I'm delighted to welcome Emilie Lauren Jones to my blog today. Emilie is a budding writer with her first book of poetry Sitting on the Pier out now. In fact she has a book launch at the Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village, Coventry on Saturday 15th October from 1pm-3pm. So make a note in your diaries.
Emilie is a member of the Coventry Writers' Group and a member of my own Monday Evening Writing Class when her bowling allows! Really keen to learn as much as possible about all aspects of writing, she is also studying with the National School of Journalism.
“The course is the short story writing course from the LSJ,” explained Emilie. “You are assigned a tutor who feeds back on the assignments. There is no time limit on handing them in so it's good one for people with lots of other commitments.”
Writing and understanding how magazines work has been in her blood since she was a child. Her mum founded the Coventry magazine, Chatterbox which is very much a family affair, and when Emilie was just 9 years old she began 'working' for the mag.
“I used to put a poem in each edition,” said Emilie. “And the whole family were involved in delivering and collating the magazines by hand. Grandad and I got so good that we could collate one forwards and one backwards to save time! As a teenager I learnt to use the professional design software and since then I've been involved in writing pieces of the editorial, setting pages and designing any new adverts that come in. Mum calls me her 'co-editor!' Although this is a voluntary position!
Emilie's day job is a HLTA (higher level teaching assistant) at a primary school in Coventry, working with individuals and groups and also covering classes with years 5 and 6. A job that she loves.
Emilie told me: “I do love my job and it comes without all the paperwork so I have time to write when I finish work whereas teachers, as you know, have to do a LOT of extra hours!”
However, she almost didn't get into teaching as the pull of writing was almost too strong. Emilie explained that when she was six months into teacher training at one of the top teacher training courses in the country, she had a dramatic change of heart.
She explained: “I was asked the question: ‘where do you see yourself in a year?’ And I answered: 'I see myself as a writer' which definitely wasn't what they wanted to hear!
“It was the uttering of these words that led to an afternoon of serious conversations and the eventual decision that I should not be completing an intense teacher training course. Before I left, the teacher I had been working alongside took me to one side and said: 'If they can do it, why can’t you?' The next day I began writing again.
“I quit my training and spent the year volunteering and writing the book. But because writing poetry doesn't pay too well I got a job as a TA and now as a HLTA.
“Having previously had individual poems and stories published I was aware of the challenges ahead but this time I was determined to make it work. I had spent too long wanting to be a writer whilst doing less and less actual writing; a dilemma I have found a lot of writers face at one point or another.
“The result of this period of writing came in the form of my poetry anthology Sitting on the Pier and I spent much of the summer performing and book signing anywhere that would have me – from literature festivals to churches to a market stall in Kenilworth! Within six months I had sold a couple of hundred copies in and around Coventry.
So, it was true – if they could do it, so could I. Okay, I’ve not sold millions of copies yet but I am writing and people want to read it and that means a lot to someone who wrote their first novel at six years old about Drippy the Tap.
I’ve also been fortunate to win a few competitions, again it’s a great feeling to know that people are enjoying your work. My aim has always been to write poetry that is ‘real’; poetry that stirs emotions and ideas that people can relate to. To me, poetry is about inclusion – usually each person who reads a poem will find something different in it and interpret it in their own way. The title Sitting on the Pier is intended to encapsulate this inclusion. I am at my most content when around nature, especially by the sea; I feel an inner peace and sense of belonging – I can just ‘be’ as I am and so can everyone else.
Sitting On The Pier
Sitting on the pier,
Because all are welcome here.
With their thoughts and dreams,
Their pasts and presents.
The sea air does not care
What mistakes you have made
Or will make.
The waters do not mind
If you are black or white or purple,
The sun and the rain
Do not discriminate,
They choose to fall equally on all,
Because they share this world.
The wood, rock, water, sand and cloud
Are content for me to sit with them
Here in my denim shorts
And worn sandals.
To think, remember, imagine.
To mourn or to laugh,
Together or alone.
Healthy or struggling,
To stay for a day or a lifetime.
All are welcome here.
THANK YOU SO MUCH EMILIE for being on my blog today, and good luck with the launch of Sitting on the Pier on Saturday 15th October at the Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village, Coventry. See you there between 1pm-3pm.
Sitting on the Pier is available from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/095722530X
Or order either instore or online from Waterstones
For signed copies please email Emilie directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover more about Emilie Lauren Jones: http://www.emilielaurenjones.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter @emilielaurenxxx