A Storrington psychologist is crowdfunding for her first novel which tackles hard-hitting health issues including suicide.
Jo Johnson has written ‘Surviving Me’ to raise awareness of male minds and the impact of neurological illnesses on families, and is now hoping people will pledge their support to help get it published.
Jo said: “My novel is called Surviving Me, as after all, isn’t that what we are all trying to do. It’s key theme is the flawed human condition and what drives a sane and regular man to despair and suicide.
“I wanted to create a compelling novel with great characters who make people laugh and cry.
The book follows main character Tom Cleary’s journey as he navigates job loss, infertility and the revelation his new found role model, brother-in-law Adam, will have to confront the deagenerative neurological disease, Huntington’s.
Jo added: “Many people find my work as a neuropsychologist fascinating and it struck me that Huntington’s disease could be the foundation for a multi-layered story with a twist at the end.
“I wanted to include a contrasting character who was as sane as any reader but driven to suicide by an unfortunate series of events that could happen to any one of us.”
Jo is hoping to bring her novel to life via crowdfunding publisher Unbound, and supporters have until May 21 to make a pledge. She said: “A percentage of my profits will go to the Huntington’s Disease Association, to help families afflicted by this most cruel of hereditary diseases.
“You choose how much you pledge and what effectively you buy; from an e-book, to a talk on preventing stress and burnout for your school or organisation or a marriage MOT with me.
“If we don’t reach the target, you’ll get your money back.”
Jo began the book several years ago but it was ‘crowded out’ due to other projects. She said: “Early last year, I rediscovered the early chapters; having forgotten most of the details I bizarrely found my own book was an enjoyable read.
“I’d started a good book to find only blank pages from chapter eleven. This feeling of disappointment inspired me to finish the project.”
Jo qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992. In addition to her clinical work she writes and edits publications for several national neurology charities.
In 2009, she won a Plain English Award, and in 2011 she self-published her first neurology-related book which later requested by a specialist American publisher.
To support Jo’s project, visit www.unbound.com/books/surviving-me/