Almost Sage is a women’s novel about a 50 year old writer misdiagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. When she discovers the real reason she sees voices, tastes words and feels sounds on her skin, her life doesn’t just get complicated. It unravels.
This novel, complete at 80,000 words, is stand-alone with series potential.
Book Blurb (Back Cover Copy) of Almost Sage
The only story Vancouver biographer Sage O’Murphy can’t tell is her own. Her unusual ability to taste words and see voices is one of her biggest secrets. She also hides her dependence on anti-anxiety meds and the truth about her traumatic past. Now 50, Sage can’t keep lying to her clients and ignoring her escalating health problems.
Sage is weaning herself off drugs, leaving her writing business with her reluctant partner, and pursuing her dream of driving across Canada in her VW camper van.
But first, one last job. Elderly Trixie Wiley asks for help writing the history of her hobby farm in Saskatchewan and makes Sage an offer she can’t refuse. On the road Sage discovers Trixie’s ulterior motives. Not only was Trixie involved in Sage’s mother’s death, she leaves a smelly, messy inheritance that reshapes Sage’s future.– Laurie Pawlik
Why I wrote this novel
My inspiration for writing Almost Sage is rooted in my mother’s struggles with schizophrenia, which has been linked to synesthesia. Synesthesia (synaesthesia) is the condition that causes my character Sage O’Murphy to see voices, taste words, and feel sounds on her skin. I’m not synesthetic or schizophrenic.
I spent years avoiding my urge to write fiction because I knew I couldn’t support myself as a novelist. But now that my She Blossoms blogs are a steady source of income, I’ve finally given myself permission to take the plunge!
Synesthesia or synaesthesia (the extra vowel is the British spelling) occurs when a stimulus (such as seeing numbers) activates two or more senses. For example, a synesthete might see the number nine and taste a banana milkshake, see blue purple spirals, or smell doggy breath. Or—in rare cases—all three!
“Synesthesia is actually a normal brain function in every one of us,” writes Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., M.F.A. in Synesthesia (MIT, 2018), “but its workings reach consciousness in only a handful.”
Synesthesia affects up to 4 percent of the population, but many synesthetes don’t realize how unusual they are. To some, it’s normal that each letter of the alphabet is a different colour. Others think everyone knows, for example, that the number seven is flirtatious and unpredictable but eight is studious and organized.
The majority of us aren’t synesthetic, but most of us are affected by colours, tones and textures. Read How Colors Affect Your Mind, Mood and Mental Health.
Several books have been written about synesthesia, including a few novels. In Synesthesia in Detective Fiction Books and Literature (Synaesthesia) I highlight three books with synesthetic main characters.
“What inspired you to write this book?” is an author’s most frequently asked question. The inspiration for anything—a novel, magazine article, blog post or even a journal entry—is never one thing….but I am most interested in how synesthesia and schizophrenia are interconnected.