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Relatively Speaking: We chat to Banbridge writer Julie Comiskey and her mother

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

By Karen Ireland

After finding herself out of work and with a great passion for writing, despite being dyslexic, former journalist Julie Comiskey began to write Solstice, the first book in her upcoming trilogy. She lives in Banbridge, Co Down, with her husband Neil, a painter, and is currently working on Equinox, the second book in the series. Her mother Gemma also lives in Banbridge.

I have dyslexia and I have just launched my first book. I still can't believe I'm saying that, but after all the ups and downs in my life it is true and I'm very proud of it. I am proof that with the right help and support you can achieve anything in your life.

My dyslexia wasn't diagnosed until later on in my life, but I had always struggled, especially in primary school, where I was in remedial classes for reading and writing.

Despite this I went on to do my A-levels, my degree at Queen's University and a Masters at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. It wasn't until I had been working as a journalist in a local newspaper that my dyslexia was realised, as it became very obvious.

My mum is my best friend and has always been there for me through everything. She is always the first person I go to and I tell her everything.

The book was born during a period of unemployment. I had been working on documentaries and researching Satanic goings on and spiritualism in the North and then work dried up, but the idea for the book was born and I started working on it. Mum was the first person I showed it to and she believed in me.

Solstice kept me sane during that difficult period in my life. Both me and my husband Neil were out of work and it was a very difficult time, but the book kept us both going and it gave me something to get up in the mornings for.

When I started working on the book there was no one I would rather have by my side, living and breathing the book with me, than my mum. I genuinely wouldn't have the end product if it wasn't for her.

I got a job as a secretary in the local primary school so I had to work on the book in my spare time.

I was so nervous about how the book would be received and for me showing it to people was a huge leap of faith - there were many rejection letters before it was accepted.

Mum always encouraged me. She is very progressive and a free spirit. I remember actually getting to know my mum the summer I did my GCSEs. Up until then she was just an annoying, nagging mother, but I realised then how liberal she was.

I grew up in a house with four boys so we naturally became close as I got older and did the shopping and girlie things together.

I have achieved my dream with this book with the love and support of my parents, especially my mum, and I hope I encourage other people to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

Mum's love for me was always unconditional. Her cynicism drives me crazy at times, though. Like the time we took her and my dad to Paris and she said it was great but very crowded. Things like that drive me nuts, but I love her regardless.

Name: Julie Comiskey

Age: 36

Occupation: School secretary/ author

Relationship to Gemma Savage: Daughter

 

Growing up, Julie struggled at school. I wasn't very good at writing or spelling when I was at school either so I thought she was stupid like me. That's an awful thing to think and it wasn't until later that we realised she had dyslexia.

I think she takes her love of books after me. I always have a book in my hand and the house is coming down with them. Growing up, there would always have been books in the house and I would always have read a goodnight story to the kids.

The thing about Julie is she is a perseverer. I used to tell her that I thought I had dreamt her up as she is good at so many things that I never was, like writing and swimming and dancing.

She made it to university and I used to go down and stay with her. Julie never drank so she would buy me a carry-out and we would go out dancing. She would always tell me everything that was going on in her life.

When she graduated we were so proud. I knew then she could be whatever she wanted to be.

When she met Neil and married him, they were so good to us. They take us on holiday with them every summer.

If I had to say anything negative, it's Julie can be quite whimsical. She tends to start things and not stick at them. She certainly stuck at the book, though, and I loved being there from the beginning and reading it.

I am so proud to see it finally launched. I can't wait to see what the reaction to it will be and I'm looking forward to the next two books coming out!

Name: Gemma Savage

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired

Relationship to Julie Comiskey: Mother

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