Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlights, the thirty-eighth, is of children’s author and interviewee Miranda Newboult.
Miranda lives in East Sussex with her partner, three children (one of whom is a very recent addition to the family) and an ever-growing collection of animals. The headcount easily exceeds thirty and some days are an endless round of feeding and watering. “Everywhere I turn there is someone else standing there with their mouth open hopefully” she jokes.
Miranda graduated in 1991 with a degree in English and Related Literature from York. The experience put her off reading for years. When she eventually regained her childhood pleasure in reading she also discovered whole new genres unheard of in the hallowed halls of university. Chick Lit, Crime, Adventure, Fantasy – her shopping basket suddenly overflowed with novels that held no place on a dusty academic course. Yee-hah, the passion had come back!
During this time, she worked in London with varying degrees of success. It was the recession and – with hindsight – flogging advertising space was a soul-destroying activity, and deeply unsuccessful. She fared marginally better as a recruitment consultant before moving into Human Resources where being helpful and pleasant was seen as a useful commodity rather than a serious character flaw. This lasted a couple of years before being made redundant. After this, she worked for herself – having cleverly forgotten how bad she was at selling.
The uncertainty that reigned post-9/11 put paid to this plan and she took a job as a Leadership and Management Consultant at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2002 and lived happily ever after.
And now from the author herself:
Apart from a short post-university strop with literature I have always loved reading. My nose was permanently in a book as a child and I still fundamentally believe that reading is the best form of escapism there is. I am the person who constantly says, “the book was so much better than the film”. With a book you completely immerse yourself in the experience, the characters’ voices in your head are heard just as you want them to be, you visualise the story as you see it internally. No film or video game has ever been able to emulate that. What you see, hear, experience is someone else’s interpretation of a story – not your own unique version, the version you only get when reading a book. I love the fact that people experience your characters for themselves, and take them to their hearts as their friends (or not). Books allow for rich debate, for readers to disagree with each other and with the author, to take from the story what is powerful for them. Books about the human experience can be read on so many levels, from a basically good yarn through to a profoundly moving and cathartic experience which is entirely their own.
My novel, “Emma’s Stormy Summer” is a children’s book which illustrates this point perfectly. On one level it is about a young girl whose life changes over the course of the summer. Her friendships at school change and her relationship with her father deteriorates in ways she doesn’t understand. There are themes of bullying and depression in the book which can be accessed by the reader to the degree that is right for them. For those who have no personal experience of such issues it is simply an enjoyable and life-affirming read. For those whose lives have been touched by bullying, depression and the over-whelming feeling of responsibility for the happiness of others the book is – hopefully – a profoundly liberating experience for the reader when s/he realises they are not alone. I hope it will open up opportunities for children who are struggling with similar issues in their lives to feel they can discuss what is happening to them, even if they do nothing more than talk to Emma.
My second novel is about a boy who has recently lost his mother. It is about his relationship with his father and how they come to terms with their loss and move on with their lives. It sounds a gloomy topic but the protagonist, Ben, is an optimistic boy who has good friends and a great outlook on life. Again, it’s a story that can be accessed on many different levels, depending on the mind-set of the reader. It needs some tweaking before it is ready to face the world.
One day I may write an adult novel but for now I find the world of children endlessly fascinating. Children are incredibly resilient, positive and emotionally intelligent and it’s a privilege to give them a voice.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with mystery, suspense, fantasy author Nancy Adams – the two hundred and eleventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, autobiographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks at Smashwords.