Wednesday 14 March 2018

An Evening with Author Lucy Nichol

The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well. (Anna Foster)

Last week I attended the launch event for Lucy Nichol’s new book A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes, published by Trigger Press, at Waterstones bookshop in my home city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

My first contact with Trigger Press was in August 2017 when I was introduced to Stephanie Cox by author Anne Goodwin. I had met Anne in 2015 at the launch event for her first novel, Sugar and Snails. Stephanie reviews books for her blog Words Are My Craft. I asked if she’d consider reviewing our book, and she said yes! (You can read her fabulously detailed and insightful review here.)

Stephanie is Assistant Copy Editor at Trigger Press which specialises in mental health titles. I began following Trigger Press on Twitter (@trigger_press), as well as some of their authors including Lucy Nichol and Karen Manton. (Karen recently guested here at Gum on My Shoe, sharing her story and talking about her book Searching For Brighter Days: Learning to Manage My Bipolar Brain.)

I learned of Lucy’s book launch back in January on the Waterstones website. The description intrigued me and I booked my ticket.

An Evening with Author Lucy Nichol

Join Radio Newcastle’s Anna Foster in conversation with Lucy Nichol, author of new book A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes: Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas. A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes is a moving and funny account of Lucy Nichol’s journey through mental illness and recovery, told through the lens of mental health stereotypes and reflected in the media of the time. In telling her own story, Lucy has been able to claw herself back from the grips of her anxiety and tackle important issues surrounding mental health as a whole. She is a dedicated writer and mental health campaigner.

I arrived at the venue thirty minutes or so before it was scheduled to start. Lucy hadn’t arrived yet but Anna was sitting at the front. Taking a deep breath I walked over and introduced myself. (Note: Martin simply doesn’t do things like introduce himself to famous BBC radio presenters—except apparently he does now!) Anna is an absolute delight! We talked about my friendship with Fran, our book, social media, and my interview a couple of years ago on the Mentally Sound show for Gravity Radio NE.

The venue was full by the time Caroline from Waterstones kicked things off. Anna explained how she and Lucy had first met several years ago and then talked to Lucy about her experiences with mental illness (anxiety and panic attacks) and stigma, and how she came to write her book.

Lucy comes across as utterly genuine and honest, and has a great sense of humour (and a delightful singing voice!) She read the final chapter from her book and fielded questions from the audience. These included questions on the prevalence of mental illness these days compared to in the past, the importance of self-care, and whether mental illness helps make a person more compassionate.

Lucy said that when she is doing okay her lived experience helps her empathise with others. But when she is not doing well she needs all her focus to deal with what she is going through. I found myself nodding as she was saying this, because it is how Fran is with her own mental health.

Once the questions were over, Lucy stayed to sign copies of her book. I had a copy of High Tide, Low Tide for her, which she accepted graciously. (Hope you enjoy it, Lucy!)

All too soon, the event was over and I made my way home, inspired by Lucy’s story and the general spirit of courage and determination to counter the stigma and discrimination that sadly is still all too prevalent. I look forward to reading Lucy’s book and reviewing it.

You can contact Lucy Nichol on Twitter (@LucyENichol). Her book, A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes: Naming And Shaming Mental Health Stigmas, is available on Amazon and from Trigger Press. You can find Anna Foster on Twitter (@Ladyannafoster) and on the BBC Newcastle radio breakfast show.


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