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Violet Morley: Mental Health Musings 2024

If you haven’t read a book by Violet Morley (she/her) yet… I mean, WHAT are you doing? Violet is an immensely talented writer who can create compelling stories in all sorts of time eras, modern-day and in years gone by. Mental health is a theme throughout several of her books, but particularly Sprinkled in the Stars (which features autism) and The Dating Show (autism and anxiety). I am always intrigued to find out what motivates my fellow writers, and Violet is no exception. So let’s take it away, with the first question…

Violet, what does mental health mean to you?

Starting with a hard hitter, eh ;)

When I first opened the document and saw this question, I immediately closed it. I’ve been thinking about this question for three days now, and what I can finally say is mental health means everything to me. I’ve never really opened up about my struggles, but they are there every day. The path my life has taken has been at the feet of my crumbling mental health. I’m not sure I would have met my wife, had the life we have, or even started writing if it wasn’t for mental health and the journey my life has taken because of it.

Why did you choose to write about mental health in your books?

I battle with mental health issues, depression, anxiety, neuro disorders, and writing has become a source of healing, where I get to take these topics and try to explore, learn, and grow from them, as well as put what I’ve learned in my stories.

Is there anyone, or any book, that inspired you to write about mental health?

Definitely my wife. When I first wrote Sprinkled, autism was something I wanted to explore. My wife had recently been diagnosed with level two, and it was important to try and show positive representation and how it’s truly a spectrum, and some of the mental health that accompanies neurodiversity. It became a love letter to her, showing how being ND is a beautiful thing.

Tell me about your research process. What did you do to make sure your mental health representations were accurate?

A lot of the research was lived experiences with my wife and my own. That’s also the beauty of mental health; we have different levels and experiences when it comes to anxiety/depression and autism and handle things in unique ways. For Parker, though, I watched Love on the Spectrum to see what else I could learn. That show is wonderful if you haven’t seen it (both the Australian and US versions, but Australia’s has my heart).

Do you have any more intentions to write about mental health in the future?

The book I’m almost finished writing (I would enter a title here, but don’t have one yet) has a character who is obsessive and has to spend some time in a mental health facility. This experience is pulling directly from my life, and it has been freeing as I try to explore the topic, especially since it was one of the darkest times in my life. There is a healing aspect to writing that I’m finding has been more successful than therapy for me. I’d also love to do more autistic stories.

Lastly, why did you pick those specific conditions to represent in your books? 

I touched on this a bit, but it’s basically a write-what-you-know situation. I like to pick conditions that I’m intimately familiar with and explore them.

If you are worried about your mental health, or that of someone around you, here are some helplines you may find useful.

If you’d like to read more books about mental health, I have a list of Sapphic-themed books with mental health rep, which you can find here. Please also check out my books, The Summer We’ve Had and Love You However, both of which have strong mental health themes, discussing Dissociative Identity Disorder and gender-dysphoria-fuelled self-harm, respectively.


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