EA answers your most asked questions!
1. Is the Asylum book fiction or an autobiography?
The Asylum book is my story, in every sense. The words you read in this book are copied directly from the pages of my journal kept whilst I happened to be incarcerated in a high-security psych ward. That said, I categorize the book as fiction (as all memoires ultimately end up being) because I enjoy the freedom it gives me to change names and add characters and storylines at a whim with each new edition.
Besides this, I find people's eyebrows raise a bit when they get to the talking rats, and I prefer being able to say "it's only a story" rather than fail gracelessly at explaining how very real those talking rats are to me.
In the end, though I categorize the book as fiction for practical reasons, there is no one reading the story who doesn't come away with the distinct sense that all of this really happened, and that is just as it should be.
2. How many different versions are there of the Asylum book?
Several! I wrote the book in 2007, then published it for the first time in 2009 as a fully-illustrated hardcover. There were two more hardcover editions in 2012 and 2014 respectively, followed by a .PDF version of the illustrated edition in 2015, a 6-CD set audiobook in 2016 with digital counterpart, and now, in 2017, ten years after the birth of the Asylum and all its inhabitants, a completely re-imagined eBook which contains the ultimate version of the text.
3. What are the differences between the versions?
The 2009 hardcover print first edition contained some really fantastic errors, from simple typos to missing pages, because that's what happens when you are still kind of out of your mind and you haven't got anyone in your life who will dare read the book let alone proof-read it. Still, I like to think that gives it a certain charm, and this is the version that gained the majority of the audience I have today. It would not be overstatement to say that I owe this book everything.
Both the 2012 second edition and the 2014 third edition hardcover books were revised significantly (and the missing pages were put back), and certain photographs were changed. There were minor updates to the story in an effort to clarify my thoughts.
The 2016 audiobook version marks the first really significant alteration to the story. Several key elements were changed to reflect my evolving perspective and to approach certain aspects of the story with even more honesty than I had originally dared, completely new scenes, songs, and storylines were added, and a new character was even introduced! I believe that anyone who loves the original edition of the Asylum story will be delighted by the updates, which result in a far superior literary work.
In the new 2017 eBook edition, I have made available, for the very first time, the written text of the audiobook version, meaning that this eBook is the ultimate text-based version of the Asylum book thus far. If you have the original hardcover, I would sincerely request that you read the new eBook version as you will find the two to be drastically different in so very many ways—there is almost no comparison.
I am terribly proud of how this story has changed over the years, and I so enjoy the freedom I have maintained to change and add to the story at will. I suspect I will always do so, with each new edition that is released in the future. As the Asylum never stops growing, neither can its story.
4. Will the original illustrated hardcover edition ever be re-released?
Not at this time. The hardcover original, while beautiful and wonderful to hold in the hands, is ridiculously expensive to make, and thus expensive to buy, and expensive to ship, and so I have made my focus the present release of the Asylum book in an affordable new edition (can you beat a $9.99 eBook that was $75 in print? I think not!), and that is easily obtainable by anyone, anywhere in the world.
5. Is there another print version?
Yes indeed! It's a paperback, and it's fabulous! Find it HERE!
6. The Asylum story contains depictions of self-harm. Does Emilie still suffer from this?
No. I no longer engage in any practices or behaviours that are harmful to my physical body for one reason only: I no longer need to.
Like many young women, I used to cut myself as an alternative to doing something worse, as an emotional release, to exersize autonomy, and to prove to myself that I was alive. I no longer do this, have not done it for years, and have successfully replaced the blade with the pen. Writing gives me the power, expression, and life-affirmation that I was sadly lacking in my past. If you cut yourself, know that you can stop just as I did. If you know someone who cuts her or himself, please encourage them not to be ashamed, and assist them in identifying why they feel the need to mark themselves and explore with them ways in which they can channel those very valid needs into another outlet.
As the book discloses on the very first page, I did indeed attempt to take my own life, more than once. I am not in danger now, and I hope that my story will be used not as an example of a person who tried to commit suicide, but rather as an example of a suicidal person who survived.
I regret neither my journeys nor my battles as they have enabled me to both understand and assist others who are still fighting.
7. Emilie does not seem to have a very high opinion of doctors. What would she recommend a person do who is in need of mental help?
While it is true that my own lived experience within the mental health care industry has not been even remotely positive, I firmly believe in the benefits of psychiatric medication when absolutely needed, and, first and foremost, in the life-saving act of talking, because if you are still talking, you are still breathing, and someday, you will be able to sing again.
If you feel unsafe and need help, I wholeheartedly recommend you call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You are not alone.