HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED… THE ROMANCE NOVEL AND DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS
When I first wrote the book that is now The Missing Pieces of Us about ten years ago, no publisher wanted to know. It’s a romance, but both protagonists have mental health issues and back then that was a real no-no.
I have to say, that hurt. I had written the book after a friend suffered a life-changing breakdown and I wanted to show them – and anyone in a similar position – that there could be happiness and fulfilment further down the line. In the end I published the book myself as The Faerie Tree, and it was really well received by readers and book bloggers – and sold quite a few copies too.
The book, and the crusade for better recognition and treatment of mental health issues remained close to my heart. And over time, things improved. I never lose an opportunity to remind people that depression, anxiety and a whole barrel of other illnesses we label as mental are in fact physical, due to a chemical imbalance in the brain (which is why drugs work to treat them). I am no medical expert, but a wonderful book by Tim Cantopher (who is) explains it all. It’s called Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong and I recommend it unreservedly.
If there was one thing that really changed our attitudes to mental health, it was lockdown. Everything was magnified, people were isolated, and it was OK not to be OK. It didn’t come out of nowhere – it had been building for years and I, for one, was really pleased these issues could be brought out into the open without the fear of stigma.
The book world was changing too, with novels like Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. And in a lockdown world, the appetite for up lit (and in particular characters who battle to achieve the up) was becoming insatiable. Had the time come for The Missing Pieces of Us at last?
I submitted it to just one editor, because having met her a few times, having had a close call on another book, and following her on social media, I felt in my heart it was a book for her. And I was right.
The basic premise of The Missing Pieces of Us is that Robin and Izzie meet twenty years after their brief affair, only to find their memories of it are completely different. Robin’s world spun on its head when his mother died and he was unable to cope. But over the years he has learnt to. Now it’s Izzie’s turn to deal with grief after her husband’s heart attack. To forge a future together they will need to deal with the past – but how can they when there seem to be two pasts, not one?
The Missing Pieces of Us will be published by One More Chapter as an ebook on 21st July, and as a paperback in October. Find out more here: https://harpercollins.co.uk/products/the-missing-pieces-of-us-eva-glyn