A MARKETING consultant from Whitchurch has opened up about how her battle with depression prompted her to write a book to help others.

Struggling after a painful bereavement 24 years earlier, as well as depression, The Story of Hope is the book Katherine Elizabeth James was desperate to read, but unable to find.

It was launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10, and is an allegorical tale about an unlikely hero called Hope.

Trapped in her attic room, she feels forgotten by the world. She embarks on a journey of self discovery, protected by a beautiful cloak.

Katherine said: “Back in 2014, I was in a really difficult place. I felt like I was in a dark attic, covered with a black cloak. I didn’t know how to find a new direction. So, I searched desperately for a book to help me overcome all that adversity and depression. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote one myself.”

She added: “I really hope, with all my heart, that this book will help somebody struggling with their mental health, particularly at this difficult time. It’s concise, beautifully illustrated and could be a perfect gift for someone.”

Katherine grew up in Alnmouth, Northumberland, but has since moved to Whitchurch.

She said: “I was a shy, sensitive child. I spent many hours in the attic of our large house by the sea where I grew up – trying to make sense of the world.

“I fed my imagination with fairy tales and fantasy literature – things like the Hobbit, Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. The heroes and heroines of those tales became my friends.

“This was also the time that I first came up with the concept of ‘The Story of Hope’ – and it’s great to now see it being published as a book.”

Ten years ago, Katherine managed a programme to train young people with mental health issues to become leaders.

“I’ve fought my own painful battle with depression and saw how those young people retreated into their own ‘attic’ of despair, hiding away from the world.

“I encouraged them to take up a new mantle – overcoming despair and turning it into a positive chapter of their evolving story.

“You could say we’re all on a hero’s journey, called to find hope by conquering adversity.”

As a youngster, Katherine loved prising unusual facts about people from her father’s extensive library.

She became an information manager, setting up market research services for technical companies and teasing out hidden gems from various sources and making cold, hard facts warm and engaging.

She added: “Twenty years ago, I stumbled across storytelling as a marketing tool to help businesses. I discovered a natural ability to help a technical sales community in a large telecoms company sell a complex portfolio by marketing with storytelling. Multi-million-pound deals were signed. I tumbled into my vocation!

“Later on, tempted back to roles more about traditional marketing than storytelling, I lost my way. And something awful happened. I fell off a loft ladder, breaking my back in two places, spending a year recuperating.”

She continued: “Thankfully, that fall and bang on the head landed me back on my feet. I followed my heart, launching a storytelling company to help clients attract like-minded, like-hearted clients they’d love to meet.”

Katherine now runs a successful marketing consultancy – Copy That Sells – under her business name of Katherine Ledger.

Her firm works with IT and technical businesses as well as B2B companies. She crafts their real-life business stories and shares these with customers through their marketing.

“Wherever I go, I love listening to people, whether overseas or closer to home, chatting to people I meet in business and life about the lives and livelihoods they would love to have<” she said.

“So often companies hide their star qualities and the infinite lengths to which they go to for clients. So, I tease out those stories and weave them like a golden thread throughout their marketing content to help them sparkle.”

The Story of Hope is published by Storyarc Publishing. It is available to buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Waterstones, among others.

To find out more as well as buy the book, priced at RRP £7.99 for the paperback and £3.99 for the eBook, please visit http://www.thestoryofhope.co.uk