My name is Brett James Parker and my speculative fiction is to die for.
Let's not dwell too much on ancient history. Suffice to say I was born in Ballarat, Australia, sometime during the mesozoic era. My family moved around a lot during my childhood, but I finished school at Seaford-Carrum High School in Melbourne and became a computer nerd. In those days, computers were pedal-powered and the size of a small moon.
I tried to do what society demanded of me and became engaged to a wonderful girl. I completely suppressed the fact I was gay (am still gay... just haven't gotten the hang of past tense yet) and hoped that everything would be fine. But it wasn't. Something inside me broke. The repair work is ongoing.
My love life is simple and happy now. I met my partner, David Alan Morris, while living in Brisbane in 1996, and we haven't been apart since our third date. We had a commitment ceremony aboard a paddle steamer on the Brisbane River in January 1998, and were legally married in Toronto, Canada, July 2005. We hope that one day soon, Australia will recognise our marriage like the civilised country it purports to be.
- My godchildren and their incredible parents
- Long walks
- People watching
- Fiery debates on the correct use of commas (which I mostly lose)
- Did I mention coffee?
- Apple iBookstore
- Inconsiderate people
- Witnessing the world self destruct
- Narcissistic horse/human hybrids
- Wellington drivers
Mental Health Issues
My struggles with mental health eventually led me down the path of becoming a counsellor. I have studied psychotherapy in some form on three different continents, all in an effort to develop coping mechanisms for my own issues. Along the way, however, I've been fortunate enough to also help others.
My diagnosis is Schizoaffective Disorder (SZA), which means I have elements of both Schizophrenia and Depression (probably oversimplifying it). In my case, the disorder is exacerbated by a problem with my cerebrospinal fluid called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), a condition where my brain is being slowly crushed.
My preferred treatment for IIH was regular lumbar punctures every 3-6 months to relieve the pressure, until January 2013 when a surgical fix was finally available. IIH not only amplified my mental health issues, it also affected my vision and various other bodily systems. It's an insidious hidden disability which is indescribably difficult to live with.
Long story short, I am fascinated by the workings of the human brain. These themes permeate my speculative fiction. My stories investigate the possibilities and impact of mental health disorders. They are cautionary tales.
So why speculative fiction? The first impactful book I can remember reading is Weaveworld by Clive Barker. I was in my mid teens at the time, and Barker's imagery tore a hole through my complacency and conformism. He unlocked my imagination. Escapism took root in my soul.
From that moment on, I read. I read voraciously. The good, the bad, the poorly edited. Inclinations became dreams. Dreams turned into desires. Desires morphed into goals. Finally, after Clive Barker removed the haze of societal norms from my eyes, I shrugged off the life of a heterosexual computer nerd and started living as an unapologetic, creative individual.
The sweeping worlds of Clive Barker opened my eyes to possibilities outside my limited experience. Now, it's my turn. Let me show you those parts of yourself which you don't dare look at in the harsh light of day.
- Ketogenic diet to protect my brain from further damage
- Fighting the stigma surrounding mental health issues
- New experiences, and meeting interesting people
A Final Word
I always strive for one outcome with my writing; I want the reader to feel something. I want you to either love the book, or to hate it. I want you to squirm. I want you to feel uneasy while you read my work. If you have a gut reaction - either positive or negative - then I'm ecstatic. For me, the absolute worst feedback is "meh, it's ok."
My work is available as ebooks on Amazon for all Kindle devices and apps. If you'd like updates on my writing progress and public events, or to follow my rants and insights into my personal life, check out my social media accounts:
Why do I write? Because I have to write. I need to write. Writing is an essential part of my ongoing therapy. I am a writer.