Friday, 20 January 2012
An interview with Dawn Torrens
It is a real honour to have had the chance to chat with Dawn Torrens, author of the harrowing Amelia’s Story. It tells the true story of a young girl born to a mother who resented her every breath and who made life intolerable for Amelia and her siblings.
Beaten almost daily by her mother and her string of boyfriends, Amelia eventually found her way into the care system in the 1970s. One would hope there was respite from the abuse, but it continued for many years to come.
I found it hard to believe that anyone could be so callous towards a child, let alone a parent to one of their own. Despite all this, Amelia grew up to be a loving, caring mother herself.
Her motto is ‘The child first and foremost’
Your name is Dawn, yet your book is called Amelia’s Story. Was there any reason for the name change?
Yes, I made a very conscious decision before I started writing my story to change the names of everyone who would be mentioned in my book. Basically to respect the privacy of each individual. I had spoken at length with my brother about this and he also agreed it would be for the best for all concerned.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My beautiful 3 year old daughter was my inspiration for writing “Amelia’s Story” as it is for her I have written my story. I knew the time would come one day when she would want to know about my past as all children do of their parents, this is a natural curiosity! I often wondered how I would tell her, or where I would begin, would I tell her everything, or hold back some things. That’s when I decided to write my daughter a book (my autobiography) I thought this was the best way for both of us. I can only hope and pray that she will feel the same when she is much older and I hand her my book.
What was the hardest part of writing Amelia’s Story?
Writing Amelia’s Story has taken me on the most incredible journey, I have re-visited places I thought I never would again, the hardest part for me was the research involved in my story, I had to request the help of the Shropshire social services, which took me back to Shrewsbury town. I needed access to all my case review reports and care records for all the years I spent in the state care system. One of the children homes I had spent a lot of time in had been converted into a records department, amongst other things. When I arrived a few years ago to go through all my records it was very emotional for me, as it looked the same. There were a few changes, such as the bedrooms were now offices, and they gave me a tour of the place as I was a former resident. It brought back so many painful memories, as this was the place where my brother and I were separated. Another thing I found very hard was the discovery of new information regarding events from our past. I discovered some very unpleasant incidents that neither my brother or I had any memory of.
It must have been terribly difficult to go from the regimented life in social care to making your own way as a young adult. What was your inspiration, your goal for the future?
What I found most difficult was the sudden realization that I no longer needed permission for just about everything including taking a bath or simply changing my clothes. Strange as it may seem, I suddenly had to make every decision for myself and I found it rather daunting to begin with. However I soon became accustomed to my new found freedom! My inspiration for my future was to never be a statistic. This was so important to me because I wanted and needed to do well in my future life (I guess to show every one that no matter how awful your childhood was, you can still triumph and go on to do well in your life and be a success - this was always paramount to me).
Do you have anything else in the pipeline?
I am currently writing my debut thriller novel “Obsession”, which is due out at the end of April. Following that “Amelia’s Story 11” will be released in the summer.
If you had to name the best book you’ve read, what would it be?
There are so many great books I could mention. However, the one that stands out for me is “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, and I am a massive fan of Dickens.
What book are you reading now?
“The devil of light” by Gaelynn Woods
Dawn, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with us. We wish you the very best of luck with your next venture and hope Amelia’s Story gets the recognition it deserves!
This is a powerful true story of one young girl's struggle to survive the care system during the 70s, and 80s. Amelia has one wish and that’s to make it through to adulthood. However, the obstacles placed before her are proving too hard to bear and she starts to wonder about the peace and finality of her own death. Amelia can see no light at the end of the tunnel; she just wants to hold her own destiny in her own hands, but adulthood was so far way she could not even catch a glimpse of her dream.
Posted by jambalian at 12:54