This post is revisited from my old blog Lock Stock & Barrel. I am migrating (one blog post at a time) over to WordPress because apparently it’s pretty cool…and I agree!


Wix blog post dated 21st January 2012:-


Where did you get YOUR imagination?

In light of the recent traumatic events that my family have suffered, it’s a slightly more serious post this time. I can do serious just you see if I can’t. Don’t worry it won’t last long I’ll be back to loopy quicker than you can click your fingers. Hopefully, quicker than you can hit the back button!

I have wondered at it many times before but, with the shocking news that my sister and niece were on the Costa Concordia when it hit rocks and ran aground, my thoughts suddenly marveled at the complexity of the mind. Exploring all the possibilities of what could be happening to them when all contact was lost got me thinking, where did I get my imagination? There will be heaps of biological and psychological research on the matter but this post isn’t intended to be academic, it’s just a bit of a muse that’s all.

So, is imagination genetic or the product of experience?   

Taking a look at my two children, I like to call them Chalk and Cheese, it is clear that there must be some genetic link to the power and depth of thought. I have a very vivid imagination but, unfortunately, fantasy is not always fun. The ‘What if syndrome can play havoc with your plans, your decisions, your mood, your dreams and in some cases even your life. I have suffered frightful recurring dreams that I can remember way back to when I was five. When I am stressed I dream that I am awake and it often takes quite a few ‘awakenings’ to get me back again. I dream in colour and, for anyone who wondered what it was like to hit the bottom in a falling dream, it REALLY hurts! I have had doctors sitting on my bed, wardrobe doors flying open, huge hands trying to smother me and Hitler declaring that I am his Eva Braun. My imagination has been cruel at times but of course it has also led to good things, like the writing of twenty-four books and the publishing and sale of one of them. I intend to bring more of my work into the world but I shall build my house of creativity just one book at a time. There are a multitude of reasons why someone might decide to write but for me, first and foremost, it was about liberating my mind and finding a decent voice to channel it through.

Although genetics probably play a big role in imagination I believe that it is life’s experiences that have the greatest impact. Life threw some pretty difficult things my way when I was little and at the age of ten a momentous shift occurred, challenging everything I knew and relied upon. Despite trying to control things with quirky little behaviours, I couldn’t physically alter a thing. With all the internalised emotional turmoil I ended up doing badly at school, education really wasn’t important to me, and I made some pretty bad choices along the way.

Fortunately, as I turned eighteen, my life was about to shift again. I was about to find something stable, secure and enriching. I was about to find a decent job. I managed to get an interview with a legal firm (don’t ask me how, I haven’t a clue) but although I didn’t feel in the slightest bit worthy they offered me the job on the very same day. Luck was on my side for once. I’d left a lech of a boss behind (good riddance) and I was eager to start working on the mental health and criminal law cases that awaited me. The work was often fascinating and disturbing and I loved every minute of it. That firm changed my life and helped me to see that I was capable of more. With the firm’s support and encouragement I graduated with an LLB Law degree in my early twenties and went on to complete solicitor’s exams.

So now that you’ve got it what are you going to do with it?

Thankfully my children have had the most stable upbringing a child could possibly hope for and should, by rights, demand and that makes me feel incredibly proud. I’m doing something right. On reflection, would I trade the traumas of my own life when it has helped me to develop my debut novel? Probably not, and it’s a good job too because I can’t. All of the above, the genetics and the experiences, are part of me in the same way that my novel is a part of me. Poker Face isn’t just a young adult story with crossover appeal, it is testament to what can be achieved if you put your mind to something and, when I say your mind, I literally mean just that.

Poker Face is about a young girl that leaves school with nothing. A girl who has to fight to survive in a world where everyone and everything feels so much bigger than she is and, I have to say, I know how that girl feels. Ruby Palmer was created in my imagination and I don’t know if that was as a result of genetics, experience or some other thing but what I do know, for sure, is that I love her and I am very glad I found her.

Go, Ruby, go!

Thanks guys and take care from me. Jess 🙂 x