Michelle Diana Lowe

Michelle Diana Lowe is the author of Broken Roots, which I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. Michelle was then kind enough to spare some time for an interview. Here’s what Michelle Diana Lowe and I got to talking about.

Sam Hunter: Welcome to UrbanFiction.org and thanks for giving me the opportunity to review your latest book Broken Roots.

Michelle Diana Lowe: Sure, you’re welcome.

Sam: So, how long have you been writing?

Michelle: I’ve been writing since I was nine years old. From this age, I started writing novellas and then went on to write novels in my late teens and early twenties.

Sam: In that time, what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned about writing?

Michelle: Writing can be cathartic and it can help the writer just as much as the reader. By helping others via the written word, we are taking a step towards making the world a better place. If your books can benefit at least one person, other than yourself, then you are headed in the right direction as an author. Words are powerful enough to change a life, a community, a society, and even a generation.

Sam: And are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring authors and unpublished writers?

Michelle: Never give up and never let a ‘no’, or a rejection letter or e-mail discourage you from writing. I’ve had over 200 rejections in my time, but with faith and perseverance, I eventually found two publishers for my books. I’m currently with Creativia Publishing who is an independent publisher from Finland. If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can achieve anything. Nothing is out of your reach. This is what I strongly feel.

Sam: What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Michelle: My writing is real, raw and relatable. It brings a new layer to urban fiction books.

Sam: You come across as very passionate about the issues you include in your books. After reading Broken Roots, I’m particularly thinking about mental health, fostering and adopting. Where does that passion come from and what experience of these topics do you have?

Michelle: I’ve always seen it as important to give children a voice, especially youngsters experiencing a mental health problem. As a child, I remember feeling really down, due to loneliness, severe school bullying and family problems. I felt truly helpless and voiceless in society and the only power I had was when I put pen to paper. Now, as an adult, I have a chance to talk about young mental health, that still seems to be a bit of a taboo subject to some degree. In my day job as an administrator, I come across children who are in care, the foster carers who look after these children and professionals that work with children and families in the childcare sector. Vulnerable children going through difficulties and challenges, can experience trauma and distress. These children tend to be somewhat voiceless and the suffering they have encountered behind closed doors can have a real impact on their young minds. I feel it is very important to give these children back a sense of dignity, power and strength through the written word. Although my books are not based on anyone in particular, they do explore the lives of such children and share their stories. By sharing their experiences, it helps to raise awareness of foster care and mental health and helps to improve people’s understanding of vulnerable children’s lives.

Sam: Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Michelle: My characters are an extension of me. Most of the time I feel like I hold the reigns. But occasionally, my characters do take control. But this is not a negative thing to me. Book characters should have a strong voice that gives them their own identity, which is separate from the author who created them.

Sam: What cultural value do you think fictional stories have?

Michelle: A huge amount of cultural value! In the UK, where I live, it is not that common to see a Young Adult Fiction book which explores the life of a black teenager. Some UK publishers still find it ‘difficult’ to publish books about African-Caribbean teenagers as they feel these books do not reflect their main readership. This, I think, is a subjective view that no longer has weight in a multicultural society.

Children of all races, creeds and faiths deserve to see their lives, experiences and cultures depicted in fiction books. It helps children and teenagers to feel accepted in the place where they live and identify with book characters on a deeper level. Having diverse books also helps young people to learn about and appreciate different cultures and experiences.

In all my books there are characters from different communities, who often come together to achieve a shared goal, and also nurture and bolster each other on their journey through life.

As an author of such emotive and inclusive books, I am so thrilled to have a very diverse audience. My audiences are from different cultures, religions and nationalities, and range from teenagers 14 plus, all the way up to grandparents 70 plus. It’s amazing how I have been able to capture such a wide readership, especially since I write young adult fiction.

Sam: That’s some pretty deep stuff and I think you’re so right about having representative stories for all people. With that said, is there a single biggest influence on you and your writing?

Michelle: The world around me inspires me, so do people on a day-to-day basis. There are so many unsung heroes and heroines and incredible individuals that folks don’t know exist, because they are not well known or publicly recognised. As an author who champions underrepresented groups, I recognise these unsung heroes and heroines, and these are the types of characters that make it into my books.

Broken RootsSam: What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

Michelle: Seeing how my novels can raise awareness of important subjects and make a difference in people’s lives.

Sam: Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

Michelle: Broken Roots is definitely my favourite. To me, it is such a beautiful and unique story.

Sam: That’s your new book and you had an event for that right?

Michelle: Yes, the book launch for Broken Roots was in London on December 3rd. Check out my website for further details and pictures of the event: www.michelledianalowe.com

Sam: Do you hear from your readers much?

Michelle: I’m so fortunate to have readers who regularly interact with me on social media and tell me what they think about my novels. I feel so blessed to have them. They keep me going and encourage me.

Sam: Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Michelle: Thank you! I appreciate you and your support.

Sam: And we’ll stick all the links below for any readers interested in contacting you.

Michelle: Okay, thank you. I appreciate that.

Sam: Tell me about your writing space, set up etc. What environment really gets you writing?

Michelle: I always write in my living room, where it is light and airy. There is nothing in front of me except my computer and my imagination. In my space, I work from scratch, typing my ideas on a Word document. I am a true minimalist when it comes to my writing environment. I don’t like to be distracted by things like pens, notebooks, ornaments, etc.

Sam: I’m feeling that. And if you do find yourself distracted by a good book, what genre might you be reading?

Michelle: I love a good YA novel, romance or thriller. Those are my favourite genres.

Sam; And would that be an ebook or a physical book?

Michelle: Although I like ebooks for convenience, I do prefer paperbacks. There is something about the feel of a paperback in the hand. Holding a book makes it come alive and the characters appear more real and vivid.

Sam: Well, thanks for sharing and best of luck with everything.

Michelle: Thank you so much for interviewing me, Sam. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you.

Sam: You too.

More places to find Michelle Diana Lowe

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More books from Michelle Diana Lowe

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Sam Hunter
Founder of UrbanFiction.org and supporter of all urban fiction authors. Author of the Makaveli’s Prince books. His first novel, Book One, was described by Street Literature as a “true tribute to hip-hop” and weaves a thrilling ride through some of hip-hop’s darkest secrets. You won’t be able to put his books down. They're packed with conspiracy, drama and often centered on strong female characters. You’re in for a ride.

All his books are on Amazon Kindle and Google Play Books.