Hi and welcome.
My name is J A Harris and I’m an author based in Ringwood, Hampshire UK.
I grew up on the south coast of England.
In those days, the town of Eastbourne was a sleepy seaside resort. Full of tourists in the summer and dead in the winter. Not much happened, and most people kept themselves to themselves.
Eastbourne is right next the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters.
The highest cliff is known as Beachy Head.
Always fascinated with the dark side, I knew from an early age that the rocky beach beneath Beachy Head, was a place of death.
Sadly, it’s a popular suicide spot.
There were often reports in the local paper about this when I was growing up. As a child it opened my eyes to something nameless and fearful.
As an adult studying psychology, I realised it had a name.
Freud called it Thanatos. The urge towards darkness, chaos and death.
More and more, I’ve come to believe that it’s important to face this shadow in ourselves. We can do this through stories, plays, films, writing, art, music, extreme sports or keeping a dream diary.
It’s almost as though, by facing it – we open a crack in the darkness, and let in the light.
I spent many happy hours noodling in rock pools under the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters.
In my imagination, whole worlds existed in the tiny pools. I made up stories about the people who lived there. Somehow, I thought the spirits of those who jumped from the cliffs above, managed to find a safe home in these salt water havens.
The stories grew and grew, until they had a life of their own. My family life was not particularly harmonious, and to escape, I developed whole worlds in my mind. I thought of them every spare moment, from waking to the edge of sleep. There were battles, and intrigue. Dynasties rose and fell. For years, these stories gave me an escape hatch, a place of wonder and safety during those turbulent years.
I was particularly influenced by a strange mix of the Arthurian legends and Narnia!
Nowadays there’s a Samaritans booth on top of the Head for those in desperate need of consolation and compassion.
I hope it saves many lives.
As an adult, I gave up imagining things and spent years raising a family, and doing sensible work in the real world. I was a care worker, dinner lady, waitress, and teaching assistant. When my youngest was five, I took courses, as well as working, finally gaining a teaching qualification.
But the urge to write stories, to share them with others was too strong to resist. Ask any creative!
A few years ago I published a non-fiction book on therapeutic writing. I had some lovely reviews and a few people bought it, but I knew deep down I wanted to write fiction too.
The thought of putting my stories out there, filled me with crippling self doubt. Would anyone read them? So, at first, I tried to write the kind of novels I found on the shelves of my local bookshop. Yet, no matter how much I tried to write kitchen sink drama or ‘normal’ novels, I always veered to the weird.
This was in the days when you had to find an agent to pitch your books to a publisher. Very few of them would even touch science fiction and fantasy. In fact, in my copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook, I couldn’t find a single one.
As a teacher of creative writing I was always a student too. It took me twelve years and many manuscripts [which I fully intend to burn one cold November night on a full moon], to complete my writing apprenticeship.
Finally, I gave up trying to write what I thought I should write. Instead, I started to write the kind of novels which wanted to come out of me.
I would like to thank all my students over the years for your brilliant writing and earnest questions.
And I’d especially like to thank my readers – whoever you are, whichever world you live in – you are all awesome.
I’m deeply interested in the psychology of consciousness, cognitive evolution and the experience of selfhood or personality.
Along with that, I’m always looking at new research to do with the study of human interaction, conversation, relationship dynamics and intimacy.
As a passionate bookworm, I read anything and everything I can get my hands on. I’ve been fascinated by physics ever since the Van De Graph generator experiment at school made my hair stick up.
And don’t even get me started on aliens!
As far as non-fiction is concerned, I’ll read stuff to do with spirituality, art, quantum theory, multiple worlds, psychology, philosophy, ancient myths and folktales, UFO’s, ritual magic, mountains, sacred sites and meditation. Basically, anything and everything.
I also love astronomy and in particular, pictures of deep space. Why do I love this stuff? Just because it’s all so amazing – this life, the stars, the planets – this galactic, universal thing we’re spinning round in.
Oh, and I’m a big fan of Professor Brian Cox [not an evil professor or a member of The Pilgrims].
I also love fiction.
Authors I enjoy, in no particular order are:
Stephen King, Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K Dick, Libbie Hawker, Hugh Howie, J F Penn, Kate Atkinson, Gillian Flynn, Harlan Coben, Emily St. John Mandel, Aldous Huxley, Tanith Lee, Gregory David Roberts, Edith Wharton, Jean Rhys and Marian Zimmer Bradley.
I am currently working on Ash; Parallel World Traveller Series book 1. For some reason, I wrote book 2 first. I know, I know, it’s all the wrong way round. It happens. Sometimes, as a series unfolds, it takes on a life of its own.
As a writer, I’m learning to follow my creative muse wherever she takes me.
Ash is now available on amazon kindle.
Some of you may be wondering what Shaw’s Book of the Dead Hypothesis is all about… Well, for one thing, it’s an academic text available in all the virtual university libraries on Real earth.
All the characters in the Parallel World Traveller series know professor Shaw’s hypothesis by heart. Basically, after writing Ishi, I realised that Shaw was the first academic to document and research her travels in parallel worlds.
After many years of research, Shaw found an interesting link between the Egyptian and Tibetan books of the dead – and the worlds accessible from Real earth!
Anyway, all the stuff you’d like to know about how to para travel including the 5 Laws of Para travel [yes, there are laws]etc, are in this little PDF. Just click on the image box at the top of the page to get your free copy.