I wrote My Wonderful Fran originally as a legacy to record Francesca’s life and times for posterity.
It was not until 2012 that I felt capable of starting to write Francesca’s story, but it was slow progress at first. That can be a detailed process which takes time doing research, as with any book. In this case, it also involved a steep learning curve about ASF (Asperger’s Syndrome), psychosis, depression plus schizophrenia.
In writing this book, it became apparent through contact with the ASF and other charities and through adoption work with the community rail partnership; that the book could also be a vehicle for furthering awareness of mental health issues, especially amongst teens.
Since completing the original book in 2015; I have also written a second book called Artificial Nocturne, which is a self-published concept fictional story about a young aspiring ballerina who dances to contemporary music and eventually finds her niche.
I have also written some adult short stories to help develop characters in stories, which have been published by several websites, and had fairly positive feedback overall.
Each of my main books has included a discography. This is not only to facilitate conversion to a film at some stage, but music to me is critical to understanding mental health. It is also a treatment for it, as my brother Mike is an occupational therapist dealing with severely disturbed people in North London. He is also a qualified Grade 8 trained pianist.
If all goes to plan; I expect to release My Wonderful Fran, followed by perhaps Artificial Nocturne in 2017. I don’t plan to publish a compendium of short stories; but instead, build up to writing the ultimate mental health story which I feel really needs to be written - The Dark Side of the Moon. That would probably be followed by my autobiography.
When Pink Floyd released their album in 1973, it included issues concerning mental health at that time. These included themes such as ‘Us and Them’, and ‘Brain Damage’. The album went on to become an unprecedented success story but did not follow the traditional route of book-film-album. Instead, the book and film remain a great story yet to be told.
Obviously, writing any new mental health story would be a real challenge and require considerable research. Mental health issues affect 1 in 4 people worldwide.
Returning to My Wonderful Fran, I felt it was important to write the story in a positive way, to avoid being depressing to read and to also show the positive side of mental health. Unfortunately, mental health is the hardest illness to deal with as it comes and goes and is so easily hidden for long periods.
I sincerely hope that writing this book can ultimately help save lives; either by better education of mental health issues and more advanced and quicker treatments. If that is the case, then it will have achieved its purpose.
About Paul Spelzini
Paul wrote his novel My Wonderful Fran originally as a biography and record of Fran's life, but felt it could also help other families struggling with ASF, Schizophrenia, and other related mental illnesses. My Wonderful Fran was released on 31st October 2016 by Austin Macauley Publishers and can be purchased through Amazon.
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