by Ian Sifton, Age 17, Canada Blogger jaBlog!
I got the chance to interview Laura Michelle Thomas, the creator of Laura Thomas Communications and author of Polly Wants to Be a Writer. An advocate for the fostering and educating of young writers, her organization spans the globe through an interwoven web, connecting up-and-coming authors and providing them with the groundwork to get started on their writing careers. I asked her where the inspiration for this idea came from and where she plans to take it in the future.
When and why did your interest in writing start?
I was a bucktoothed teenager in the 1980s obsessed with books and writing, nothing more than that. There are no great prodigy stories from my childhood. I wasn’t special, but I always found writing easy and natural. I liked words and dedicated many inky hours to practicing calligraphy.
I always enjoyed English classes, which really just means I didn’t have to work too hard to get a decent mark. But none of my school experiences inspired me to write. It was reading books like The Hobbit and Charlotte’s Web and The Chrysalids and Lord of the Flies and and To Kill a Mocking Bird short stories like “The Lottery” and “Harrison Bergeron” that got me thinking about being an author.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My life, the world and art. Inspiration comes from something I’ve thought about or experienced firsthand, especially something that ticks me off.
Aside from Ms. Whitford straightening out Polly’s misconceptions about the writing profession, Polly Wants to Be a Writer is pretty tame. I’m not too critical. However, the prequel to Polly Wants to Be a Writer, Dragon by a Tale (coming in 2015), puts the historical injustices and inequities in the publishing world under a harsh light; and The Naked Storyteller (a romantic comedy coming in summer 2014) is really hard on the education system. The Adventure of Bob Warhop (coming October 2014) deals with the issue of financial illiteracy and comes straight out of my involvement in the financial literacy movement.
It’s always mattered to me that I use my craft to engage with the world and get my two-cents in. I also like the idea of being in dialogue with other artists on a bigger scale and making readers think. Most of my favourite authors deal with bigger social themes in their fiction.
Where did you get the idea to create Laura Thomas Communications?
LTC was first—and still is—my copywriting and ghostwriting business for corporate clients, but I’m trying to move further away from that every day to focus on my own novels. As far as our new mission statement goes—fostering the development of young writers worldwide—it’s the internationalized extension of nearly a decade’s work with young writers in my community.
What do you envision the company to be in the future?
Everything we are doing now but bigger, connecting with more young writers around the world and helping them take whatever steps necessary to write professionally down the road. The world needs writers, and not just to sell stuff through e-marketing, but to be great communicators in our very noisy, very competitive, very aggressive global community. A leader, in politics and beyond, needs to be able to communicate to be effective. By helping writers like you train their literary dragons I believe I am influencing the development of future leaders, creative thinkers who can articulate positive change.
My perfect future looks like this: I spend half my work day writing my own novels and the other half mentoring young writers through everything we offer at LTC.
As an experienced author, if you could tell your past writer-self something, what would it be?
I would never interfere with my past writer-self. My route to getting paid for my words was a weird one—indirect, backwards, even ridiculous at times—but all those experiences, the successes and the failures, I would not trade for a Nobel Prize. Writers have to live life, truly mess up, give up, get smarter, and get on with it again, otherwise they won’t have anything worth writing about.
Catch Laura on Educvii with Dr. Jefferson on TalkZone live internet radio on Wednesday, April 2nd at 5 pm EST.