Welcome to our Author Spotlight, where we shine a light on writers, authors and literary wonders from all over the world.
Today our spotlight is shining on Ashley Nichole Walkowiak, author of Found. Still lost.
First, tell us a little about your book/project?
Found. Still lost. is a collection of poetry and art that focuses on grief and trauma. My brother, John, and I co-authored this book following the loss of our sister, but the journey encompasses all aspects of loss. You will find loss of relationships, loss of self due to substance use or depression, loss due to death, loss of innocence, and a lost path.
What kind of research did you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Well, my healing journey after my own rape and stalking experience led me to a career in advocacy. Once I began learning about the ways that trauma impacts the brain, I was eager to also learn how to create new neurological pathways.
Trauma has been found to
• change the structure and chemical activity of the brain
• decrease the size/connectivity in some parts of the brain
• impair emotional/behavioral functioning
This can manifest in feelings of shock, confusion, denial, and grief. Experiencing trauma can manifest physical conditions such as anxiety, panic, headaches, dizziness, poor concentration, and flashbacks. Feelings of detachment, isolation from family and friends, and struggling to complete typical daily tasks are all common responses to trauma. In order to combat the effects of trauma in my life, I needed to find ways for those emotions to exist outside my body – enter writing.
If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?
Whenever you feel like quitting, don’t stop. Don’t stop writing. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. Don’t stop healing. Don’t stop believing. Because, one day, you will receive countless messages from people about how much your words shaped their own journey to a life that reconciles the pain of the past and the possibility of the future.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing space?
Hmmm I think what I need most is an uncluttered brain, which can be hard to come by when you’re a mom with a full-time career. And, ya know, something sweet to eat doesn’t hurt either.
If you could be a character from any book for 24 hours, who would you be?
Alice, during her adventures in Wonderland. Suffering a rape at age 17, a lot of my young life was stolen from me. The world lost a lot of magic, and I lost my curiosity. I think experiencing 24 hours in Alice’s shoes would be a beautiful way to reconnect with my younger self and recover some of that magic.