It my pleasure to welcome Perth writer Nadia L King to Mrs B’s Book Reviews for a Q & A session. This follows a review to come of Nadia’s young adult offering, a novella titled Jenna’s Truth on the blog.
About the author…
Australian author, Nadia L King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. She has a background in journalism and media relations and has written for magazines in Europe, Australia, and the US.
She reads voraciously and enthusiastically and inhales books the same way her Labrador inhales dog biscuits.
Nadia is an overexcited person who adores words and loves writing short stories such as Triangulo Amoroso, Disappointment, and Dinner’s Ready.
Her writing has been described as “raw, real and heart-wrenching.”
Nadia’s first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic. Jenna’s Truth is a gripping story which explores the themes of cyberbullying, teen drinking, sex, and suicide. It is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia and she is currently working on a YA novel.
Q. Jenna’s Truth, your debut novel released last year, can you tell us what inspired you to write it?
A. My teenager came home from school one day and showed me Amanda Todd’s video on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gycqAJcDFM). I had a really strong reaction to the video but it was the utter waste of Amanda’s life that most affected me. More than anything, I wanted to rewrite history but suicide is permanent and we had lost Amanda a few years before I had even seen her video. I sat down and wrote a story for schools to use that would hopefully teach teens there is always help available and suicide can never be a solution.
Q. What research was involved in bringing Jenna’s Truth to life?
A. Surprisingly, quite a lot of research was needed to write the novella. Although I wanted my protagonist to attempt suicide I had to decide on how she would try to end her life without educating my readers about how to suicide. I eventually decided on drowning as it’s a difficult suicide choice and went on to research it more. I wanted to know what it felt like and what would be the physiological effects. Luckily, I know a couple of nurses who were able to help me out.
Justine O’Malley from Protective Behaviours WA Inc. was able to bring me up to date on cyberbullying and how Australian governments are addressing the issue. In Australia, cyberbullying is taken very seriously and criminal charges can be laid. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and addresses illegal online content through the Online Content Scheme.
Q. What target audience do you hope to capture for Jenna’s Truth?
A. Jenna’s Truth is primarily designed to be used in an educational setting. It’s currently being taught in a number of schools in Australia and Great Britain. Saying that, it’s a quick and easy read for all parents and their teens.
Q. What was the most challenging and rewarding aspects of writing Jenna’s Truth?
A. Definitely the most challenging part of writing Jenna’s Truth was the amount of research required. In addition, it was my first book so I was definitely working in the dark for much of the writing process. I was very fortunate to have a large group of beta readers who really helped me to shape the book.
The most rewarding aspects of writing Jenna’s Truth definitely came after publication. Now that the book is out in the world I am able to share the message of Jenna’s Truth with teens. Author visits, book clubs, reviews and interviews these are all the things that spread Jenna’s story and hopefully will ultimate save somebody’s life. A teacher friend recently faced a difficult situation with a teen at school and she said she just kept thinking back to Jenna and that it really helped her address the teen’s issues. It’s stories such as these that make me feel optimistic the story can impact lives in a positive way.
Q. There are a wealth of useful resources, in particular teaching tools, to compliment Jenna’s Truth. Could you tell us about the process of developing these resources?
A. After I wrote the story of Jenna’s Truth, I wanted to help teachers develop their lesson plans so again with the help of teacher friends, I developed discussion questions and learning activities based around the book for use in the classroom. My publisher cleverly took the learning resources and matched them to the Australian curriculum.
Q. How did you get into writing? Is this something you have always wanted to do?
A. At school I was the kid who loved English and English Literature. Growing up, books and the library held a special place in my heart. After finishing school I went on to be a cadet journalist and although I didn’t study literature or creative writing at university, I worked in marketing and public relations for many years so words were never far away.
In the winter of 2015, I found myself itching to write again but unsure where to start. How had I travelled so far through my life reading everything in sight and yet not writing much at all? One evening, I found myself making small talk with a playwright from New York on a rooftop bar overlooking the city. I sought the playwright’s advice earnestly.
Shall I go back to university for the fourth time?
Shall I enrol in an online course?
Shall I read something?
The playwright looked at me with something akin to abject pity. I was so anxious and so keen and yet so fearful of getting it all wrong. I had waited so very long and I was terrified if I started off on the wrong foot, I would never earn the elusive title of writer. The playwright gave me the best advice I have heard in all my years.
‘Just go home and bloody write.’
And so I did.
Q. What advice do you have to give aspiring writers?
A. ‘Just go home and bloody write.’
Q. Do you have any current writing projects that you would like to share with us?
A. I would love to say I have finished another book but I haven’t. My fourth short story will soon be published in the States and I have written a ton of blog posts and tweets and Facebook posts (that’s probably just me procrastinating actually).
But seriously, I am struggling through a first draft at the moment—it’s a full-length YA novel and has themes of domestic abuse, coming of age and friendship. I love the story and I wish it would come faster but I keep stopping to research and last week I spent time in a police cell so I could get the feel of it all and write that chapter meaningfully and empathetically. My story is gritty—there’s boy whose obsessed with manga living in an abusive situation and he has a talking dog. It’s a story of survival, resurgence and what it means to be bigger than where you come from and hopefully it will mean something to the teens that face domestic abuse everyday.
My thanks are extended to Nadia L King for this Q & A. Find out more about Nadia L King here: