A Leeds author who has battled cancer and mental health difficulties is hoping his story will inspire others.
Scott Farquharson, 37, has fought testicular cancer and has thrived as a writer after getting diagnosed and treated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
The Bramley-based writer has just published a fantasy novel called ‘Elements: Present’.
He said: “It has taken a lot of work and I came up with the concept of the book shortly after completing treatment for Testicular Cancer in 2007. Up to that time in my life I had suffered with my mental health but did not know exactly what the problem was, other than an inability to focus my thoughts for the majority of the time. I had always written poetry as an outlet but could not write cohesively at length. But the concept developed in my mind none-the-less.”
There were many challenges along the way and Scott talks candidly about his experiences with a view to helping others. He tried to take his own life in 2011 but was saved by a close friend and a paramedic.
That desperate event made him realise that he needed to get help. He had a conversation with his sister in law and told her that he thought he’d almost certainly had ADHD when he was young. He mistakenly thought that it was something people grew out of.
He sought help from his GP who referred him to the Adult ADHD clinic in Leeds.
Scott said: “After a series of assessments I was diagnosed with ADHD and agreed to medication which changed my life completely.
“I was then able to start writing cohesively and so initially compiled my existing poetry into a self-published book, ‘General Thought: A Book of Few Words’ and wrote and self published a second poetry book, ‘Dawn’, focused on my new cognitive lease of life.”
Scott had used poetry as a coping mechanism over the years and would even write a few verses on blank till receipts when he felt the yearn to write.
One of the poems he wrote was about ‘The Osgog’, a monster without compassion, who would become the villain of his latest book, Elements: Present.
The writer then realised if he created a hero character then he could write a short story. But he soon realised he had enough material for three books.
The first chapter came freely but the second proved trickier. Scott did a number of re-writes that he wasn’t happy with. His wife, Teresa, suggested he wrote profiles of all his characters so that he knew them inside out and what they were capable of.
That key bit of advice from Teresa helped tremendously and the book was written within 16 months.
Elements: Present came out last month and Scott is already hard at work on the second part. He wants to promote Elements and use his own health story to encourage others to get tested so problems can be tackled. Scott said: “I knew something wasn’t right, I just couldn’t figure out what it was. If that’s the case it’s always best to go and speak to a doctor or speak to a mental health trust to get a full mental health assessment. They just don’t test for one mental health condition, and all of the conditions have cross-overs in terms of their symptoms.”
Scott is no stranger to helping others. In 2011 he and fellow musicians recorded a song for men’s cancer charity Everyman.
He added: “I want to make it clear to people that it is really important to them, both on the cancer and ADHD front, to get help in any circumstances and as quickly as possible.”
Scott Farquharson’s fantasy novel is entitled Elements: Present.
The book, the first in a trilogy, is set within The Trashcan Universe.
It’s a place where the only thing to expect is the unexpected.
The novel’s hero Silas Ciente feels like the luckiest man in the world as he is married to an ex-Angel, Eve. She has ‘fallen’ so she can become human so she can be with Silas.
Silas has always considered himself average but he has remarkable powers that he has used throughout his life without even realising.
But it turns out Silas is pivotal in preventing a catastrophe that could destroy all life on the planet.
And with help from his beloved wife Eve and some interesting companions he will meet along the way, things are going to be anything but average.
The book has been published in hardback and is available from www.lulu.com for £14.99. It is also available as an ebook for £2.99.
Scott said there are elements of himself in some of the characters and the character of Eve was based on his wife Teresa who helped him with the book.
The author, who has had favourable feedback on his debut novel, has already started writing the second book in the series.
It will be called ‘Elements: Future’ and Scott expects to finish it within the next 12 months.
The final part in the trilogy will be known as ‘Elements: Past’.