This month we were pleased to catch up with MJ Smith, the author of one of our favourite reads this year, Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins. This is a 5 star rated book and it deserves every star with its brutally honest, yet heartwarming account of being diagnosed with a rare illness and the consequences it brings. If you have been touched by chronic illness, you will identify with much he says. The relaxed and humourous style makes the book that could have been difficult to read, a joy to read in one sitting with a cup of tea.
About MJ Smith
In 2013, M J Smith was diagnosed with a rare life threatening genetic disorder that changed his life forever. In his effort to gain knowledge of Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS), it quickly became apparent that there was little in the way of help or awareness.
Being a fond reader, he decided it was time to follow his dreams and pursue his passion for writing. Over the months that followed the diagnosis, M J Smith penned “Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins”. His first novel. But this wasn’t just any novel, this was his story as told through the eyes of David Malarky. It is now used as a tool to spread awareness and in some ways help others in similar situations to show that no matter how few we may be, we are never alone.
Whilst juggling a full-time job and studying for a Bsc (honours) in Health Sciences, M J Smith continues to work on his ultimate dream of releasing a fictional story direct from his own imagination.
What is your favourite book?
I find it hard to answer this as I love many books and not really one title sticks out. Anything that fires up my imagination and takes me deep into another realm. The book I’m currently reading is “Midnight” by Dean Koontz. If I’m honest, I see most books as a work of art, as I know the challenge it can be to actually write one to a point of completion.
Who is your favourite author?
Well, my favourite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I love the way Mr King creates his characters, and the way Mr Koontz makes you visualise his world. These chaps really know how to write. Of course for a little bit of magic I don’t think you can beat a bit of Roald Dahl.
Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?
In a sense yes. When writing “Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins”, it was a deep, emotional experience. Reliving past events that weren’t so pleasant wasn’t the easiest of tasks. In order to keep it light, I wanted to add in a little humour, which seems to have come across well. I have found in many books, especially from the likes of Stephen King there is always an undertone of humour to be found.
Where is your favourite place to read or write?
To read has to be bed. To write, then that’s mostly at some stupid hour of the morning when the rest of the world is asleep, sat at my computer desk. The brain always seems to get the words flowing when the moon is shining high.
When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?
Originally I wasn’t going to publish “”. It started as a tool to help myself come to terms with the diagnosis. However, the more I tapped away at the keyboard, the more of a book it became. After a few people read samples of it, they urged me to get it published. After lots of ummming and arrrggghhhing I took the plunge and released it through Amazon. So far the response has been great, with some fantastic heartfelt messages and some brilliant 5 star reviews.
Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?
Oh yes. I had been wanting to write a novel for years. I tried a few times but never finished. I would have never of guessed that my own story would become my first story!
I think without the diagnosis, I wouldn’t have sat down long enough to get anything written and it would have remained a dream rather reality.
To find out more:
MJ Smith’s book Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins is available at Amazon
Read and follow his blog