When it comes to writing, some authors enjoy writing true-life events.

For Ahwatukee resident Ken Dickson, 56, that was the formula he chose when it came to writing his first novel, “Detour from Normal.”

The novel is a non-fiction memoir, highlighting the author’s own story told in two different ways: one perspective from a mentally ill patient, and the second from a devoted wife who struggles valiantly to save the man she loves.

Dickson’s decision to write a novel about a mentally ill patient was due in part of his own life experience.

In April 2011, Dickson admitted himself into the hospital due to some abdominal pain, and had to undergo surgery where he had 10 inches of his colon removed.

He spent 12 days in the hospital.

After his surgery, Dickson was given 27 different medications, and had a bad reaction to all of them.

He began suffering from insomnia, and was unable to receive assistance from the “medical community,” resulting in him turning manic.

“My story is the result of misdiagnosis, improper treatment, adverse side effects of medication, and the prejudice of medical and mental health professionals. As readers see my family and friends struggle desperately to save me, they will also learn about unfortunate events that occur every day in our medical and mental health systems,” Dickson said.

The purpose behind writing “Detour from Normal” was to explain what exactly mania is, Dickson said.

“Mania is vaguely documented and poorly understood. After my own once-in-a-lifetime experience with mania, I was determined to discover what caused it, understand its progression, determine a better course of treatment, and share my findings with others in order to save them the grief that my family and I endured. Mania is typically experienced by young people who possess few tools to deal with it,” he added.

Although Dickson wanted to share his story about his medical struggle, he also wanted “Detour from Normal” to be a chance to give back to the Ahwatukee community.

He will be donating 20 percent of his royalties from the first three months to the Desert Vista Marching Band program.

“Both my daughters were in this wonderful program and it changed their lives. The DV band program cannot exist without outside help… I hope to continue my charitable efforts into the future depending on book sales and what kinds of charitable opportunities arise,” Dickson said.

The novel has already received good reviews: five star reviews on Amazon and a five-star rating from internationally bestselling author Roy Huff on Amazon.

“Detour from Normal” can be purchased in paperback, and soon in eBook on www.amazon.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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