What has your background been before you starting writing?
Before I started writing seriously I had been a project worker for a mentoring program with Berry Street. I had previously been involved in running the youth group at my church for several years. I also volunteered with the Riding of Disabled in a nearby town once a week, too.
How were you introduced to writing?
I loved writing as a child, but I loved reading more. As an adult, I started writing short stories, and stories for my kids. Occasionally I entered these stories into local writing competitions and come away with some wins. It was only after a Mission trip to the Philippines in 2013, and a visit to a local orphanage at that time, things kicked into gear for me. I really connected with the children and started writing to them when I returned home. I wrote (and wrote for a long time) short stories that entertained and encouraged the children every single week. It was this period of intense writing that seemed to unleash the writer within me. We (the team I was with) planned to make a return trip in December 2013 to January 2014. I wanted to do something very special for the children. The story of Raymund and the Fear Monster was written for the younger children of the orphanage, to encourage them to face their fears and overcome them. I visited the orphanage and I presented them with Raymund and the Fear Monster. I had illustrated the book (not brilliantly) and printed it out as a hardcover photo book. The looks on the faces of the children, and their exclamations of delight, made it all the hard work worth it.
In 2015, I took my first writing course and haven’t looked back.
What was the one thing that impressed you the most about becoming an author?
I think meeting the most amazing and generous authors of the kid lit community has been a highlight. I can say without a doubt, they have been partially instrumental, (and I mean a big part) in helping me gain my confidence as a person, and as a writer.
How is your writing making a difference for you right now?
Now that I feel I have something to offer after several years of short courses in writing, and various other things I have done to improve my writing (critique groups, my own writing group, and being mentored through a script), I have the privilege to be able to be invited into schools to run writing workshops for primary students.
As well as that, and perhaps something that impacts me even more, is the fact that I can reach so many people, especially right now through my blog, and soon with my books. All this even though I have a chronic illness. Being able to write — whether a blog post, or a new story — especially when I find it difficult to get out of the house due to decreased mobility, is extremely exciting.
And to top all this off, I’m able to write worlds and characters — who up to this point only existed inside my head — in such a way that others can come along for the ride too.
As a child, what was your relationship with books?
Let’s just say I was known as, ‘The Bookworm.’ And the worst punishment my parents could eke out was to take away my books and forbid me from reading. That is, once I learnt to read. Having dyslexia made the process harder, but when I finally got it, I often read far above my reading level. However, I would come back to my favourites and reread them regularly. My parents encouraged my sister and I to read widely. One of my favourite non-fiction books was about training horses, and another was about tying knots.
What is the most important thing about what you want to do?
Ultimately, I like to inspire others to discover their true potential, free from the fear that is holding them back.
Do you believe books can change the world?
Absolutely. I believe there is incredible power in the written word; to give hope, to inspire, to make you laugh, to cry, to think, to imagine, to escape, and to dream.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing?
I hope that they will be entertained, but also inspired.
What is your ultimate goal?
To write in such a way that once the reader closes my book, they sit there with a big grin on their face, either that or they want to reread the story again.
Has Share Your Story helped you in any way?
Michelle from Share Your Story has been a wonderful support. If I have a question about a manuscript she is one of the authors I turn to for advice.
What results have you experienced, good or bad, about being a part of the publishing industry?
A highlight for me was having Dee White mentor me through a manuscript. Blogging for three different writing websites have also arisen. My writing has improved out of sight because I’m part of this wonderful, warm, and vibrant community of creatives.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
One thing that I would change would be that every single person would learn to be able to read and write, no matter their ability. Those that struggle because of learning problem would get the help they need with early intervention, and those that have the capacity to read would have access to many different types of books for all interests.
Okay, one more. I would love to see every school have a well-stocked library and is run by a qualified teacher librarian.
Contact Megan to find out more about her writing journey
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