As part of my positive posts this month, I wanted to introduce you to someone I admire. I have only recently gotten to know Heather Jane Birdwell. I met her through a Facebook party event that I hosted and we have hit off quite an interesting friendship. She has become one of the many lights in my life and I wanted to give you all the opportunity to get to know her personally as much as I have. I adore this woman and admire her strength. She is only 23, but her life so far has been impossibly heroic. Perhaps you think of heroes as the people who do superhuman things and live to tell the tale. To me, the everyday heroes as to be celebrated more. Heather isn’t just a young woman with a few books under her belt, she is an everyday hero.
My name is Heather Jane Birdwell and I write both historical and fantasy fiction and only recently got into erotic fiction. I am a High Priestess of Wicca and a Medical and Prophetic Druidess, proficient in swordsmanship and Archery.
Not to mention an author, partner, friend, sister, and Mom!
1. What circumstances led up to you adopting or becoming guardian of your niece. Were you married at the time? Do you have other children besides her and the up-coming twins?
I became guardian to one of my nieces when her mother died and as she was ill, and sadly no longer with us, her father, my brother could not make the decisions for her so I took the responsibly on and became her guardian till the end of her days. I was not married at the time. She would be an adult now and she is always missed by her family, especially myself and her father.
As to the other niece I have as my child, her mother could not cope with her as she is deaf, very mischievous and very bright, so gave up her rights to be her mother. That was how I met her all those years ago, when she was given to another one of my brothers as he was her father. I helped bring her up till the day her father died and I took the child on as my own. I would not have had it any other way.
But my most recent child, well I should say young man as he is almost 18, I came to support because his parents needed to move, to downsize and they asked if I could take him under my wing so to speak so I have done so, so he can keep on going to college and in September he will be going to University to study Law.
I think perhaps you were always meant to be a mom. You have given your life to that calling and I am honored that you have given me the time to get to know you. And now you have a couple more babies on the way! That’s both exciting and nerve-wracking.
2. How did being a sudden mom changed the way you live? What blessings have you received being a mom to your niece?
Being a mother did not change my life as I have always looked after them, helping their fathers look after them. Just having my daughter in my life, to see her grow and to know that she chose me to be her mother and to continue to raise her has been a great blessing to me.
Then learning to cope with a hormonal young man has been a challenge, but one I faced head on and now he respects me. It is a blessing to see him grow up, as I knew him from a young age, and it is an honour and privilege to be a part of his life.
Being a mom comes with many blessing in the day-to-day. Your choice to have those blessing in your life is awe-inspiring, because not only do we have those blessings, but we also get the day-to-day hardships that come with them.
3. Do you have a mantra or motto you try to live by that helps you stay positive during difficult circumstances?
Just to get through one day at a time. The next day will be a new day and to try and not to drag the bad mood from one day to the next.
Sometimes that can be difficult! I agree though, make each day new and don’t let the worries of one day follow you into the next if you can help it.
4. Tell us about how you stay positive and focused as you deal with your health issues.
I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis at 18, I am now 23, when I was at Art School. It affected my work but they understood and helped me in all I could, doing what I could when I could and working through my breaks, though some of those breaks I was writing through.
I have a rare condition called Functional Movement Disorder. It is a neurological condition which makes my body have conscious fits or go into paralysis at any point of the day or night, awake or asleep. I use crutches to get around most of the time and when my legs are in paralysis I use my wheelchair. It started off with severe back spasms and then I could not walk properly. Then I had it diagnosed, and soon after I had full body sleep paralysis which makes it hard to get up in the mornings as I cannot move till it passes. But as my body ‘shuts down’ it allows my brain to think and I think of ideas. I have this in the mornings and in the evenings.
At my worst I was in a wheelchair for 18 months and spending 16/18 hours in bed because I could not get up. Some days are good and some days are bad. I just take each day as it comes and if I cannot do all I wanted to do for that day, it does not matter as I will do it the next.
It was triggered by repressed memories, memories I live with every day now but knowing them has made me stronger and it drives me to write, to get the word out that things happen behind closed doors that you can help, even if it only an ear to the one suffering in silence. If my novels, that deal with what many writers would not go near such as disability and assaults of many natures and degrees, help someone to help someone else or to make someone come forward and talk about what they have gone through then it will be worthwhile.
My personal past consists of mental, physical and sexual abuse for just over ten years till I realised what was happening and told someone, my three, then, brothers and they have helped me through it and everything it entailed. It was good to know that someone was fighting my corner, no matter what and actually believed me and what I had gone through.
This is one of the reasons I admire your life. You weren’t through hell and have not become selfish for it. Instead you give of yourself selflessly to children who without you might be homeless or in orphanages. Yes, perhaps I am full of praise for you, but I do admire you and I hope that others can see how deeply in need our world is of people more like you.
5. When life gets tough and overwhelming, to what or whom do you turn to help you de-stress/get tougher/find comfort?
I turn to my two brothers who have been through everything with me and they understand why I am the way I am. But writing and craft help me to calm down. Sometimes I cannot write because of the thoughts in my head so I do my craft, make cards, make clothes or to knit, to calm myself down and other times I can write and get my feelings down through my characters.
They also taught me MMA (Mixed Marital Arts) so I can defend myself and I enjoyed it.
I also cuddle up to my partner and it was easier than I thought to tell him about my past.
Having supportive people surrounding you must help immensely. I also have a strong support network and I can’t imagine my life without them now. Even everyday heroes need their sidekicks 😉
6. Is there any advice or words of wisdom that have been given to you that you appreciated and put into practice?
If you have a problem to talk to someone, someone you trust or a doctor to help you. Even if it is only to unburden your heart.
I live by something one of my brothers told me ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ and ‘ A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Good advice and some solid words of wisdom there.
7. Is there any advice or words of wisdom that you would pass on to my readers who may be in tough situations?
No matter what life throws at you, never give up on you dreams.
Dreams are what keep us going.
When you give up on your dreams, you give up on yourself.
To share your story with someone, anyone, just to unburden your heart.
There is always someone out there that knows what you are going through.
There is always someone out there that accepts you for who you are.
You should never try to please someone else. You are unique and there is someone out there for everyone.
Your past does not define you. It is something that happened to you and you are all the more strong for coming out the other side.
I never gave up on becoming a published author and I am to publish seven books this year alone.
That is awesome (actually, I think I would prefer my character’s term ‘fan-fucking-tastic’ but that would be uncouth 😉 )
8. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just to say that no matter your dreams, you can fufill them if you put your mind to it.
And to those of you who might be reading this and some of what I have said has hit home with you, do not be scared to share your problems. You might not be believed by some but there are people out there that understand and believe you. Talk about it and get it heard. It takes only one person that takes you seriously, to help you. Just take a step forward, no matter how hard it is and I know it is hard to tell people, and seek comfort in the fact that all will be well in the end. You just have to be patient, to keep putting one foot in front of one another and to keep moving forward. Only by doing so will you heal. Yes it will be gradual but I can assure you it is well worth the struggle.
And finally, I promise, to all the aspiring authors reading this, write what you know. It will make for better reading and if you do not know something, research it till you are sick of and do some more. Make your characters believable. There is nothing worse than reading something that has not been thoroughly researched and with unbelievable characters. For me I write historical romance as I love anything pre 1900’s and I love to research it. I write fantasy, well I do not know why I write fantasy, but I love to build worlds and to play around with myths and legends, and to make some up. I write erotic fiction, well that is another I do not know why I write it, but I think it is something I brought over from my historical romances and just modernised it. Do not be afraid to try new things.
Thank you so much, Heather! I have loved being a small part of your online life and I look forward to many more conversations with you. I hope and pray those twins come soon and easily. If any of my readers has any comments or questions, I will make sure Heather sees them.
You can connect with Heather under several different pen names and author sites. Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you have been uplifted today. Go in peace, not pieces.
F L Bishiop – a Historical Romance Author
H J Bird – A New Adult Fantasy Author
Aurora Knight – A Young Adult Fantasy Author
Angelique Hornbey – A Young Adult Fantasy Author
Melanie Hardacre – An Erotic Author
Karolyne Cox – A Paranormal Erotic Author
Jasmine Addicock – A Paranormal Erotic Author
Genefer Castleow – A Paranormal Erotic Author