If you follow NYCTT, you may have already heard of Cara Jasmine. She told us divinely about her stay in New York City in 2017, a beautiful fairy tale.
So, what happened next? I suggest you discover or rediscover Cara in this new interview.
Welcome back here Cara! I know that the pandemic has somewhat forced us to stay at home, but have you discovered new places since our last interview in 2018?
I was lucky enough to get a bit more travelling in before the pandemic took hold last year. Since we last spoke in 2018, I have visited some truly incredible countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Greece.
Covid-19 has really impacted us here in the UK. The prospect of travel seems a long way off in the current climate. At the moment, catching the train to my office half an hour away feels like a holiday! And my Friday nights spent at my Mum’s house (she’s in my ‘support bubble’) are 2021’s version of an all-inclusive spa-break!
We often reminisce about our time in New York: our favourite city in the world.
The social media posts from New York City Travel Tips have provided me with a much needed escape throughout the claustrophobic clutches of the pandemic. The photos of some much-cherished locations combined with the memories from our time in New York have fuelled many travelling daydreams. They have reminded me of better things to come.
I only have to look at an image of that show stopping skyline, and I’m transported back to our magical trip. My senses dance away into my mind’s eye, until I can almost convince myself that I’m right there, lost in the beating heart of the city…
The ferocious bite of the wind – the kind that makes one feel so… alive.
The unrivalled tang of the bagel of my choice: peanut butter and jelly.
The insistent announcements proudly barking throughout Grand Central Station.
The adrenaline-inducing, pulsating pace of the city.
The remarkable, sharp contrast of Times Square and Central Park; the bright lights versus the serenity.
No-where in the world does spine-tingling atmosphere and incandescent bliss like New York.
You have a passion (and you’re so talented) to write and talk about your experiences. What have been your latest inspirations?
Thank you! My writing inspirations come from subjects I feel particularly moved by, or passionate about.
This often happens when I travel – if I fall in love with a place, I try to capture its every aspect between the fragile world of pen and paper in the hope that I inspire others.
My writing style aims to appeal to every one of the senses. I try to do this by describing exactly how I felt in a certain moment, in a certain place. I write about the smells that tickled my nose, the sights that bathed my eyes in breathtaking perfection, and the tinkling sounds that graced my ears.
I wrote and published a poetry anthology during lockdown (‘Inspired By Life: Musings of a Whimsical Female Poet’), which covers a variety of topics that light the fuse of zeal within me, including dogs, love, travel, and the bravery and unity of the human race during the pandemic.
It seems that your latest work is even more personal. Could you tell us more about Skin & Bone?
‘Skin & Bone’ was released in October 2020, and is my first Young Adult novel.
Combining themes of mental illness with friendship, love, travel, music and complex family dynamics, Skin & Bone recites the individual stories of outcast teenagers Jamie and Grace, before their troubled paths cross and their tales intertwine.
‘Skin & Bone’ was the hardest book to write, but at the same time, the most emotive and inspiring. Walking in the shoes of my main character as she battles against anorexia was particularly difficult for me, having suffered from the illness myself.
While contending with my own eating disorder, I was disappointed to find a lack of fiction on the subject. There were many non-fiction books screaming the harrowing facts and figures from every page, but these did not offer me the bolt-hole I desired.
While it is imperative for there to be a range of informative guides on subjects like such, I feel it is also equally as important for an escapism in fictitious work to be offered as an alternative. I wanted to provide a different approach to break up the often overwhelming and startling real literature of formal guides. Sometimes, a few hours lost in a story is something we all crave and require as part of our therapy.
‘Skin & Bone’ explores a multitude of complications that can present through a variation of mental illnesses.
Male suicide and depression was something I was keen to highlight, given ongoing media coverage. I carried out extensive research on the various topics featured throughout, and used my own past experiences with anorexia to promote a deeper understanding into the condition.
One aspect of eating disorders I was really keen to explain is the assumption that the illness is purely based around a desire to lose weight. I hope Grace’s story and the motives centred around her weight loss and suffering shed a new light on the often overlooked details and triggers of eating disorders.
Although awareness of mental health is growing every day, I still feel there is a long way to go in regards to understanding the in-depth complications of each individual case. Every single person suffering from a mental illness, whether it be anxiety or bulimia, has very different triggers behind their behaviours and motives, and the message I am tirelessly trying to promote is that mental health is not a ‘one size fits all’ disposition.
I have relished building the book up around Grace and Jamie’s relationships – on both sides of the spectrum – within their families and friendship groups, as well as around their very own blossoming attraction.
I didn’t want ‘Skin & Bone’ to be categorised entirely as a ‘love story.’ While it would have been easy – and indeed enjoyable – for me to have written the pair a happy ending, whereby their romance is finally secured, I wanted the theme to remain realistic. The finalising chapters leave the fate of Jamie and Grace quite open for speculation.
Watching my main characters develop in confidence as they embark upon their journeys into adulthood, striving to leave the demons of their past behind was something I relished. The Jamie and Grace seen at the end of the book are very different to the pair initially seen within the first half of the novel, and it was a pleasure to capture and pen their growth.
Cara, you’re truly inspiring! What are your future projects?
I really enjoy writing children’s fiction, so would like to delve further into this genre over the next year or so. However, as I have discovered recently, sometimes opening your mind to other projects and styles can lead to some unexpected adventures! For example, this time last year, I only wrote the occasional poem for fun – now I have a whole published poetry anthology with over 50 verses!
Of course, once the world starts to open back up again, I’ll be the first on a plane to somewhere new, expanding my travelling horizons and penning new blog posts!
And of course, I think we’re also long overdue a return trip to our beloved New York!
I know!! I can’t wait for all this to be over 🙂 Well, thanks a lot for your time. I wish you all the best for the future.
If you want to know more about Cara Jasmine Bradley, click here to read her blog: www.carajasminebradley.wixsite.com/
Her books are also available on Amazon! Click on the button below and fill your basket with a good read!!