A new Yorkton author has launched her debut book: Jessica's Perception.
"This is my first novel," said Marsha Meadows, a pseudonym for the author. "The inspiration for it came from parts of my own life and having been a (hair) stylist for 37-years. My styling chair became a psychologist's chair. Many clients confide in their stylist and I kept their stories lodged in a box in my brain titled 'for future use in a book'."
Meadows, who noted she chose to write under a new name to add some added security no one in the book is recognizable even as amalgams of many people she has known, said the material stayed in the box for many years, but she knew one day she'd explore a long held interest in writing.
"I had always excelled in English class in high school and took a creative writing course by correspondence while still in high school but no specific training to speak of," said Meadows who grew up some 30-miles west of Yorkton, leaving the area in 1973, living in several cities before returning in 2007 to be closer to family.
Meadows said ultimately she is not sure what it was that actually had her sitting down at her computer keyboard.
"There was no specific one idea that led me to write this novel," she said. "I have always held a great interest in doing so. I just kept tossing their stories around in my mind like blending them in a blender and created a story I wanted to write.
"From start to finish I think I spent maybe eight months. There was no first draft. I would write some and read it and change if I felt it needed changing, with the most difficult aspect being the time to just stay with it on a full time basis.
"I work in the health system almost full time and still acquire stories from friends that will be used in future books as this Jessica's Perception is the first of a trilogy."
With a busy schedule Meadows said she tried to make her novel part of her weekly routine.
"I treated the writing process in two ways," she said. "On my days off work I treated it as if I went to work and made as many full days of writing as I could.
"I also was often struck with the muse in the middle of many nights and just could not sleep so got up in the wee hours of the morning and typed to my hearts content. Some stretches of writing would go on every day but the odd time I would be detained by life in general and have to take extended breaks being most anxious to get back to the novel but one does have to work to live."
Ultimately Meadows said it simply became time to tell the story she had so long wanted to pen.
"The inspiration for telling the story I have told and continue to tell comes from my heart. I have known and listened to so very many people who have troubles and woes and feel so alone with them," she said. "I want some of them to read this novel and learn they are not alone and are not the only one as the book tells a story of a young girl with many similar troubles as theirs might be or might have been …
"The young girl's story starts in the mid-'50's, so I drew my characters from the way I saw most people living in and around me. Even then as a child I saw and absorbed stories that stayed with me. I had no idea they would end up on the pages of a book then but they found their way into it all the same. The setting changes many times through her life so not one setting is in place just the places I imagine she should have been."
A book release delves into the story in more detail.
"'Jessica's Perception' tells the tale of a young girl growing through her teens creating her own personal protection. She has many hardships to grow through and no one to really talk to about the way much of life causes pains and often traumas for her. In an era where children were seen and not heard, her protective mechanism is most depended upon. Her life was infiltrated with unkind people and those who held themselves aloof from young Jessica and her family being they were the somewhat poor country folk.
"At times Jessica finds small ways of 'getting back' at some of the unkindness and other times she regresses into her own self just to make the day. Maybe some of the actions that befell her were not meant to be perceived that way but yet maybe she is right in her judgement of the pain she feels due to the beguiling ways of those about her.
"Will she be able to protect herself with the shroud she creates? Will she remain a kind person or perhaps grow to be a sorceress herself?"
When asked about her greatest challenge with the book, Meadows said it was not the writing as much as the work which followed.
"The most difficult part truly was learning how and understanding how a book is published, but I had the good fortune to know a well read author who somewhat guided me in the right directions to have the job done," she said, adding she chose to self publish her work.
Meadows added, "… the biggest challenge was and still is finding the time to keep writing and the courage to keep doing it."
But Meadows remains at the keyboard.
"I am working on part two — Jessica Awakens — and do so want it to be ready and out by spring of 2014."
Meanwhile Meadows will be focusing on marketing her first work, including setting up readings, and readying to market the book at the Yorkton Farmer's Market leading up to Christmas