Article published on August 17, 2017.
When I was nine, I was sent out of class for writing a first person adventure story where the lead character died half-way through. I was told I was stupid and you couldn’t have stories that ended in this way. From then on, I wanted to be an author.
I think I was about eleven when I discovered Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. It utterly blew my mind and from then on all I thought about were stories with twists at the end. One day perhaps…
My life, from seventeen, has been a mixture of family suicide and mental health issues. I had a perfectly happy upbringing with very stable middle-class parents. I am unsure where the mental health issues came from, but they whipped in like a thunderstorm and before I knew it my brother was in hospital having miraculously survived a jump from a multi-storey car park.
In the meantime, my sister was diagnosed as bi-polar and my life started to steadily unfurl. It may have been environmental, I’m not sure, but my depression became all consuming. My first novel, The Radio, was pretty much to be my legacy. The unfinished business that I always told friends and family I would undertake. “I will write a novel one day…”
My brother took his own life in 2004 and I began writing seriously around that time. The feelings and emotions I felt whilst releasing all of my years of stored thoughts to manuscript were indescribable. The words flooded out of me and in doing so began to change my viewpoint on the value of life.
Since that time we’ve gone on to make a documentary short (“Hidden”) about mental health and the value of writing, and I am undertaking Open Discussions on mental health telling my story to help others. Profits from my third novel, A Tiny Feeling of Fear are all going to charity we are setting up to ensure that people have someone to talk to face-to-face should they need to.
We have to remove the stigma – too many people are suffering and feel so alone or so ashamed they’d rather take their own lives than be able to speak about what is within them.
And so, I am a writer and I seriously do want to change the world…
M Jonathan Lee
About the author
M Jonathan Lee is based in Yorkshire and is the author of several award-nominated novels. He began writing seriously in 2006 shortly after the suicide of his brother, Simon, who had been struggling with depression. Jonathan is a tireless campaigner for mental health awareness. He has written for Mind and Rethink charities and has a regular blog on the Huffington Post. He is divorced and now remarried, between them they have five children, two cats and a dog.
Follow M Jonathan Lee on Twitter @MJonathanLee
For fans of Grief is a Thing with Feathers and Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected comes a story about a family haunted by an ancient curse.
Following the tragic death of Stuart Perkins, his younger brother Ian moves into the family home with his wife and young son.
Grief and loss hang heavy over the house and Stuart’s death has prompted Ian to delve into the rumours of a mysterious family curse which has allegedly been the cause of several tragedies in the Perkins family history. Ian becomes consumed with his research and is determined to uncover the truth before it’s too late.
M Jonathan Lee deals sensitively with issues of grief and depression in this intriguing, intelligently written novel which ends with a heart-stopping twist!
Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee, published on 27 July, 2017 by Hideaway Fall, in paperback
About the publisher
Hideaway Fall are a new independent publishing house based in Yorkshire. They aim to support local and Northern based authors who write kooky, unique and astonishing fiction.