Perthes Disease is, in layman’s terms, is a disorder which results in inadequate blood supply to the femoral head. It usually occurs in children. When I was diagnosed, in around 1995, my left femoral head was in seven pieces. I was seen at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, but since little was known about the disorder back then, we were advised to go with the “wait and see” method, rather than down the surgery route. My femoral head gradually pieced itself back together, over the course of about 10 years, but it meant my movement was limited as I was growing up, and my activities were restricted.
Little is still known about this disorder. I’m not sure how the methods have progressed since I was a child, but it seems that many people who did not receive surgery have had trouble since their late teens. My initial prognosis was that I would require a hip replacement by the age of 25 (my current age!), but a couple of years ago, I was told that actually that wouldn’t happen until around 55, so just a little bit earlier than the general population.
It’s great to work with other people – they put their own spin on things, making the blog more unique and refreshing. It’s good to have some variety, and everyone has their strong points. But I definitely had to manage my expectations when I first expanded! I’m usually rather quick, writing several blog posts a week, but others work at a different pace, and that took some getting used to!
This year you added a new feature on your blog, What’s a Girl Gotta Do. Can you tell us a little bit about what it is and why you added it? What are your future plans for this feature?
This feature is all about sexism within the medical world. I’ve been asking to be sterilised for over five years, to no avail (most recently, my GP simply said he hopes I’ll change my mind, and that was the end of the conversation). I’ve found several doctors to be uncooperative when it comes to women’s healthcare. I’m currently suffering with Bartholin’s cysts, and my GP said that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get the glands removed, as it may cause difficulty during sex. It’s this kind of thing that really hinders women, and is just one more example of things we have to fight for. There’s definitely a bias against women when it comes to healthcare, and it needs to be addressed. So this feature is documenting my experiences, with the aim of connecting with other women, and building a network.
Your first book, I Ink, Therefore I Am: A Critical Analysis From A Criminological Perspective was a dissertation exploring the negative perceptions of tattoos. What influenced this work and how did it come about?
This book is actually my BSc dissertation. I studied Policing, then moved on to Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies at Plymouth University, graduating in 2014. I decided to explore how the perception of tattoos negatively affects tattooed people because, as a tattooed person, I want to erase such beliefs that all tattooed people are deviant. From ex-criminals to indigenous peoples, tattoos can mean a variety of different things, and they aren’t always negative. My dissertation adviser wasn’t convinced at first, but he soon came round!
Your second book, Weltanschauung, is a group of short stories. What does weltanschauung mean and how does this tie all the short stories together?
‘Weltanschauung’ is a German word for ‘worldview’. All of the stories are written in a way that makes the reader think, and perhaps challenge their long-held perceptions. It’s kind of like Black Mirror, I guess!
You have worked with some pretty big authors and how glowing testimonies on your blog. Who was your favorite interview?
Oh, what a difficult question! I have to admit, I did love interviewing George RR Martin at WorldCon 2014. I had to go to his hotel, which was a yacht! And it was such a pleasure to speak to him. I was so nervous, but he made me feel comfortable, and we ended up chatting about Plymouth and my degree. It was good fun.
What are you working on now?
My next project is Some Girls Do, a YA novel that explores teen rape. This subject has been in the news recently, with a police captain in the US stating that only stranger rape is “abominable”. I want to help erase these misconceptions of what constitutes “real rape”. All rape is real. In Some Girls Do, Jess is out with friends, drunk, and goes off with a guy she’s hooked up with before. But she doesn’t feel too good, and decides that she doesn’t want to have sex, actually. The guy carries on anyway, and, afterwards, snaps a photo of her in an unflattering position, which soon starts circulating on social media. Some Girls Do also explores how social media can affect us, and how insidious cyber-bullying can be.
The story is influenced by something that happened to me as a teenager, so it’s a topic that’s close to my heart. When I was growing up, we were taught that “no means no”, but what happens when you don’t, or can’t, say no?
How do you go about preparing for your interviews?
I always research the interviewee beforehand. I take a look at their social media, and their website, to get an idea of what they do, and to see if I can ask questions that gives us more of an insight into their lives. Preparation is key, for sure.
What advice do you have for those who want to start a book blog?
Just start! Don’t worry about getting loads of followers or writing exclusive content – most writers write simply because they love it. Start writing, and the rest will flow. The Bandwagon is always open to hosting guest writers, so if you want to write but you’re not sure where to start, drop me an email and we can have a chat!
What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
So many things! In my personal life, my career is changing, and I want to jump in with both feet. We’ve also got a couple of trips we want to take, namely a long weekend in Edinburgh in March, which we’re really looking forward to. I’m aiming to get Some Girls Do finished this year, and possibly published, but we’ll see. I’m looking for an artist to design the cover for me, so if anyone’s interested, let me know!
My main goal for this year is to stay on course. I want to stay true to myself and my beliefs, and keep raising awareness, promoting feminist goals, and continue to grow as a person.