I’ve been writing fiction since I was six years old and I wrote my first novel at age 13. I have a keen interest in horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially those with a paranormal/supernatural tone. I have a lifelong interest in ghosts and the unexplained.
I live in Oxfordshire and am married with two beautiful children.
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The Mental Muse Questionnaire
What is your mental health issue?
I suffer with low mood and depression.
How long have you been writing fiction? Tell us about your career so far.
I’ve been writing since childhood, but didn’t publish until 2013. I had a long fear of rejection and it prevented me from achieving my goal. I also managed to release a handful of short stories in that time as well. Getting my debut novel out helped spur me to write and release a follow-up a year later, but my depression manifested in the worst way possible afterwards, and it’s been a struggle to write consistently since.
How has mental ill health helped your writing?
Writing is my superpower, and it’s one of the only things I truly feel that I’m good at. I’ve written sporadically in the last year, but seeing and hearing positive feedback is helpful, albeit providing only brief satisfaction.
And how has it not?
Writing with depression has mostly been hard. I’ve recently started to feel better about myself and begin to believe again, and my plan is to project my experiences and state of mind onto the protagonist of my next novel. I feel it will help me overcome my darkest times and provide catharsis.
What advice do you have for other writers with mental health issues.
My advice is to keep believing, and to document what you go through. It’s a horrible and lonely place to be at times, but if you can do one thing, keep writing.
Mark. Enforcer. Just plain old Stu. Augustus Baltazar is a Paranormal Investigator with more skeletons than space in the cupboard. He only has best friend Mike to depend on, until beautiful brunette Jenny threatens to rattle his bones. DI Joe Merrick is on his last life with the Police force, caught between a case he is struggling to solve and a DS with a different opinion. Out of all this, what piece of the puzzle does Mike’s girlfriend Sera hold? And just what are the sinister shadow and the man on fire that haunt them all?
Inspired by a lifelong interest in comic books and superheroes, Augustus Baltazar took six years to complete, and was originally conceived as a series of short stories that would have formed one big compendium.
Contains extreme violence, frequent bad language and scenes of a sexual nature.
Reviewers have so far said:
Neil Bursnoll writes really well. He definitely knows how to string a story together, and a lot of times I was impressed that a debut novel was so well written.
A few things really stick out for me; the characters and the pacing. Both are great. All of the characters have their own distinct personalities, no matter how major or minor they may be. There are no cardboard characters or fillers and the diverse relationships are well written.
I loved the narrative style of this novel – descriptive prose always works best when you are reading a story of this type – it allows you to see things from a birds eye point of view and take in the whole scenario with each chapter. Moving along at a great pace with some real humour along the way, its an interesting world to live in for a while to be sure. Dark at times with a lovely little mystery at its heart, your mind will constantly turn over the possibilities whilst reading.
This short story, A Frightful Encounter, is now free across all digital platforms.
The story is available through ….
I fucked up at work today. Well, I actually fucked up two weeks ago, but it was only spotted today. I’d pasted something into the wrong account and I hadn’t realised. It was pointed out to me today and fixed. No-one died. No-one was horribly maimed. No-one lost their job. It was simple human error. I accepted it as one of those things and moved on. I at least tried to.
I am depressed.
The feeling gnawed at me. The idea that I’d fucked up when all I am is human. I’m not perfect. I’ve worked there nearly 12 years. I can fuck up once in a while. But the sensation wouldn’t cease, no matter how much I reassured myself. I knew I was above it. I’m only human. I can make mistakes.
I am depressed.
The knot was constricting me. It was getting tighter. I could feel it clouding my judgement. It wanted to win. I had the higher ground, I had the advantage. But I was letting my opponent win at a game I was ahead in. I knew I was on the verge of throwing away an unassailable lead.
I am not depressed.
I took as many breaths as I needed. I shut out the world. I closed all the open doors. I shut my eyes a few times. I exhaled deep breaths. No-one noticed what I was doing. I needed the time to control it, as I had been trained to. It probably lasted a minute. It felt like five. I had won the battle.
The war is a different monster.
I am depressed.
If you are an author/writer who experiences mental health issues who would like to share how this impacts you professionally/personally, then please click the following link to download The Mental Muse questions and instructions. Then, get your answers back to me using MENTAL MUSE ANSWERS as the email subject header. I’ll be in touch.
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Thank you Neil, for being this month’s brave & bold mental muse!
And thanks to all readers for your continued support.