Hashtag Press acquires ‘The Waiting Gate’
Abiola Bello, co-founder of Hashtag Press, says, “JM Forrest is a great writer and I am excited about her new book. Everyone has asked this question at some point in their life ‘Where do we go after death?’ and JM Forrest has explored it beautifully. We are very proud to have The Waiting Gate as one of our books”.
Helen Lewis, co-founder of Hashtag Press, was first introduced to author Jane Merrill Forrest through the discovery of ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’in 2015,” I had recently experienced great loss and was still in the midst of an exhausting grieving process. Reading Flight of the Kingfisher, and getting to know Alex Kelburn, changed my attitude to death. I became, for the first time, open to the idea of talking to a psychic medium, and considering the concept of what happens after we die. I’m so proud of this book and Jane is a highly talented writer who is a joy to work with”.
J Merrill Forrest says, “Rainstones House’ is a fictional place where one wing is a hospice and the other a residential dementia care home. The hospice scenes are from my own experience of being a volunteer at a local hospice. I assisted in the Day Patient Unit, but my main role entailed visiting a patient with a life-limiting illness at their own home. I was assigned to a delightful elderly lady, many years a widow, whose life expectancy was about one year due to cancer. When I started visiting she was a lively person, who liked to be smartly turned out and was happy to tell me about her life, she clearly enjoyed our conversations and debates on all sorts of topics. Of course, she was frail and the physical changes in her over the months I visited were all too apparent, but then I noticed mental changes too. These were so rapid it seemed that one week she was the lady who looked forward to my visits and the next she seemed not to know me at all. She would ask who I was and if she owed me money. I knew to answer her questions each time as if it was the first time she’d asked me, and she seemed to accept it for a few minutes before asking me again. All too soon she was bed-bound and the lady I knew had completely disappeared. As I sat beside the bed reading to her I found myself wondering, ‘where has she gone’? I was not sad when she died, for she had told me early on in our acquaintance that she knew she would be joining her husband, and she was looking forward to dancing with him again.
“I never forgot her and as the idea for another novel featuring psychic medium Alex Kelburn, first introduced in ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’, began to take shape in my mind, I knew that my experience with her was the trigger-point. Through extensive research I learned of some intriguing and wonderful theories about what might happen to us when the mind no longer functions but the body goes on living. This is the premise of The Waiting Gate…”
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About the author
J Merrill Forrest’s deep interest in the supernatural is a major theme in her writing. For more than thirty years Jane has researched her subject, visiting psychics, mediums, Spiritualist churches and séances, always keeping an open and questioning mind, hunting down evidence. At age 40 Jane followed her dream of going to university and gained a BA (Hons) in English Literature, and returned to academia ten years later to gain her MA in Creative Writing. It was during this time she began to work on her novel ‘Flight of the Kingfisher’, published in 2015, which deals with the emotive and polarising subject of life after death and introduced psychic medium Alex Kelburn. He returns in her latest novel, ‘The Waiting Gate’, the main theme of which is dementia and what happens to those who ‘disappear’ as the disease takes hold.
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The article appeared online 14 March, and within a week it had been syndicated worldwide and been shared 1,900 times. Hundreds of comments were received before they closed it. The response to the article in the newspaper the following day was also immense, with the Daily Mail receiving yet more letters and emails. I received dozens of personal emails in one day, all from people who had experienced bereavement and who had found my story comforting. The story was picked up by Spirit & Destiny too.
The Wiltshire Times