Lauren Woodcock

Biography

I was born in Sheffield, United Kingdom in 1987, and my passion for the written word started from an early age. I was the five year old tucked up reading Enid Blyton while my friends played outside; the ten year old writing stories on the beach rather than building sandcastles; the sixteen year old spending hours each night filling in my diary instead of watching TV ... or sleeping. I kept the fire for writing burning throughout my degree in Speech and Language Therapy, penning my first full length story in the breaks between classes.

In 2010 I began working in a college for young people with autism, another area of interest for me since my brother’s diagnosis with the disorder when I was seven years old. I decided to combine my experience here with my passion for writing and started work on what would later become my debut novel, Those Who Will Not See, which focuses on the life of a young man growing up with autism. In 2012 my daughter Ellie was born, and while on maternity leave I ignored the advice to ‘sleep when she sleeps’, and instead began to ‘write when she sleeps’, allowing me to finally complete the writing and editing phase of my now full-length novel. Those Who Will Not See was published in November 2012, and has since received acclaim for its ‘stark depiction’ of living with autism. It was recommended in The Sunday Times in October 2013 as ‘a great read and a perceptive insight into that much misunderstood condition, autism’, and went on to receive Number One Best Seller status in Amazon’s Special Family Needs sector.

I am currently working on my upcoming novel, and preparing for my second Maternity leave later in the year.

Smashwords Interview

What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favourite books are all relatively different from one another, and have all touched and influenced me in their own way.

1. Malory Towers (series), by Enid Blyton
As a child I was an Enid Blyton fanatic. She was the key person who made me want to become an author, and I still have a large collection of her books out on my shelf today, ready to pass onto my daughter when she is old enough. My favourite of all her books has to be the Malory Towers series, which I could not put down between the ages of around 8 and 12, and still occasionally indulge in now. It portrayed school as something fun and exciting and was teeming with lessons for life, although I never felt lectured at.
I have always been more interested in realistic fiction rather than fantasy, even from an early age, so this was right up my street.

2. Harry Potter (series), by J.K.Rowling
True, as mentioned above I am much more into realistic fiction than fantasy, but remove the wand twirling and dragons from the Harry Potter series and you do have a pretty genuine look at the everyday troubles and triumphs of teenage life. I love how accurately Rowling portrays the feelings and actions of her characters - jealousy, love, grief, feeling overshadowed by others. No-one is one-sided in the books. She ensures that the villains are given enough history to show why they behave the way they do, and many show glimpses of remorse throughout the books. In the same vein, none of her heroes are all shiny and nice either; she cleverly depicts the multiple sided nature of humanity. And on top of all that, I adore the intricate plot lines that weave throughout the series, where something you thought was irrelevant in book 2 suddenly becomes of extreme importance in book 6.

3. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
Moving to a much more adult style of book, one of my all time favourite books has to be A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. I adore to learn about other ways of life in my reading, and found this to give a wonderful insight into life in Afghanistan across a wide period of recent history. The book is honest, sometimes to the point of brutality, and is extremely well-written, bearing in mind the author is a male telling the inside story of two women.

4. Q and A, by Vikas Swarup
Better known as 'Slumdog Millionaire' after the hit film by Danny Boyle, this book is yet another that gives an open look at life in another culture, and is again honest and at times difficult to read, but allows the reader into a lifestyle they may otherwise be unaware of. Despite having the same background idea, the book and the film are almost incomparable in their plot and structure, even as far as the main character's name. Both have a place in my heart, but the book really opens you out to a wide range of experiences, and glimpses at a much larger portfolio of Indian life than the film.

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
I won't lie and pretend to be a fan of the whole trilogy. In all honesty I struggled to get through the third book of the series, forcing myself to do so in respect for the first (and to some extent, second) book. What I loved most about this book, and what has stuck with me when considering my own work, is how excellent the opening paragraph is. It is only five short sentences, but provides the reader with the whole set up for the story, and introduces intrigue and a will to read on. One of the best openers I have read. The rest of the book is quickly paced and as excellently written as the introducing paragraph would suggest.
What inspired you to write your latest novel?
I have always had a passion for autism, and for those with the condition to be treated with respect and understanding. I wanted to show in my novel 'Those Who Will Not See' that, although the condition can be debilitating in some ways, it does not rule out a happy and fulfilling life, and that even the seemingly impossible can be achieved with the right attitudes and support.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Lauren Woodcock online


Books

This member has not published any books.