First of all, thank you for having me!
I’m Raimy, that’s not my real name, it is actually Rachel Amy and I decided to blend the two because Rachel was too much of a normal name for me. I like to be a bit strange!
I’m an editorial assistant for a construction magazine, which is the closest thing you can get to a journalist this far away from London! I also have a blog, Readaraptor, on which I drool over books that I love and you may see more dinosaurs than you will expect!
Yes. I think my first was probably Avril Lavigne, when I was around 13/14, I think when I saw her I realised that I didn’t have to be what everyone else wanted me to be and started actually being myself.
Then it was probably Louise Rennison, I remember spending HOURS writing my own story just like the Georgia Nicolson series! It was because of Louise Rennison and Sarra Manning that I wanted to be a writer!
I’ve also always admired really strong women, like kick-ass women. Especially women in bands like The Donnas, Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls (among others including her solo career) and Slunt. They are all really strong women who won’t take any crap and that’s exactly what I try to be!
Who do you look up to now?
That’s harder than the previous question. I haven’t really thought about it. I guess a lot of the people I look up to the most are writers. I would love to spend ten minutes in the company of Sarra Manning, Malorie Blackman, or journalistic types like Victoria White.
Anything but a shopkeeper! (My parents were shopkeepers so when I played “shop” I wasn’t playing!)
I remember wanting to be a jockey, (even though I’ve never ridden a horse) a vet, a singer, and at one point a famous violinist (I was terrible!)
I went to secondary school and wasn’t sure what I wanted to be as long as it didn’t involve maths! I decided I wanted to be a police officer and I was told I’d have to be good at PE and do it for GCSE, I loathed PE too but then I got the idea of being a writer and that stuck.
When I was at school I had an AWFUL teacher, she didn’t like me from the minute she saw me, having known my brother and instantly painting me with the same brush. She made my GCSE years hell, telling me that I wasn’t good enough to be in the higher set (even though the higher set teacher saw my work and thought that I was!) and I believe even purposely losing my coursework, though I have no evidence for this. When I told her that I wanted to be a writer and my back up was to be an English teacher she laughed in my face and told me that I wouldn’t even get into college.
Maybe, looking back, she was just pushing me to try my hardest, but it hurt a lot and if that’s what she was doing it worked because I wanted to prove her wrong and prove myself to anyone who doubted me. I actually ended up failing some of my GCSEs. I wasn’t allowed to go do my A Levels so few, especially not if I wanted to be a teacher so I had to re-sit some and pick up others to get me over 6 GCSE’s. I passed them all after a one year quick course and went on to do my A Levels and go to uni. Although I didn’t get great grades, I’m now working for a magazine and have my blog. I guess I owe a lot to that English teacher, even if she did make me feel like a failure all the way through my last two years at school.
My mum and sister have had a big influence on me too. I didn’t get on great with my mum because I’m such a daddy’s girl but she is always there for me. The same with my big sister, she’s awesome, and was the one to get me into reading!
This is another hard one, but I think I have to say Sephy from the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman. Everything she goes through and has to give up to do what she has to do, is incredible. It’s been a long time since I read the series, and I haven’t even finished it (not read the last book!) but it’s stayed with me and it is my favourite book of all time. I love it, Sephy, and Calum.
I was awful as a teenager. The summer I found music I went from a size 8 girly girl to a full on size 14 goth. I practically grew boobs overnight, my changes happened that quickly, and to deal with them I lost myself in music, Good Charlotte, Him, Slipknot, anything that could be played loud enough to drown out the music from my brothers room and the crap I got for being different at school.
I had a bit of a tough time because when I was 14 my sister went off to uni and my parents shop was getting busier. I had to work a bit before and after school and on a weekend, starting at 4 or 5 in the morning. I did most of my school work in the shop and because I couldn’t watch TV or listen to my music I read A LOT whilst there. I read to get myself outta there, to forget I had a brother when he was being awful (you know what teenage boys are like) and to forget that my friends were out having fun while I had to work.
I didn’t go without anything though, my parents loved me and gave me anything I asked for because I worked for it so I can’t complain! I probably would have gotten in with a bad crowd if I wasn’t stuck in that shop!
There is more to life than this, just hold on and it’ll come!
After reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, I am fascinated by body image issues, I think growing so fast meant that I didn’t have chance to get used to my body changing and I hated how big I was, I hated how I looked but I’ve learnt to love myself. It intrigues me to hear how other people come to terms with the way they look.
Also getting in touch with your sexuality is something I love to read about. When I read a book like Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill or Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle and those characters are coming to terms with who they are and their sexuality it fascinates me to see how they cope!
I don’t believe that anyone, fictional or not, should hate themselves, think themselves not worthy, or think that they have to be a certain way because that’s what society dictates.
Everyone should love themselves and their bodies because this is what we have and if we don’t love it then no-one else will!
I would like to add a huge thank you to you and some of the other bloggers out there. I am new(ish) to blogging and I love that I have found such an amazing community. Thank you Michelle for an amazing feature, I hope you include a post on how awesome you are too!!Thank you Raimy for such wonderful answers! I too really love reading about sexuality and body image. I'm honestly apalled at your English teacher... Raimy blogs at Readaraptor, please do follow her awesome blog!