Welcome John S. McFarland
1.What is your mental health issue?
I have been depressed for most of my life. I have tried various meds and therapies since I was in my early 20’s. It’s an ongoing process. I don’t expect to ever reach a place where it’s all behind me.
2. How long have you been writing fiction? Tell us about your career so far.
My first attempt at fiction was when I was about 9. I tried to write a novel about Hercules. I published short fiction, plays and magazine stuff starting in my 20’s. My work has appeared in National Lampoon, The Twilight Zone Magazine, A Treasury of American Horror Stories and elsewhere. My first novel, The Black Garden, was published to universal praise in 2010. My Young Reader novel about Bigfoot, Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom, was just published by New Babel Books.
3. How has mental ill health helped your writing?
Perhaps it has given me insights into key areas of character development. The writing itself is therapeutic. It has given me a positive thing to focus on. A marriage was breaking up when I was writing The Black Garden. I looked forward to going into that world every day with those characters. Annette was just loads of fun to write.
4. What advice do you have for other writers with mental health issues.
Understand that your issues are key to universal truths about human nature and exploit that in your development of characters and their interactions.
Email: John S. McFarland
A little boy lost in the woods is saved by a sasquatch mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome…Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom, is a richly illustrated, slightly ironic young reader novel in the best tradition of Roald Dahl. It is funny, poignant, wry and character-driven, as well as quickly-plotted and suspenseful.
Evan Nestor Bettancourt, is a small-for-his-age eight year old slow to realize he is not a little kid anymore. He is imaginative, curious, and warily fascinated by the monsters in his story books. He is also particularly selfish and spoiled. His father, a high school biology teacher in a mountain town in northern California, encourages his son to see the practical, scientific side of life, and not worry about the fanciful creatures which live in his imagination. On a family outing, Evan Nestor is lost in the woods, and just as he starts to wonder if he will ever see his parents again, he meets one of those creatures: Annette, a sasquatch mom curious about the odd ways of humans, and missing her own child who has grown up and gone off on his own.
Pursued by a sweets-loving cryptozoologist who wants to reveal Annette’s existence to the world, and a hungry mountain lion, the unlikely pair make their way to a spot where Annette knows Evan Nestor will be safely found by his own kind. What they learn about sharing, empathy, and each other along the way, prepares them for many adventures to come.
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Many thanks John! And thanks to all readers, for your incredible support!