I am delighted to welcome Nadia L King to my blog today.
ER Your debut book, Jenna’s Truth, has been very successful. What was your inspiration for it?
NLK About this time last year, I came across a video on Youtube which literally broke my heart. It was a video posted by a fifteen-year-old girl sharing her story of being bullied. The girl was Amanda Todd and her life ended in suicide. I couldn’t not respond to the death of this bright and lively girl. I had to do something and so I tried to make sense of this tragedy by writing a story which of course, was the birth of Jenna’s Truth.
ER Bullying is something that is age-old. Do you think it’s worse now with Internet and social media?
NLK I believe that cyberbullying is far more insidious than traditional bullying. Not only does it allow perpetrators a degree of anonymity but it also provides them with a far broader audience. Cyberbullies have the ability to ceaselessly torment their victims at any time of day or night. It is difficult to escape from cyberbullies. Amanda Todd moved house a number of times and the cyberbully tracked her down each time. Thankfully, here in Australia we have tough anti-cyberbullying legislation and we even have The Office of The Children’s eSafety Commissioner. https://esafety.gov.au/cyberbullyingcomplaint
ER Has Jenna’s Truth taken you to places you never imagined going, both emotionally and physically into places such as schools?
NLKJenna’s Truth seems to have taken on a life of its own. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about stories having lives of their own in Big Magic and it certainly rings true for Jenna’s Truth. The story is being taught in a number of schools in a couple of countries and it looks as if it will soon be adapted for the stage. It will be more than thrilling to watch Jenna’s Truth on stage. I’m quite flabbergasted when I think how far this short (only 6,000 word) story has gone. It has also meant that I have had to overcome my fear of public speaking.
ER What aspirations do you have for Jenna’s Truth?
NLK Ultimately, I want to see Jenna’s Truth be included in the curriculum in my home State of Western Australia. I am keen for dialogue to occur in the classroom and for teens to know there is always a way out. I can’t bear to think there are kids out there who aren’t having this conversation; that there are kids out there who are suiciding because they have been cyber-bullied.
ER Is there anything you’d like to say to anyone who finds themselves a victim of bullying?
NLK Don’t let them win. You are precious and special and we need you in the world. You are not alone and somebody wants to help you. Please call the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.
ER What are you working on now?
NLK I’m really excited to be starting a brand new project. My first full-length novel (I’ll try to get past 6,000 words this time :)), I’m still in the research phase but I plan to write a YA novel where the main protagonist is a 16-year-old male struggling with his sexuality. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!
Thank you so much for joining me today, Nadia. I wish you continuing success with Jenna’s Truth and good luck with your new work.
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 her dog biscuits. Nadia is an overexcited person who adores words, loves writing short stories and keeps a blog at nadialking.wordpress.com. Her writing has been described as “raw, real and heart-wrenching.” Her first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia.
In this short story, Nadia King’s writing quickly brings to life the small, narrow and disappointed existence that is her character Miriam’s life. Miriam’s mother doesn’t really want her. Her conception was a disappointment to her mother, as was her birth. Miriam only recently found out who her father was.
She’s not the most popular girl in school, but she hopes the good-looking Damien will notice her. Miriam is sensitive and, despite her life and living conditions, which she just happens to have dealt to her, she really only wants to be accepted and liked. The story highlights the rejection by peers that so many young people experience.
I like to think that when Miriam crushes the cigarette packet under her heel, it is symbolic that she will aim for something better than her life of disappointment.