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JT Lawrence

During our infertility journey, a book was recommended to me time and time again.  It was a book recommended by other women that had also struggled to fall pregnant, those that had undergone IVF, those that had experienced unexpected loss, and those that truly understood the emotional toll that infertility takes on not only your body, but also your mind.  This book is called “The Underachieving Ovary”, and honestly I feel it is a book that everyone should read.  I cried, laughed, got excited, and had my heart shattered – all in one book.  And once I had finished it I did some more research into the author, JT Lawrence, and was amazed to discover that she is South African.

I have always been a bookworm and love nothing better than curling up in a spot of sunshine to devour my latest book.  My husband often returns home over a weekend to find me cuddled up under a blanket with a cup of tea in one hand, and my book in another.  And JT Lawrence has been one of my favourite authors ever since that first book of hers that I read.  I couldn’t believe it when she responded to my email requesting a short interview for my blog, and feel so honoured that one of my role models took the time to answer my questions and come on board.  So without further ado, here is the amazing JT Lawrence!


Your name:  Janita Lawrence – known as JT Lawrence to readers

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Social media handles:  Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, BookBub, Website and Email.

What are some fun facts about you:

  1. I’m currently obsessed with growing food in my victory garden
  2. I’m addicted to walking and podcasts
  3. I went to boarding school
  4. I used to be an art director in advertising
  5. I wear a wolf hat in winter
  6. I bake bread and make kombucha
  7. I grew up with Roald Dahl bedtime stories (thanks, Mom!)
  8. I wear black almost all the time
  9. I love Agnes Obel’s music
  10. I’m fascinated by psychedelic medicine
  11. I read gardening books to unwind
  12. I used to draw and paint
  13. I’m currently volunteering for the Covid-19 vaccine trial
  14. I was on a billboard once
  15. My 8-year-old son says I’m the “strangest mom he’s ever met”
  16. I’ve been skydiving (and scuba diving with ragged tooth sharks)
  17. In January I met a cow on a mountain and I haven’t been able to eat beef since. Lasagne used to be my favourite dish. Now we eat a lot of lentils.

Tell me a little more about you:  I’m a mom to 3 free-range children, 2 cats and a kitten, a hamster, and a dozen happy chickens. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to imagine a life so full of chaos and magic.

In our house we believe that love is love, black lives matter, feminism is about equality, trans women are women, science is king, kindness comes first, and it’s great to grow your own food.

How did you get into writing:  I’ve always written–and always been delighted by peoples’ reactions–apart from a family friend who used to recite a poem I wrote when I was 8 every single time we saw him. 30+ years later, my whole family still know the rhyme.

Twinkle twinkle little dragon

How I wonder about your wagon

Going sixty miles per hour

Eating people sweet and sour.

What genre are your books:  I hop between genres. I’ve written psychological suspense, thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction: memoir. At the moment I’m focusing on urban fantasy due to the success of BLOOD MAGIC.

Which book holds the most meaning for you:  This is like asking which child is my favourite, the answer to which is usually the one who is not currently crying.

Who do you think these books would appeal to:  Anyone who enjoys escapist page-turners and staying up all night reading “just one more chapter”.

Where can people purchase your books from:  Amazon is the best place, but I do sell signed paperbacks to local readers.

What do you wish more people knew about you:  I hate phone calls.

The first book of yours I ever read was “The Underachieving Ovary” & it helped me through my infertility journey – what inspired you to write this:  My underachieving ovary! I hoped that getting the story out there would be healing for me and helpful to others. Infertility is a lonely place to be.

Why are you proudly South African:  At the moment, my favourite thing about SA is the long growing season and the blue sky.

Quote you live by:  “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Einstein

Anything else you want to add:  If any of your readers would like to try out my work, they can grab this bundle of stories, free of charge. http://eepurl.com/cm-QVf


I am still pinching myself that I have been able to feature the one and only JT Lawrence here, and can highly recommend her books to you.  Even husband (who is not a reader at all) has really enjoyed the books that he has tried, and he currently has one sitting on his nightstand.

I really enjoyed getting to know JT Lawrence better, and adore her honesty and sense of humour.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and please let me know when you manage to read one of her books yourself.


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Get Me To 21

Even if you are not directly part of the Rare Disease Community, I am sure that you have heard of Jenna Lowe.  Perhaps you were even lucky enough to meet this young lady.  Maybe you have visited her website, & became an organ donor when you heard from someone waiting for her lungs how dire the situation is.

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Gabi & Jenna Lowe

Jenna was an inspiring young lady who never allowed her diagnosis to hold her back.  She lived life to the fullest, encouraged & inspired others, & was constantly striving to create awareness around organ donation.  You see, Jenna had Pulmonary Hypertension.


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Jenna was young, bright, beautiful and articulate. Lead SA’s Youth Hero of the Year in 2015, her death was mourned by thousands of people whose lives she had touched. During her short but full life, Jenna and the Lowe family raised much needed awareness around this rare and devastating disease, highlighting the dire need for access to medication and organ donors locally. Although desperately ill, Jenna became the face for organ donation in South Africa through the hugely successful #GetMeTo21 campaign in which she invited all South Africans to attend her 21st birthday celebration by clicking on a link to become an organ donor. Tragically Jenna died three months before reaching her milestone.

Brilliantly written, riveting in all its terrible truth and pain, in this brutally honest memoir Gabi Lowe shares her family’s desperate fight to save Jenna’s life. Despite their tragic loss, Get Me To 21 will inspire you to believe that the ability to face even the darkest and most unimaginable lives deep within us all.

Author: Gabi Lowe studied a BA before embarking on a successful career in media and marketing. In 2011 she was catapulted into a totally new world, that of rare diseases, big pharma and transplantation, filled with massive challenges, learnings, losses and love. Gabi is now a sought-after life coach, facilitator of workshops on emotional resilience and inspirational speaker. She lives in Cape Town with her husband Stuart and daughter Kristi.

(source:  GetMeTo21)


When I heard that Gabi Lowe was coming to Joburg for the launch of her book, I knew I had to be there.  #RareWarrior friends would be there, as well as the CEO of Rare Diseases SA.  Jenna’s story had touched me & I was desperate to learn more about this girl who has left such a footprint on the world.

I had tissues at the ready, & appreciated the courage of the entire Lowe family for allowing us a glimpse into the battle they went through as an entire family.  Gabi read from the book for all of us (this is where the tears started), & told us the hard truth about the lack of resources & awareness in South Africa.  There were fellow PH patients in the crowd, as well as another mum who has lost 2 of her children to this dreadful disease.  When I saw Shaakira, my heart broke – I had known her daughter & here she was supporting her “family” & standing up in support of the Lowe’s.  They had leant on one another throughout their journey’s & now they are both grieving the loss of their precious children – how is that fair?

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Humayra Bodhania


Following the launch, I needed some time to process what had been discussed before beginning the book.  I knew it would be a tough one to work my way through, & emotionally I did not know if I was ready.  Realising that a lot of this fear stemmed from the fact that I am relapsing & fearful of what this means for me & my family, I knew I had to just suck it up.  This is a book of bravery, a book of loss, a book of pure love.

Within 2 days I had finished the entire book.  I literally could not put it down, except to clear my head for a few moments when it all became too much.  I felt completely drained as I finished the last page & I was amazed at the strength of the Lowe’s.  Jenna’s story needed to be told, & needs to continue to be shared.  This book was honest & raw, & included excerpts from Jenna’s actual diary.  It showed the truth of what it is like to have a Rare Disease & the fear of the unknown. It showed the hope of a miracle, & the emptiness that follows a loss that cannot truly be explained.  It showed courage.


This book has changed my life – for the better.  And it is a book that will keep Jenna’s legacy alive, whilst continuing to touch everyone who reads it.

The book is available online, or from local book stores in South Africa – I got mine from Exclusive Books at the event itself, & have seen it many times since then.

I leave you with the song that Jenna wrote, & her sister Kristi performed.


Read the book, join the Facebook Group, & sign up as an Organ Donor.  Be the change.


 

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