Why did you pursue writing?
Because I had to. I did really well in university so doors kept opening for me to speak at conferences, teach, receive prizes, etc., but it was mostly for my essays and creative non-fiction pieces, not because I was scholar of the year. It took a long time and years of determination to finally strip away the other forms of earning income before I finally allowed myself to earn a living as a writer. I have a lot of strong skill sets, but written communication is the one that comes most easily and that I seem to be paid the most for.
I also know that it’s through writing that I survive and process my life. When things go sideways or when I get really upset about how our institutions grind away and unwittingly destroy lives, I turn to my notepad. Look at Harry Tyke, the protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, I use him to show my frustration with the digital trends in parenting and education. I use my words to raise awareness about issues I think are harming our collective present and future.
What inspired your book, The Naked Storyteller?
I have always believed that educators should do more with less. And watching my now eleven-year-old daughter go through the public school system has affirmed that education is getting further and further away from human-to-human teaching and is relying on all sorts of mostly useless teaching aids and technology to do the work.
The Naked Storyteller began as a how-to novel (much like my first novel Polly Wants to Be a Writer is a how-to on writing fiction) based on a storytelling workshop that I used to present at teacher conferences and to “edutainment” companies. The book was intended to encourage teachers to use traditional story-based teaching methods and provide tips on how to implement those methods in the modern classroom, but Harry’s voice was so strong that I ditched the how-to part and rewrote the second draft as a contemporary romantic comedy.
How long have you been publishing your work?
I have been freelancing for more than 20 years in fiction and non-fiction. My last gig was head of creative writing and communications for an edutainment company. When the company downsized in the spring of 2013, and I was laid off, I decided to stop selling my services to corporate clients and start getting books out that have my name on the cover. I started with Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published because I was already doing a ton of mentoring of young writers on the side and had lots to say to that audience.
What’s your writing environment like?
I’m a mom, and I take that job seriously. I work from home and my work day starts when my daughter leaves for school, my husband has gone to work and I have the place to myself. I need extended hours of quiet in order to do creative work. My office is next to the kitchen and laundry room so that when I need to stretch my back and legs I can throw in a load of clothes or start on dinner preparations. I cook and bake from scratch, which means I need a fair bit of time in the kitchen, so I definitely appreciate being able to work at home. I love it and wouldn’t change a thing.
What projects are you currently working on?
The list is long. Aside from running Laura Thomas Communications, which includes the International Junior Authors contests and conferences, and running our online magazine, jaBlog!, I am working on three book projects. The Adventures of Bob Warhop is an animal fantasy novel for young readers 9 - 12. I’m on the second revision round and it is the next book I will release; so it’s a priority.
I am also working on a daily devotional for writers. I start my writing sessions by writing the devotion for one day. It should be ready to sell by the end of 2015. A newer project is a non-fiction book on the history of Parental Alienation Syndrome in Canada. I’m in the research stages for that one and will sell essays first before completing the book. It’s a topic I’m politically and personally involved in so I work on it as I’m trying to nudge our politicians in my community to do something about this terrible form of child abuse.
About the Author:
LAURA MICHELLE THOMAS is an author with an opinion on just about everything she thinks is wrong with contemporary life in North America (which, in her opinion, is just about everything). Harry Tyke, the 52-year-old protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, is who Laura might be if she wasn’t the author of her own life and had a beard. When she’s not writing and telling her family to buzz off and let her work, she’s runs a very busy website through which she fosters the development of young writers around the world through free annual writing contests, young writers conferences and other inspirational stuff. With the assistance of her team of junior bloggers, editors and artists, Laura has the privilege of being publisher and senior editor of an international e-zine for young writers called jaBlog! To find out what novel project Laura is working on now, please visit her website (www.laurathomascommunications.com) and click on “Novels by Laura Michelle Thomas.”
Social Media Links:
(Kindle Amazon.com) http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W