This summer, we’re handing the blog to our mentees so they can introduce themselves and their writing. Read on and find out more about the person who could be your next favourite writer!
Three years ago, I picked up my pen to write prose after a gap of some thirty years, and I was thrilled to find how naturally it came back to me. I started with poetry, taking creative writing classes at CityLit college in Covent Garden. As a teenager, and in later life, I visited and lived in India with my family. The culture and values of my birth country had a profound impact on me. I was always an avid reader. Most of the stories I read as a youth were children’s classics, depicting characters with the same skin colour as the people of my host country. At the time, it didn’t register with me. It was only when I came back to writing prose in midlife that I found myself writing about protagonists from an Asian background like my own. I have been writing the stories that I wanted to read in my youth.
I have two children myself and for the last five years, I have been working for NSPCC ChildLine. I was naturally drawn to supporting children with their mental health in the belief that the early and teenage years are the most formative in a person’s life. Dealing with issues ranging from self harm to eating disorders, even suicide, made me want to shine a torch on these often unspoken areas in a child’s life, especially so in the Asian community where such problems were often swept under the carpet and remain a stigma to this day.
To this end, the novel I have been writing focuses on a young Asian protagonist who travels between two continents, both herself and her sister grappling with some of these same issues. This is a story about how they learn to support each other through the struggles of a traditional, patriarchal environment. I think the biggest challenges I face on my writing journey are my tendency to overwrite and make the story arc too long and drawn out. Editing and structuring will be very important tools for me to learn and I am looking forward to having a well crafted novel by the end of this year. I am really enjoying the camaraderie and mutual support of being within a community of like minded writers which Megaphone provides. The valuable advice and insight into the publishing industry is another wonderful tool. I look forward to the journey.