Author’s new book explores identity
At an age when most people think about retiring, Carol Ferris had to learn how to use a keyboard.
Giving an injection or operating a hyperbaric chamber was more her style; she’d trained as a physician nearly 40 years prior.
“Typing my novel was a two and three-finger job,” the 67-year-old said. “I was correcting all the time.”
She considered having someone else type while she dictated, but “that didn’t work”.
“Then I thought, maybe if I write it longhand and copy it onto the computer that might be easier. It wasn’t. Eventually, it was just a case of get on with it
and do it.”
It took her more than two years to finish her novel Enigma Island, a fantasy about a young woman exploring her identity.
“She decides to join her parents who have just moved back to Enigma Island where her mother was born,” said Dr Ferris. “It is somewhat mystical and different and the people are different. Things start to happen to her, things like telepathy.”
The book was inspired by Dr Ferris’s own experience with mind-reading. In the 1990s, while in her mid-40s, she started to question things she’d learnt in medical school and while growing up.
“I was taught about the limitations we have; that your body stops here, and you are no more beyond that. It was a progressive type of situation. I was just thinking, there has to be more to life than this. Let’s figure it out.”
She signed up for a telepathy workshop where she and a partner were asked to think of specific numbers or letters.
“My partner sent me a letter that I saw so clearly in my mind’s eye,” she said. “It was totally real. There was no guesswork in that. That, to me, was an amazing experience.”
She had a similar experience while climbing Mera Peak in the Himalayas, not long after.
“I wasn’t very well,” she said. “We had gotten up to about 18,000ft. One night we were woken by one of the sherpa porters.
“He was chanting loudly, making a lot of noise and disturbing everyone in the camp. I heard voices trying to quiet him down. Then there were screams and yells and it got quiet.”
She later learnt that the porter was a shaman, a person believed to be in touch with the spirit world.
“He felt the mountain was not happy to have us there,” said Dr Ferris. “He finally took a bucket of water and doused himself in it. It was freezing weather. They took him back down the mountain.”
The next day they finished their climb and were rewarded with a beautiful, clear view. Coming down, the weather started to change for the worse.
“The snow started to fall just before we left camp. As we went down, word came down that there was a really bad storm in that area.
“That day on the mountain, three porters died and many people had to be evacuated. I think this is what the shaman saw. Through that, my perception has changed a lot.”
Dr Ferris grew up in the Yorkshire Dales in northern England. Her father was also a physician; she loved reading his medical books.
“I was fascinated by the human body,” she said. “I wanted to learn all about it, but my father was very against me, as a female, going into medicine. He felt it was a hard life for a woman.”
She studied science in university but early on switched to medicine, despite her parents’ reservations.
She qualified as a doctor in 1978 and came to Bermuda in 1980 to work in the Emergency Room. She’s now semi-retired but still helps out in the hyperbaric chamber.
“I am not working full-time, so writing has been my little hobby,” she said. “I attempted to write one other book, but that never got finished.
“I hope people will read it and enjoy it for what it is. It’s not meant to be a literary masterpiece. Maybe it will get people thinking there are other things out there.”
She’ll sign copies of her book at the Bermuda National Library on Queen Street on Thursday between 6pm and 8pm. Enigma Island is available on amazon.com.