Blogger #5 is close to my heart. We met (virtually) shortly after we both started blogging and she is one of my best friends. She’s the Meredith Grey to my Christina Yang. My person: Carla @ Things Carla Loves 🙂
Let’s start with an introduction
My name is Carla, and I’m a teacher, writer, author and blogger. I like writing about feminism and social justice issues, as well as raising mental health awareness. I love dogs, sleeping in, and scary movies.
Tell me more about your blog. Why did you start it? How did you come up with the name. Is there anything else you want us to know about it?
I originally started the blog “The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise” (now deleted) because I wanted to help others. When I first fell ill, and was losing friends due to my chronic illness, I tried searching the internet for help – for people going through what I was, and I couldn’t. Every time I confided in someone, they’d tell a similar story, and have a similar experience and it made me question: If this is so common, why don’t we talk about it? I chose “melodramatic” because the people who bullied me, who told everyone I had Munchhausen’s and was ingesting poison to make myself sick, would refer to me constantly as “melodramatic” or a “drama queen”. I wanted to use the words they used against me and reclaim them. I now have a new blog, “Things Carla Loves”, which is a hashtag I stole off of the actress Carla Gugino.
You mentioned you’re a writer, can you tell us more about that?
I’m putting most of my focus now into preparing for the release of my first novel (will be released later this year, date is TBA), and writing my second, as well as preparing my third. The current novels I’m working on, however, all have themes that delve into the topics that I often blog about. For example, “You Know You Want It” is a fictional novel that centres around a violent rape – but specifically, the rape culture that follows victims after they’ve been assaulted. I’m hoping that, by bringing in a harsh reality and highlighting common (and harmful) statements that friends and family frequently make, it will give readers a new perspective into rape culture – as well as remind rape victims that they’re not alone.
Can we know the theme of your second and third novels?
Sure! My second novel discusses workplace bullying, depression and suicide – with a focus on mental health and mental health awareness. I’m halfway through it at the moment, which is exciting! My third novel will be following an emotionally abusive relationship, and highlighting just how damaging emotional abuse can be. I feel this is an incredibly important topic as we so often focus on physical abuse, I’ve found that a lot of people – especially young people – don’t realise they’re in abusive relationships because they aren’t being hit. I want to highlight the seriousness of verbal and emotional abuse, and explore how deadly and psychologically damaging it can be.
Where does the inspiration for your novels come from?
For the first three of my novels, the inspiration has come from specific life events. Nothing in the novels is based entirely on truth, and none of the characters represent me or anyone I know. However, they do represent people I’ve known, things people have said or done, and things that I’ve experienced – and that I’ve just embellished, changed, or exaggerated certain things to make it into a fictional novel. It’s not “my story” I want to be telling – but a story that so many of us can relate to. And I don’t think that would be possible if I didn’t draw on at least some life experiences. It also stems from a desire to try and fix a fucked up world.
You mentioned earlier that you’re a teacher do you think teaching has had an effect on your writing?
Yes, I do think teaching has had a major affect on my writing. I think I partly chose to become an English teacher because I wanted to be a writer, but being an English teacher has opened my eyes to a lot of things that I don’t think are discussed properly. I think that, as teachers, we don’t often give our students enough credit with the difficult topics they can handle. As a result, my first three novels will be literary-genre based about topics that I hope will reach the younger generations as well.
Do you also think that being a teacher has had an effect on what you read?
Yes and no. My favourite genre has always been crime fiction, but because I actively encourage reading in my English classes – I usually carry a box of books with me to start of finish a lesson that students can choose from or bring their own from home – I read a lot of YA and other genres. I don’t really believe in screening books from students, but I do try and make sure I know what the content is in the novel before I lend it to students, so that I can forewarn them (and also make sure it’s age-appropriate).
As a teacher, were there any books that you weren’t “allowed” to teach?
Yeah, plenty, especially at a Catholic school. I mean, usually they outline a curriculum so you have books you know you’re teaching, but Catholic schools can be pretty heavy-handed when it comes to censorship.
Are there any really popular books on that list?
Game of Thrones would probably be the most popular ban
And the rest of the “Tomorrow, When The War Began” series, because after the first one, sex happens, and that’s BAD
Killing people is okay, but sex is not
(All other schools allow them)
Interesting! That’s all for now.
Thank you again, Carla for letting me interview you 🙂