Author Elizabeth Jade
Elizabeth Jade is a children’s author and animal lover.
‘Akea – The Power of Destiny’ is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon or via www.elizabethjade.org, where you can keep up to date with Elizabeth through her blog or download the first chapter of the next book in the series.
1. Tell us about yourself and your work
I always knew I had a unique take on life, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I was diagnosed with Aspergers. I was among the last individuals to be diagnosed with this specifically, before the general diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) became the preferred term.
On the one hand, this new term makes sense because there are many overlapping difficulties within the autism spectrum. For example, I also struggle with sensory processing disorder and OCD. On the other hand, I dislike the term ‘disorder’ when referring to autism. It gives the impression that I have a problem that needs fixing, and while I would love to be rid of the social anxiety, OCD and depression, there are certain aspects of my autism that really help me as an author of animal based stories.
My heightened senses of smell and hearing help me to understand the way dogs, and thus wolves, are affected by these which is helpful with my current series. My compulsive multi-tasking means I can research, write, and watch YouTube videos at the same time. In addition, I am capable of writing a book series completely out of consecutive order.
2. Tell us about your journey to this point
I wrote my first children’s book at the age of 14, when I began to struggle with depression and anxiety, and I found it a useful distraction. A few years later, my parents approached a new freelance agent on my behalf. He helped to polish my manuscript and began approaching publishers with it. I had one very nice response which said how much they wished they could publish it, but unfortunately they had recently published an animal based book and it would be unfair to the author to publish my book as well.
Due to an unfortunate run of mishaps, I lost my agent. Again my parents helped me, but this time we found a small publisher willing to take me on. My first book was published in 2017 around the time of my autism diagnosis. Since then, I’ve been struggling to come to grips with the whole marketing, social media, and write more books at the same time ‘thing’. I may be a compulsive multi-tasker when it comes to writing and researching, but my autism and social anxiety make combining this with marketing and other necessary things almost too hard to handle. I am immensely grateful for the support of my family, without whom I probably wouldn't have got this far.
3. Tell us about your book
‘Akea – The Power of Destiny’ is a husky/wolf story told through the eyes of the animals. It is a story of self-discovery, loyalty and hope; a story to show that being different doesn't mean you can't belong. While the target age is children age 7-11, younger children will enjoy having it read to them, and it will also appeal to animal lovers of all ages. Each chapter begins with a pencil illustration which, along with the cover, really adds to the story.
Akea begins the story feeling out of place among the pack of sled dogs she was born into, and ends the story feeling at home in her role as a husky Wolf Queen. Along the way she encounters betrayal, loss and love, and there are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing.
Telling the story through the eyes of the animals allows you to feel each part of her incredible journey, and I have been really encouraged by the many adult readers comments and reviews on Amazon, as well as those from children.
4. What are you working on now?
I have been beavering away on a follow up story called ‘Akea – His Mother’s Son’. This dual narrative follows Akea as she deals with her son’s capture and the threat of a rival pack, and it also follows her son Salvador as he adjusts to a life in captivity only to see it turned upside down when he experiences dreams of impending doom for his family.
The manuscript is finished and I am waiting for the remaining illustrations to come in. The ones I have seen so far are amazing and really capture the mood for each chapter. It’s a perfect sequel to ‘The Power of Destiny’, but can be equally enjoyed as a standalone. I am hoping to have this ready for publication towards the end of this year, but the first chapter is available for download from my website now.
5. How do you select the names for your characters?
It is important to me for a character’s name to mean something and for their personality or role in life to be represented by their name, even if the meaning of the name is not provided in the storyline. I will spend a lot of time researching names and their meanings. For the Akea series, most of the names are Russian, along with the word ‘volk’ which is Russian for wolf. While the narrative uses the word wolf, the dialogue always refers to them as ‘volk’.
6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
In a way, I already have superpowers. In addition to my compulsive multi-tasking and ability to write a series out of chronological order, I can also understand how animals are feeling and help them to become calmer. Oh, and I can smell colours.
While being autistic does make life some areas of life a lot harder to deal with than others, the acute hearing and sense of smell it has given me, make it easier for me to understand what it feels like to be a husky or wolf. However, if I could communicate directly with animals rather than just being sensitive to their emotions, that would be amazing.