I’m thrilled to introduce my guest on today’s author interview as I had the great pleasure of being with her at the start of her book writing journey. Nicola is one of the most inspiring ladies I know, and I’m delighted that her book is out in the world and helping so many young girls.
About Nicola Locke
Nicola is a creative and visionary youth mentor. She is dedicated to her profession with over three decades of experience working with children and teenagers. Nicola has devoted her working life to support and inspire young people, especially teenage girls. Starting when she was 16 years old mentoring girls at her local youth group.
In 2019, after many working opportunities, Nicola developed workshops for young girls, sharing her knowledge and offering life tools, educating girls about low self-confidence and body dissatisfaction issues. Teaching them self-awareness and giving them life skills to help with peer group pressure, stress and anxiety.
Nicola deliberately sets young girls tasks which challenge them to think deeply about how they handle themselves and others around them. She says “it’s about putting the power back into their hands” and “teaching them how to take control of their own wellbeing.”
Developing her skills is high on Nicola’s to-do list. She is currently completing a 2-year diploma in counselling teens at the IATE (Institution of Arts Therapy in Education).
“I will make it my life goal to help as many children and young people as I can. Lately I have been drawn to working with young girls, and will continue to develop my empowerment workshops.”
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?
My name is Nicola, and I am 54 years old! I have worked with children for more than 30 years. Coming from a very dysfunctional childhood, I felt compelled to help children and young adults. I wanted to mentor and support them.
I started mentoring young girls at the age of 16. After various jobs, I have come back to mentoring. I love my work and feel honoured to be in this field. I love writing and have written a lot of poetry throughout my life.
I enjoy expressing myself through words. It has always been an excellent therapeutic outlet for me—something I couldn’t do without.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is my first book. Yes, I’m amazed at myself. I can’t believe it is real. Holding the book in my hands was a very proud moment for me. It is such a great achievement.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
The book is for young girls between the ages of 11 and 16. It takes them on a creative 16-week journey, showing them ways to cope with difficult times. The girls have to complete tasks, and in doing so, they get to reflect and grow. I would say it’s a book about becoming self-aware.
I believe girls need to take back control of their health and wellbeing. This book will gently challenge that, and hand them some great self-care tools along the way. It is also very informative and lists all the necessary contacts that young girls may need. It encourages them to talk and share what is going on with them to others.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
I have always wanted to write a book. I thought it would be a book about my life. I never imagined it would turn into a book for young girls. It feels so good to write for the benefit of others. I wrote the workshops that I deliver for young girls, and it was apparent that the next step was a book. I wanted to reach a wider audience with the workshops, and the book was the best way to do that. The girls I work with, they were a real inspiration to me. They made me see how much it was needed.
After meeting Shelley and doing her book writing workshop, I was hooked. It was then that I realised I could do this. Shelley made it all so easy to grasp. When I left there that day, I did not turn back. I remember her saying, you can do this. From that day on, I had post-it notes all over the office cupboard!
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself, and go for it. If necessary, get a book mentor. Once you complete the first chapter, there is no turning back. You will be so proud of yourself. Don’t let the overwhelm put you off. Most importantly, don’t listen to any negative self-chatter.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
I found a flow when I started writing, and it was a way to express some profound beliefs. I got such a kick out of it. I would sit to type, and the words would pour out, it was an extraordinary feeling. I got lost in it.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I have travelled and lived in many other countries, giving birth to my daughter in India. I left school when I was 11 years old to return at the age of 15. I have meditated for 29 years, and believe that everything happens for a reason. Life is about growth. One has to take risks and allow their vulnerability to push them to more extraordinary places.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
Getting started! I would think about it a lot but never get around to starting it. I always felt very overwhelmed and could never move on from that.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Spread the word, tell your friends. If you’re a parent, tell other parents. This book will benefit any young girl, and it is a book that will give them tools to grow in confidence.
If you know any young girl struggling with any difficulty no matter how small, please buy this book for them, or forward the link to someone who will.
What is your next project?
My next project is to take the book’s workshops, add more new material, and then make it available to schools, teachers and youth workers. I am collaborating with others and working on that now. It is an inspiring project.
Connect with Nicola here:
For teenage and pre-teen girls, leading a carefree and happy life has never been more difficult. The pressure to look a certain way and to project a particular ‘cool’ image, now weighs on them 24/7.
None of them can measure up to this impossible standard, and the constant gap between aspiration and reality is leaving them anxious and depressed in numbers unimaginable a generation ago. Thinking about a simpler past isn’t going to help anyone.
In 2019 Nicola started her first empowerment workshops, in the belief that the only way out for these girls was to learn how to turn things around for themselves. The girls learn that while life might throw stuff at them in ways they can’t control, the way they respond is something they do have control over, and they can change everything.
More importantly, they learned that doing so is not as hard as they might think. The results were amazing, with parent after parent describing their daughters becoming relaxed and happy again.
With this book, Nicola wants to bring these ideas to a wider audience. Week by week, the girls learn all of the simple tools and techniques from the workshops. With lots of practical exercises, tips to make things easier, supportive encouragement, any young girl will be able to follow along with ease.
When girls start to put these tools to use, and see for themselves that they really work, the message of the book can become a life-long belief. It is a belief which applies just the same to all of us: with a little guidance I can step up and take control of my life, and my happiness.
“This is a book that every young lady should own. With step-by-step exercises, Nicola talks about some tough topics that our daughters face within today’s society in such a gentle way. The short, easy to read chapters give girls the tools to grow in confidence courage and happiness.”-Michelle Hickman