Thank you, Author’s Lounge, for this opportunity to talk about my newest book, “In-Patient: A Psych Ward Story.”
What is your book all about?
“In-Patient” takes place in an adolescent ward of an old New England psychiatric hospital in late 1993, during a time when putting young people on psychiatric medication was first becoming popular and books like “Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen and “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel were telling the stories of young people with psych issues in mainstream popular culture. The main character, Karen A Rogers/Ren Anonymous is a fifteen-year-old poet who wants to be a rapper. She has just returned to Boston from a cross-country road trip to see the Pope at World Youth Day in Denver Colorado where she got into lots of trouble. The story of that road trip is in a book called “Good Catholic Kids,” the first in the series, “The Offbeat Life Of Ren Anonymous.” “Good Catholic Kids” comes first, chronologically, but they are entirely separate books and separate stories that don’t have to be read in order. In the book, “In-Patient,” Ren learns a lot about her own mental health, coping skills, addictions, sexuality, gender identity, psychology, art therapy, and the corrupt ways of the system. She makes friends with the other patients who are all dealing with different issues, which they talk about and try to work through in therapy. Most of the people working there are extremely kind and helpful, but there are a few who don’t seem to have the best intentions, to say the least. The book takes place over the holiday season, which is part of the story, along with dry humor and pop culture references.
What inspired you to write the book?
My main inspiration was first hand experience. This whole series about Ren Anonymous is strongly based on my own life. I wrote four memoirs, “The Godchild Trilogy” and “I Write The System.” I have lived a long, hard life at 44 years of age, starting from the day I was born intersex and operated on at birth to be made female. I was told I was crazy and “not a normal girl,” as if that were my fault. That was only the beginning, as I was abused for years to the point where I didn’t feel safe anywhere in the world. I went on to spend twenty years of my life in and out of psych wards, up until my early thirties, and usually by choice, but occasionally against my will. “In-Patient” is based on my very first hospitalization as a teenager, and I checked myself in there willingly and eagerly.
What is the target audience for the book?
I think the main people who are going to relate to this book would be
1. people with mental illness
2. LGBTQIA people because Ren is several of those letters
3. people who either grew up in the 90s or remember them well
4. people who love music and pop culture
5. teens and young adults, since it is about teenagers, although it would be R-rated as a movie. Still, I started watching R-rated movies at age 11, so if teenagers are anything like we were in the 90s, I’m sure they would be a great target audience for this.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
I think people will learn a lot about accepting others, including their imperfections and meeting them where they’re at, rather than immediately “canceling” them for doing something “cringe.” It also teaches psychology, how to ask for help, and what goes on behind closed doors in mental health facilities. It could even open people’s minds to help them love and accept themselves. The book teaches basic, but extremely helpful coping skills that readers can adapt to their own lives, and it uses humor, hope, and relatable characters and situations to get the point across in an easy-to-understand way.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
I recently heard from an LGBTQIA library that’s going up in Boston next year, and they would like me to donate my books, so I plan to do that and, hopefully, another book signing event in the fall at the art gallery where my art is hanging. Other than that, I’m nearly finished writing a trilogy called, New Horizons School, about Ren and the alternative high school she goes to after the story of In-Patient ends. That will be next in “The Offbeat Life Of Ren Anonymous” and while “New Horizons School 1, 2, and 3” should be read in order, the trilogy is a separate story from “Good Catholic Kids” or “In-Patient: A Psych Ward Story.”
And something more about yourself?
My name is Jymi Cliche and I’ve lived in the Boston, Massachusetts area my whole life. I love the area I’m from, psychology, human rights activism,
art, and all kinds of music. I’m a proud Xennial, born between Gen X and Millennials on September 11th in the late 70s when punk and hip hop were first introduced to the world as an alternative to the mainstream, very much like me. I was born intersex and raised female, but now live as male and use he/him pronouns. I survived a life of hell but came out of it with a positive attitude, a good sense of humor, and endless stories to tell. I have nine books available on Amazon. I’m also an artist and photographer with art hanging in homes around the world and a few galleries in the Boston area. I designed all of my book covers and have plans for all sorts of upcoming projects. I’m Bipolar, and have learned over the years how to use my mania to get things done. Please follow me on social media if you enjoy this interview. I hope you’ll enjoy my books.
In-Patient on Amazon : Click here
Linktree : Click here