Once again it’s thanks to the lovely BookConnectors Facebook group of bloggers and authors that has introduced me to another author – this time Thea Hartley. Thea’s book Wear Bright Colours For Me is in the spotlight today. Wear Bright Colours For Me was published by Ex-L-Ence on 5th March 2016 and is available from Amazon but Thea is a prolific author and you’ll find many more of her books here.
Thea is a writer with visual impairment and today she has kindly agreed to tell readers about that experience in an inspiring guest post.
Wear Bright Colours For Me
Amy and Luke meet each other in life after life. However, usually in tragic circumstances, they are quickly separated from each other. The rules of “karma” are all that can bring them together for eternity and they must overcome the evil nemesis who is responsible in each life for their tragedies.
Most of the characters turn up in every life in different guises, trying to work through their own karmic journeys; An African tribe in 10BC; Elizabethan England; A gypsy encampment in Victorian times and a small Welsh village during world War 2. In each historical scenario dramas are played out until the surprising ending in contemporary London.
Writing With A Visual Impairment
A Guest Post by Thea Hartley
Almost eight years ago in my right eye, my eyesight started to become distorted. I had a black spot in my right eye, and lines appeared wobbly and moving.
I thought it was something which would just go away. However, I consulted my optician who immediately sent me to the hospital eye clinic… I had some sort of macular degeneration.
This is a progressive eye disease which eventually leads to blindness,
Unfortunately for me, I had the faster, more dangerous wet type and my vision deteriorated rapidly. It soon also affected the left eye and I was finding everyday tasks more and more difficult.
Within a year I progressed from reading normal books and magazines to using high powered glasses, magnifiers, and moving on to large print publications.
Before long, I could only read large print books, and this was with the help of the battery operated strong magnifier. Nevertheless, these too, became impossible for me and I moved on to the kindle app on my iPad where I could increase the print size to almost one word per page.
By now, I was having monthly treatment in the hospital of “lucentis” injections in my eyes and constant scans.
I loved my job as a psychology lecturer, at this time. However, despite all the help in the form of magnification, it soon became impossible to mark students papers as well as difficulties actually getting to work. With a sad heart I took early retirement on medical grounds.
Once home, I certainly needed something to do! The only thing I could think of was my life’s desire to write. I strange decision for someone with hardly any sight. The question was how?
I learned touch typing many years ago, so tried that on my PC. The problem was that I couldn’t see the screen, so could not read back what I had written,
Contacting the RNIB they put me in touch with computer technicians who showed me how to use Dragon software which incorporated voice recognition. This, I must admit was difficult, so I graduated to a more sophisticated programme called “Jaws”. This was better, but for some reason I still had difficulties.
Then I discovered that it was easier for me to type using the strongest glasses prescribed and holding my iPad just a little further than my nose. This way, I can use a very large font and read back what I write or use iPad’s accessibility feature of voice over!
It IS a challenge, but not an impossibility. I do need a good proof reader and editor. I am probably slower than I was when touch typing, but my final work is much better and clearer.
This might be a really strange occupation for someone who is visually impaired, but it is still a rewarding one. I ‘see’ my books and stories in my mind, as if a film is running there and setting the scene for me.
I would encourage anyone with similar or even different eye problems, who desire to write, to try all the options I mentioned, until they are happy with one that works for them.
Never give up is my motto and I intend to keep writing as long as possible,
About Thea Hartley
Thea was born and bred in Merthyr Tydfil, and attended Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School.
She married young, and lived on the local Gurnos Estate, having three children by the age of twenty. Aware that she had not explored her educational opportunities, she became a mature student, obtaining a Psychology degree from The University of Glamorgan, followed by a Masters’ and PGCE at Cardiff University.
Thea became a practicing Psychologist and lecturer, a career which spans over thirty years. During this time, she had research and educational papers published, plus some fictional articles and inclusion in two poetry anthologies,
Unfortunately, in 2007, Thea developed a degenerative eye disease, which deteriorated rapidly, until she was no longer able to work.
Finding herself at home, for the first time in many years, she decided to write the book she had always wanted to write: A biography of her Grandfather, Tommy Horton, who moved to Merthyr in 1900 to pursue his fortune. He had led a very colourful, interesting life, culminating in opening the first factory to produce ‘condoms’ in the UK which opened in 1913.
Thea got in touch with the RNIB, who were extremely helpful in providing the training and equipment to allow her to write despite her failing sight,
This new writing career led to The French Letter King her first, acclaimed novel. This became the first volume of a trilogy about her family.
Since then, Thea has ventured into several genres, including a series of Psychological Crime Mysteries, featuring Resa James, psychological thrillers, historical romantic fiction and her latest release Wear Bright Colours For Me, which explores the fascinating subject of reincarnation.