• The Villages Mag

Katy meets... Cara Jasmine Bradley

In this edition we meet Cara Jasmine Bradley, a local author, living in Holmes Chapel, whose passion for writing goes back to childhood. Cara found escape from life within the art of writing children’s fiction, and produced her first ‘novel’ at the age of seven. Although Pipsqueak the Pixie never quite took off, Cara never lost her ambition and passion for writing. Her new book Skin & Bones is her first young adult novel to be published.

I came up with the idea for Skin & Bone while on the train to work last February, and the characters and plot quickly formulated in my mind. Had I not had a Christmas wedding to plan, I feel I would have completed this work a lot sooner!

Combining themes of mental illness with friendship, love, travel, music and complex family dynamics, Skin & Bone is a heart warming read, telling the individual stories of outcast teenagers Jamie and Grace, before their troubled paths cross and their tales intertwine.

Skin & Bone was the hardest book to write, but at the same time, the most emotive and inspiring. Walking in the shoes of my main character as she battles against anorexia was particularly difficult for me, having suffered from the illness myself.

While contending with my own eating disorder, I was disappointed to find a lack of fiction on the subject. There were many non-fiction books screaming the harrowing facts and figures from every page, but these did not offer me the bolt-hole I desired.

While it is imperative for there to be a range of informative guides on subjects like such, I feel it is also equally as important for an escapism in fictitious work to be offered as an alternative. I wanted to provide a different approach to break up the often overwhelming and startling real literature of formal guides. Sometimes, a few hours lost in a story is something we all crave and require as part of our therapy.

Skin & Bone explores a multitude of complications that can present through a variation of mental illnesses.

Male suicide and depression was something I was keen to highlight, given ongoing media coverage. I carried out extensive research on the various topics featured throughout, and used my own past experiences with anorexia to promote a deeper understanding into the condition.

One aspect of eating disorders I was really keen to explain is the assumption that the illness is purely based around a desire to lose weight. I hope Grace’s story and the motives centred around her weight loss and suffering shed a new light on the often overlooked details and triggers of eating disorders.

I didn’t want Skin & Bone to be categorised entirely as a ‘love story.’

I have relished building the book up around Grace and Jamie’s relationships – on both sides of the spectrum - within their families and friendship groups, as well as around their very own blossoming attraction.

Watching my main characters develop in confidence as they embark upon their journeys into adulthood, striving to leave the demons of their past behind was something I relished.

The Jamie and Grace seen at the end of the book are very different to the pair initially seen within the first half of the novel, and it was a pleasure to capture and pen their growth.

Unexpected humour trails loosely throughout the book, often when it is least expected, as while I wanted to make the topics as realistic and raw as possible to of further education on the issues, I also wanted a somewhat light-hearted element to prevail.

Skin & Bones, by Cara Jasmine Bradley is available now from Amazon


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