Janelle Ballenden - Interview (August 2020)
Why do you want to be a published author?
My dream is to write a story that will take the reader by the hand and lead them through another world, far away from their current one. I want them to care about my characters and want to walk with them to the finale. But more than that, I want my characters to stay with them, long after they have finished the last chapter, just like an old friend.
Plus, it would be really cool so see my name on a book shelf.
How long have you been writing?
I have a filing cabinet, chock-a-block with half-formed characters. Some of which have been trapped in those drawers for over forty years, screaming out to be released.
I’ve always loved writing, but it’s taken a long time to feel I am worthy of publication and actually put my work ‘out there’. In fact, my poem in the latest CKT’s anthology, is a re-worked poem I wrote in Year 9… a long time ago ?
How will you celebrate your first publication?
I’m so excited to be part of the CKT’s next anthology. When I hold a copy of that real, bound, shiny book with my name in it, I will give a little squeal and perform a quite elaborate happy dance. Then I’ll pop open a fancy bottle of champagne to share with my family.
Hopefully, one day soon, I’ll have a novel out there and I’ll need to buy a bigger bottle of champagne.
How would you describe your writing style?
All over the place. I’ve dabbled in children’s writing, adult fiction, short stories and even poetry. I don’t have a specific style but find I absorb, by osmosis, whatever I’m reading at the time.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult fiction so I’m finding my style is quite dark. Writing through the eyes of troubled protagonists, I’m trying to tap into the emotions of being an awkward teenager. Getting the ‘voice’ right is the biggest challenge.
How has Creative Kids Tales assisted you on your journey to publication?
My lovely friend, Anita, told me about CKT, after she featured in the first anthology. She encouraged me to get involved, so I joined the Critique group. I’m so glad I did. My wonderful Critique group has been so helpful and encouraging.
CKT has opened my eyes to this mysterious world of writers - full of talented, creative, like-minded people. I’ve been motivated to complete a few writing courses, attended writing festivals, and entered competitions. I finally started my novel about 12 months’ ago, and I’m 60,000 words into a first draft – something I would never have done without joining CKT.