In my new novel, Jamie’s Children, Niall Logan eventually finds his music and works toward a career as a singer-songwriter. Niall has a challenge that will take every ounce of courage he possesses to face: he is bipolar.
Writing about Niall’s disease was undoubtedly the most difficult task I have given myself to date. Yes, Eli Levin had a broken heart, literally. Being born with a severely defective heart which can never be made “normal” meant his life was of necessity different. Being a pianist with a huge gift and dealing with both those burdens was daunting. And certainly, Eli’s physical illness affected his emotional life; how could it not?
But Niall seemed perfectly healthy. He was a pleasant, easy-going youngster, well-liked by everyone. His earliest symptoms were bouts of severe depression. When he had his first manic episode, he didn’t realize what was happening. He went into remission for over a year.
Bipolar disorder is disruptive; for a while, it can come and go (and every case seems to be unique). In Niall's case, the manic and depressive episodes became more frequent and more pronounced, and his life was turned upside down. If the cycle isn't broken the disease can be fatal, because the sufferer sometimes takes his own life.
At present, bipolar disorder is treatable but not curable. Medications have to be adjusted. The patient sometimes stops medication and other treatment because the lure of the manic periods is so strong. In Niall’s case, he was also in denial about his condition. Who wants to be crazy?
Jamie’s Children, released on July 11, already has some good reviews. Niall’s sister Laura, child prodigy violinist, has her share of problems also. Here are some excerpts:
─ Jamie’s children may have inherited artistry along with their famous name, but powerful struggles seem to stand between them and any kind of fulfillment, with Niall battling a crippling and sometimes terrifying mental illness and Laura gaining a reputation as the Ice Princess as she obsessively pursues musical perfection on her violin.
─ The story opens as the musically talented son of a well known opera singer crashes under the weight of a debilitating mental health disorder. What follows is a powerful story about the dynamics of an emotionally unbalanced family and the power that music holds over them.
─ Jamie’s Children is a marvelous story of love, loss, adventure, and hope in which author Susan Moore Jordan paints a diverse cast of nuanced, relatable, and real characters. I came to love Niall and Laura — Jamie’s Children — within the first few chapters as they wrestled with a search for meaning in their lives.
Available on Amazon, paperback and Kindle. Here’s the link: