Therapy and escapism hide beneath the dark in author’s paranormal tales

Words and photo by Tristan Ovington.

We all have a dark side but some of us revel in it a little more than others.
By day, 54-year-old JA Higgins is an NHS audit facilitator, but by night they write thrilling stories exploring dark, paranormal themes.
“At my workplace in the NHS, some patients have told me they can’t believe I could write such dark stories with such adult themes as mental health, abuse and trauma,” says JA. “They are so surprised, because I seem so nice!”
Reflecting on how her writing career began, JA says that they have been writing for 30 years, from their 20s onwards.
“I have always loved storytelling. In my primary school we were read to every week and no books were off limits to us.
“As a child, when I watched a film or read a book I always wondered what happened next to the characters, as if they had their own lives.
“When I was older, I wrote several short stories for competitions but eventually decided to self-publish some novels. In my 40s. “I did a course on how to write a novel and my mentor Sue Moorcroft was brilliant. She taught me that it can be terrifying trying to wait for a lit agent so it’s better to just publish your own work.
“And since then I have never looked back.
Despite the dark themes, she writes as therapy for herself and readers.
“Reading is escapism, allowing you to not think about the real world’s problems. Books provide some pain and difficult situations, but there is usually a happy ending.
“This is important for me because I want to send the message that there can always be hope at the end of the tunnel, in fiction and reality.

Finding Ruby, one of the author’s books

Finding Ruby, one of the author’s books

So, where does the writer get
their inspiration? “Salisbury inspires all my books. I love architecture, old buildings and history.
“One of my books was based on The Old Manor and another in an old building in Churchfields.
“I also touch on Grovely Woods and the myth of the Hansel Sisters that druids often visit.
“For new writers, it can be scary and you may not want people to read your novel. But if you are worried in this way, it means you are doing a good job of writing that will feel vulnerable and heartfelt.
“Never give up and don’t be scared to share your art.”

Insta: higgins_author, all novels available on Amazon

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