I met Laura a few years ago at a local writing critique group. She was a struggling single mom with some great ideas. We kept in touch over the years and I am so impressed with what she has accomplished. She has written a blog on financial advice for young people and created videos on the same topic. Financial literacy teachers in Ontario are using her Agent Story Money and Me You Tube videos in their school programs. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh7nCjmLcX66cw2rLhbEz6w She also created 2 series, 18 episodes, on the same subject on a local TV show.
Laura has been mentoring young writers in workshops, camps and courses since 2007. She has worked equally with homeschoolers and students in public and private schools, including those in gifted programs. Some of her students have gone on to have stories and poetry published in prestigious magazines like Stone Soup. She is also a mother with two young children and a professional children’s storyteller, who was storyteller in residence at Science World, Vancouver for 2012. Laura also has experience working with writers with special needs, including autism spectrum and ADHD. She is also a well-respected ESL tutor in her community. She is currently organizing a Junior Author’s Conference in the fall of 2013
For the past 5 years she has run the Junior Authors Short Story contest. I have been honoured to be a judge of this contest the past 2 years. I am always amazed at the quality of writing that young people submit. You can read the winning entires here http://laurathomascommunications.com/juniorauthorscontest/2012win/
I recently interviewed Laura as I like to feature individuals who have overcome challenges, worked toward their dreams and encourage others to do so as well.
Interview with Laura Thomas
I am a 44-year-old mom of one daughter and a stepson. I am recently married, as in last Wednesday, to a wonderful fellow I met over a year ago on a Team Coastal Cycling Club ride. I work full-time for Cackleberries.com as Director of Writing and Communications. I am also storyteller in residence at Science World for 2012. I have been performing in the Kidspace Gallery for several years as Agent Story. I also provide contract writing services to local businesses, mentor writers of all ages privately and volunteer what little time I have left by serving as communications director for my cycling club, the Ladner Business Association and the Delta Sport Council. There is also the Junior Authors Short Story Contest too, which I have been running for five years. I almost decided to not run the contest for a sixth year, but changed my mind when I received many emails of gratitude from young writers and their parents this summer. I have expanded the contest significantly for 2013 and will also be holding a first annual one-day conference for young writers next fall as a lead into the Vancouver International Writers Festival.
How do I fit everything in?
I enjoy everything I do and don’t waste time on activities that aren’t a good fit for me. I also know how to prioritize so that I meet deadlines and expectations all the time.
What inspired me to hold the Junior Authors Short Story Contest?
Just like today, when I was growing up there were all kinds of opportunities for kids in the arts—dance, music, drama, painting, etc.—but creative writing is and was rarely available as an extracurricular activity. If only I had met a real writer growing up, or had heard about a contest. I might not have waited so long to try it out as a career.
A childhood dream
I did not have dreams as a child. Life was tough. My parents went through an ugly separation and divorce. Until my mid-twenties I was largely in survival mode. The upside is that I learned to live in the moment and look optimistically ahead rather than keep worrying about the past. But it’s not an ideal way to grow up.
Future to-do list
I write every day but don’t have time at the moment to write my own novels. I have three book projects that keep falling to the bottom of my to-do list. Like all my writing, I need to have the time and space to breath and let the imaginary world I’m creating come into focus, and I need to do it daily. Writing fiction is tough but I have faith that at some point I will have the time and space for my own creative projects. Perhaps when my kids are a bit older. Right now they are 8, so that’s a large draw on my time. Also on my future to-do list is to have a home on the Mediterranean where I can work from. But that’s 10 years away. We need to get the kids to graduation first.
What make me happiest?
Being busy doing all the things that I love. I also love to be needed and to help others meet their creative goals.
I have no time for fools or for people who waste my time literally or with their negativity.
Grow up. Be independent. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Take your piece of the word and don’t apologize for it.
To learn more about Laura and her many projects: http://laurathomascommunications.com/services/