Every Wednesday for the month of September, I’m committed to showcasing various authors. No knowledge is absolute and no man is a silo. Those of you who follow me know that I’m a key proponent of everyone having a gift bestowed on them from above and using it to the glory of God. Thereby making an impact in whatever area they find themselves. With that said, allow me to introduce Laura, who is passionate about helping young authors.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published is not my first book, but it is the first book I have written that will be published under my own name. I have always been a copywriter and ghostwriter until recently. The contest for the book comes directly from my experience teaching creative writing to youth. My first draft was a non-fiction, how-to book. But then my years of being a professional storyteller kicked in, and I rewrote it as a novel. It is a great, fast-paced story with solid writing advice. I think you will see the book show up as required reading in English and Creative Writing classes.
Do you have a specific writing style?
No. I let the subject matter determine the style. That probably comes from years of writing for hire.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted something catchy, but it’s the subtitle that says it all.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I would love it if the young writers would come away with two main points: becoming a paid writing takes time and training; and a deeper understanding of the writing process.
How much of the book is realistic?
The lessons are real, but the story is pure fantasy.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is based on years of teaching short story workshops to young writers.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The classics, especially short story collections.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
None. Most writers make poor mentors.
What book are you reading now?
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
What are your current projects?
I have also recently completed the first draft of an adult novel based on my time as a profession children’s storyteller called, The Naked Storyteller. It’s the story of a middle-age grade six teacher who launches into a personal crisis after taking a storytelling workshop at a professional day conference.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
There are two parts to this: how I became a writer and how I came to help young writers. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, writing was not part of the school curriculum outside English class, which I wasn’t a fan of. And no one in my extended family or network of friends earned their living in the arts. I wanted to be a writer as a teen, but I had no idea how or where to do that. As a result I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until I was well out of high school. Then, it was the rise of the “Idol” shows that made me realize that writing is still very hidden compared to other art forms, so I decided to do my part to help support young writers. It started with workshops and online courses, then the contest, now my whole business is about helping them. And I know from the daily email and comments I received that I’m making a difference. That keeps me going.
Laura Michelle Thomas is an author and professional storyteller from Vancouver, BC. She runs Laura Thomas Communications, a company that is dedicated to fostering the development of young writers worldwide. www.laurathomascommunications.com