Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?
My emotions, my experiences and my sense of humour are at the heart of everything that I write. The hidden messages in my children's stories tend to be pictorial. In my book The Butterfly Princesses, I have based the King's image on Haile Selassie. In Bricktropolis, I have images of Bob Marley, Mo Farrah and of my favourite album cover Dangerous. It's lovely when readers find them and share their excitement about the discovery with me.
I write suspense thrillers under the pen name Rebecca Campbell. The hidden messages in my adult short stories are more around adult emotions and topical issues.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Impostor syndrome follows me around all of the time! I know that the voice of doubt in my head mostly sees disaster and terror so I have learned to trust my gut. Most times I'm able to swat it away, sing it away, cry it away or plan it away. I am very much for feeling the fear and doing it anyway and I have learned a lot about myself through writing my book Armour of Fear which explores ways of tackling anxiety. I have learned that I would rather be uncomfortable for a day, month or even year than live with the regret of 'What if?'.
What Part Of Your Culture Are You Most Proud Of?
I've always loved being a Londoner but I am very proud of my Jamaican culture. I'm always so proud that such a small island creates huge ripple effects around the world through activists like Marcus Garvey, musicians like Koffee and athletes like Usain Bolt. I love the food, the dialect and sayings...it's a sense of pride that has definitely grown with age but it comes from deep within and I love that feeling.
What’s The One Thing That Should Be Taught In School That Isn’t?
I would say a passion for learning. This is in no way the fault of the teachers, more of the fast-paced conveyor belt system they are working within. Knowledge is infinite and if I had understood that at school I wouldn't have spent my years in education with a glass ceiling on my head. Being put in ability groups is beneficial in lots of ways but it often left me feeling like I wasn't smart enough to learn what the other children were learning, which made learning new things intimidating - holding me back further.
I used to teach reception (4-year-olds) and I loved it. As the first experience of 'real school,' I felt like it was my job to instill a thirst for learning in the children so that when they moved up into the national curriculum, they were excited to learn instead of intimidated by all of the change. I remember saying to the headteacher I was working with at the time 'If they are excited about learning and have fun they will want to try and learn everything, that's my job' she looked at me as though I was crazy...
What Are You Most Determined To Do In Your Life?
Enjoy life to the fullest and follow my dreams! Life is so precious. I am determined to chase my happiness and create ripples of happiness for others.