This article was originally published on Circle of Books.
When I first heard that “hearing voices” was a sign of mental illness, I was terrified. When I discovered it didn’t include the personal narrative that runs constantly in my head – something many creative people have – I was relieved.
But my initial reaction has stayed with me and I often wonder where the tipping point is between that internal voice and madness. I’m not sure even the medical profession knows.
I think the closest we get to understanding someone else’s internal voice is through first-person fiction – and this has fascinated me for years.
In The Second Cup, it was important for me to give an internal voice to all four of my main characters to show how different people can perceive the same event in different ways.
And it was a safe place for me to push the internal voice to the point of disassociation from the real world.