A reluctant author statement from a frustrated Carrie Mac:
People are quick to claim their support badge for de-stigmatizing mental health, but less so for mental illness. It’s not insta-ready or easily packaged for a tweet or tik tok.
Depression & anxiety are the only mental health poster children most people are willing to identify with and/or throw money, energy or support at.
People who experience mental illness also have stories worth reading, watching, or listening to. We seek love, companionship, deal with loss, learn about and yearn for what is important to us. We do normal-people things too; buy groceries and manage finances and work and childcare and relationships.
Until people are willing to hear the difficult parts of our stories along with the easier parts, then they are not valuing the whole person, or the whole story. We’re not story-worthy just on our good days.
I wrote this story for me, so I could dive into the story of someone I can relate to in some ways, and discover how she navigates the world and her grief and the breakdown of her marriage.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, or for the people who only want “easy” mental health issues in their TBR pile.
This story is for the reader who wants to meet a smart, complicated woman where she is at — which is in the middle of a very messy Bipolar crisis—, and watch her story unravel from there, in the midst of a tragedy that devastates the town and in a landscape that both captivates and threatens.
I love these characters, and their heartbreaking, gut wrenching story that’s set in a beautiful Canadian small town winter I know well. I love this story with all my heart.
If you are a person who goes for content warnings, then hey, here you go—assume “Last Winter” has absolutely all of them and please move along to read something better suited to you right now. This is definitely not your book.
But it is mine. And I will defend it to the ends of the earth.
If you want to join my beloved characters at their darkest hour, and you love a book that breaks your heart before handing it back to you stronger and wiser and more empathetic, then LAST WINTER is your book.