Today, I had the opportunity to sit with Avril Swanson, to talk about my book, The Night Birds. Avril is my mother, and she is portrayed as a character in the book. It was interesting to talk to her about her view on the story and her unique perspective, as a woman and as my mother.
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The Night Birds is a story about finding balance. Syden is a young girl who suffers from migraines and through her pain management, she cannot decipher what is real and what is not. When her father suddenly dies, nothing in her life seems logical and when she decides to leave her home town, figuring out life on her own, seems impossible because she is slowly going insane.
But what if you don’t know you were sick? How does one measure illness against the rest of society?
With many twists and turns, emotional ups and downs, The Night Birds takes you on a deeply emotional journey. Avril, my mother, opens up about her own experiences and we talk about how our relationship is portrayed in this novel, reflecting on our friendship now. I am deeply appreciative of my mother taking the time to chat with me, for her acceptance of my artistic expression of our past, and a willingness to move forward with me, with love and acceptance.
My mother grew up in England and has two sisters. Her father passed away when she was the same age as I was when my own father passed. This fact always lingered in my mind and is now something that bonds us.
Mum talked to me about the moment her father died, and her own mother telling her not to cry, that 'Big girls don't cry!'. This obviously made a significant impact on her own upbringing, as well as in the way she raised her own children. We talked of the correlations between the book's story line and our own lives and how my perception as a child shaped a new version of events; ones that helped me survive trauma in the midst of being raised by a woman who herself, felt as though she had no voice.
Mum said she loved the book and in her own words, she told me that she,
"Read it in two days because she couldn't put it down!"
The Night Birds is a deeply personal adventure through adolescence, loss, coming of age, and love. It draws from my mother's emotional absence, my father's death, and the loss of my best friend, who is portrayed in this book as the character called, Tristan.
It was my aim to reach out to other girls, who feel lost in their youth. To let them know that questioning oneself for the purpose of growth is a good thing, That being hurt is your body telling you that it cares, being lost is your life wanting to find its own place in the world, and that being confused is a form of self-discovery.
It is just as important to hear those around you, as it is to listen to yourself. Because in the end, your emotions make you who you are and shape who you will become in life. It's important to reflect, just as Syden, the character in The Night Birds did, and to realize as early as possible, that you are only in charge of your own destiny. Despite how those around you try to shape you, there are still ways of controlling your environment.
I hope The Night Birds reaches out to people and touches people, like it has for my mother. I hope this book makes you smile, cry, and want to look within to find a completeness and resolve that, if you are willing to see, you CAN find for yourself.
The Night Birds is available at Lulu.com and Limelight Publishing.com