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Community News - February/March 22

Community News From Around Our Area

Local Author Writes ‘A Story of Hope…to Give a Spark of Light in the Darkest Time’ as a Response to Family Member’s Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

When Ella Cook’s mum was diagnosed with cancer, she was understandably devastated. But little did Ella know that the book she started to write whilst accompanying her mum to chemotherapy treatments would go on to be published, and now, as she celebrated the paperback release of that book in January, she hopes that readers will find comfort in the words that helped her through such a difficult time.

When Warwickshire-based author Ella Cook started to write her debut novel ‘Beyond Grey’ (9781912550425), she had no idea it would end up on the bookshop shelves – she saw it more as a therapeutic way to get through the time as she sat with her mum whilst she received chemotherapy treatment.

“Writing ‘Beyond Grey’ gave me – and my Mum – something positive to focus on amongst the stress, fears, and worries that come with chemotherapy,” explains Ella. “I made sure I always had a few more pages for her to read while she was having her latest treatment. And in between treatments – when she felt well enough – we'd take our dog on long walks through the huge parks near us, often at sunset, and we'd talk about the characters in ‘Beyond Grey' as if they were old family friends.”

The book is both heart breaking and uplifting, and the unique storyline has already been captivating readers and reviewers. It follows the character of Jennifer Hughes who lives what would appear to be a pretty average life – but then, in a shocking turn of events, Jennifer finds herself existing outside of that life, becoming an outsider looking in as her friends and family are left to pick up the pieces.

Whilst the book doesn’t directly relate to Ella’s own experience, the themes of grief and loss that run throughout the story reflect what the author was going through at a very difficult time in her life – and Ella admits that her writing was “a way for me to confront some of the fears for the future that I had: namely that I was going to have to learn to live without my Mum and best friend, a lot sooner than I should have.”

But what is so impressive about ‘Beyond Grey’ is that for every moment of grief and heartbreak, there is also laughter and feel-good moments – again, reflecting Ella’s real-life experience: despite the situation, she and her mum would often find themselves in fits of giggles at the hospital, once resulting in Ella being kicked out of the room whilst her mum had a procedure because she couldn’t look at her daughter without laughing about an in-joke they had been sharing beforehand.

Sadly, Ella’s mum passed away before she saw her daughter signing a contract for ‘Beyond Grey’ with publishers Ruby Fiction – but now Ella hopes her book will help provide comfort to those going through similar experiences. “For everyone who has faced the pain of saying goodbye to someone they loved, I had to write a story of hope, one that maybe gave a spark of light into the darkest time in most people's worlds. Because I really do believe love is the most powerful force in the universe – and that maybe it really can transcend death.”

Beyond Grey was released in paperback on 25th January 2022. The book is available from all good bookshops and online stores.