Good morning everyone! I’m thrilled to be bringing you a guest post from Elida May on her book ‘Following Evan’ regarding her inspiration for writing this story, I hope you enjoy the read as much as I have as I thoroughly enjoy learning more about the author and their background and how they channel out all their experiences into a book for us all to read. So without further ado here is what Elida has to say…
“I began writing Following Evan in response to some difficult times in my life. I was born in 1972 in Communist-ruled Albania. The society was poor, repressed and was continually being brainwashed. From the moment I learned to speak, I had to be very careful what I said. Everyone lived in fear, and this fear pervaded my life with my family, my friends and at school. My dad was a senior military officer and that made the situation even tenser. Family and friends were taken away and never seen again. The lucky ones went into detention or were sent to prison.
I was 19 when I started studying drama at the University of Tirana, in the capital. While there I witnessed the downfall of the communist regime. My personal life, however, was not promising. The relationship I had with the man I dreamed of marrying fell apart because his conservative family didn’t approve of him marrying an actress. Feeling suffocated in my own country, I decided to leave and start a new life. But again, luck wasn’t on my side. I married a failed trader whom I quickly discovered was as controlling and oppressive as the communist regime had been. For 16 long years life only seemed to get heavier and darker. I felt even worse after his death. I had nobody to talk to and I was living far away from my family. Although I had forgotten my mother tongue, I had not yet learned how to properly express myself in English. I became depressed to the point where I was almost incapable of looking after myself. My recovery was a process of several years and involved medication and the help of psychologist.
Following Evan came out of all of these experiences and their impact on me. I created the main character Laura as a way to channel all my feelings and thoughts, which were desperate to come out of me. Laura has experienced my pain and feels my hopes. Saying that, while writing my book I had to be careful not to make it autobiographical. I wanted to use Laura’s life experiences to illustrate that however dark our life may become, there is hope and a future as long as we don’t allow ourselves to become buried by depression. To keeping dreaming and seeing the light is the only way of living.”
Elida May was born in Albania in 1972. Growing up in a Communist country, where access to books was severely restricted, helped to nurture her love of the written word, and she avidly read whatever genre she could get hold of, including a lot of European literature. Today Elida lives in London with her son Elidon. Following Evan is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Diary of Michael Vica.