Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Melancholy Mind: An Interview & Book Review


Being a blogger, I'm very lucky that I get to speak to, and interact with people from all walks of life, who have different stories, and experiences to tell me about, and educate me on.

One lovely lady that I've known for quite a while now is Charlene McElhinney. She's a Mental Health advocate, who recently published her very own book called Melancholy Mind! She poured her heart, and soul into it, and as she's a friend of mine, I obviously want to support her, and her successes in any way that I can. That's why I thought I'd do a little interview with her about the book, so that all of you can get to know her better, and hopefully become convinced to buy your own copy! Now, onto the questions...

Hi Charlene! It's so lovely to have you here on my blog today. Why don't you start by introducing yourself?

Hello! It’s always an honour to feature on other bloggers’ platforms; thank you for having me! I’m Charlene McElhinney, I just recently turned 21 years old and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland.

For those who may not know, what inspired you to start writing Melancholy Mind? Were your own Mental Health struggles the main reason, or were there others too?

Melancholy Mind was originally written as part of my college course graded unit. I only planned on writing an anthology of around 5 poems, when I got to 60+ I thought: Why not self-publish a book? I began researching into it and thought it was feasible. Definitely something I could to if I put my mind to it. It was a long and challenging process but I learned loads on the journey and it was ever so rewarding to put my book out there in to the world. Added to this, my mental health struggles were the real reason and inspiration behind the book. I’ve battled with Depression & Anxiety for a few years now and my main outlet has always been writing.

What was the inspiration behind the name? Did you intentionally choose for it to be alliterative or did it just turn out the way?

The alliterative title was intentional. I had always loved the word ‘melancholy’ as I can resonate with it a lot. My mind is always full of depressive, melancholy, thoughts (hence Melancholy Mind). I thought it was short, straightforward and simply effective. It just popped in to mind randomly one time and I thought that’s it, that’s the one.

The book itself is split up into 9 chapters. Were they fairly easy to come up with or did you specifically wish to talk about all the subjects at some point?

As a whole, they were fairly easy to come up with, as it was taking the reader through my mental health journey step by step. The chapters just came naturally. However, the actual content within these chapters was not so easy. I drained myself writing this book. I took myself back through some of the worst times in my life, and put myself back in that mind frame, to be able to produce the poetry. It was a very trying time and I felt like giving up on many occasions but I just soldiered through. And I’m so glad I did. My book has helped me on my down days, given me opportunities and the most important ‘reward’ of all is being able to reach out to other MH sufferers and help them. The kind words, the reviews and the messages have helped me so much and have made the whole journey 100% worth it.

Talk to us about some of the incredible opportunities you have had since the publication date!
I've featured in several papers, my local paper ‘The Cumbernauld News’ and ‘The Evening Times’, I’ve been on BBC Radio Scotland (to mainly talk about letter writing but also to plug my book), I’ve received an abundance of messages from people who have took comfort from my book and have wanted to reach out to me to tell me how much it’s helped them, I’ve been featured on so many blogs in regards to reviews of my book and Q&A’s about the background to it (just like this!)… it’s just been fabulous! It’s been 6 months now since I published my book and put it out there in the world and it’s honestly one of the proudest moments of my life.
Now that you are a published author, can you see yourself releasing more books? Maybe something other than poetry...?
Definitely. I’d love to. It’s just finding the time at the moment. I’ve just started my first year at University studying Creative Writing, Journalism, English & Law and it’s going to be a very time consuming course, for sure. I’m also trying to upkeep my blog and all of my social media platforms as well as letter writing to over 30 pen pals so I do an awful lot of writing at the moment. When I get free time, I tend to like to read or go to the pictures etc, however when a good idea pops in to my mind I take note! I’d love to sit and write a novel. That’s next on my to-do-list. Now that I know how to self-publish, too, it’s something I could see myself doing again!..
Are you going to buy Melancholy Mind for yourself? Have you ever heard about it before?
Lots of love always,





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