|JOURNEY Author: Michelle Kemp|
1. What made you decide to take part in the JOURNEY project?
I started writing stories when I was 9 years old so writing has always been a part of my life. I am a teacher so my passion has been writing children’s books and I have published seven books to date. However, I felt I was in need of a new challenge. When I heard about the Journey project I was very excited. I was eager to try my hand at writing fiction for someone older than 8 years. The concept of a central theme (as well as a set word count and deadline) really motivated me as I thrive on challenges. I was excited to be able to work with such an amazing, diverse group of authors and have really learned a lot.
2. What is the title of your story? How did you come up with the title?
The title of my story is Lonely. I have always loved writing poetry and as a teen it was a great way to express my emotions. I wrote a poem called Lonely as it was how I felt at the time. When I was writing this story, that poem was really resonating with me and my memories of being a lonely teen.
3. What inspired your story?
I actually wrote the first paragraph of the story years ago and never really did anything with it. One day I was reading through some of my old work looking for inspiration for Journey and I found this short text. It really struck a chord with me and I just started to write. I soon had a vision of this harsh bleak world; where the loneliness I had felt as a teen didn’t even compare to the loneliness found there. I realised that it is all about perspective. I wanted to share my story as it is a symbol of the journey that many teens experience.
4. Please tell us about the journey of your character(s)
My character is a teenage girl who goes on a journey to overcome her fears of loneliness. She is thrown into a world where she has no choice but to confront the harsh loneliness of life. Through this journey she learns that there are things that are worse than putting yourself out there and embracing life.
5. What other things, besides writing, do you like to do?
I own a school and teach one of the classes so that takes up a lot of my time. I also teach creative writing to primary school children on some afternoons. When I do have spare moments I love to read as much as I can. I live on a smallholding with my parents so I enjoy being out in nature and spending time with my family. I enjoy dancing and swimming to relax but am also partial to drinking hot chocolate on the couch watching an epic movie.
6. What did you learn about yourself or your journey as a writer during this project?
I have learned so much during this project. I think one of the greatest things is that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. I have spread my wings as a writer and enjoyed every moment of the flight. I realise that my journey is far from over and that there is always a new challenge around the corner if I am just brave enough to take the chance.
7. What do you see as your biggest challenge as a writer?
I think my biggest challenges would be time and editing. I love the writing process and enjoy working on different concepts. As such I work better with a deadline, as it helps me focus and devote time to a project. I prefer to write rather than edit but I am learning to enjoy polishing my work.
Thank you, Michelle, and all the best with your writing!
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