends and families an understanding and therefore the tools to deal with loved ones who suffer from a mental illness.
How would you describe yourself as a writer?
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much work it takes to publicize your book once it’s done. There are a lot of books out there and it’s quite a challenge to work out how to make my novel stand out above the rest.
What message do you want to convey to your readers?
Happiness doesn’t come from being richer, thinner or more beautiful. True happiness comes from a place within.
How do you choose what to write about?
I choose whatever is important to me. If I am passionate about something, I write better.
What books are on your to read list?
I like to read whatever I find lying around. It means I end up reading a great variety of genres. But I just got an ereader so I’m looking forward to reading a bunch of classics on it, like Virgil’s The Aeneid, Sherlock Holmes and Brave New World.
Has having a writing career always been your dream?
It was always my dream when I was a child and then again when I was in my twenties. I lost interest a bit in my teens.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Ask everyone, who is willing, to read your work and give you feedback. Don’t take the feedback personally and be hurt by the negative comments. Instead use that feedback to make your story even better.
Don’t give up. To get good at something you have to make lots of mistakes. It’s ok if your writing is terrible in the beginning. If you keep going and going, even when you’re exhausted, eventually you’ll succeed in creating something you can really be proud of.
What is your writing process? How do you feed your writing muse?
I am a daydreamer. I wait for inspiration to come to me, letting ideas percolate in my mind until at last it all starts to make sense. I also play a lot of spider solitaire. When I am actually writing I need to listen to music.
Within the next five years what stage do you expect to be in your career?
I hope I will be inspiring people go out and really make the most of their lives.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to be outside. I live in Shanghai now, and I really miss the ocean and the mountains.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a website www.fightingtheshadows.com Anyone can contact me there.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book is still be created. It will start with the funeral of a really great person and it will be totally different from Arabelle’s Shadows.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Everything in Arabelle's life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she's even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.
Fleur Gaskin is the author of Arabelle's Shadows. As a teenager Fleur suffered from a severe depression and for two years thought about suicide daily. At the age of twenty Fleur left her home in New Zealand to become an international model.
These days Fleur lives in Shanghai, China with her fiancé. She is currently working on her second novel.
Review 5 out of 5 stars
A special thank you to the author for providing me with a free e copy of the book. If you`re looking for a book that deals with the real issues such as depression in the glamorous world of modeling than you`ve found it. Gaskin gives first hand accounts of dealing with depression told in a journal form. I enjoyed the honesty and rawness of this book. Although the end is not a sappy love story. You walk away feeling informed and cheering for Arabelle to find peace. If you`re looking for grit and honesty, you`ve found it in Arabelles Shadows.