Over to you, Sya...
Can you tell me a little something about yourself?
I'm 32 and live in the north of Scotland with my small daughter. At the moment I'm concentrating on raising Lady M but am also dipping my toes into freelance editorial and copy writing work.
Did you have a role model growing up?
I'm not sure that I did when I was small, but I had two amazing English teachers in high school who turned my world on it's head by introducing me to the joys of literature. I'd always read a lot but these two ignited my passion for the written word in such a memorable way that I've never looked back.
Who do you look up to now?
JK Rowling. I'd always admired her, but I now find myself a single mother and often think of her past. I watched a fascinating documentary during which she talked about the period in her life when her daughter was small and she was suffering from depression - she admits that she started to write (something she'd always been interested in) because her "back was against the wall".
While my life is actually a fair bit less complicated than hers was, I often remember her use of this phrase and the places where that feeling ultimately got her.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What makes you think I know now?? Certainly I was pretty interested in creative pursuits (influenced, no doubt, by parents who both had careers in the arts) and particularly in anything to do with music. As a teenager, I definitely considered classical music as a career choice but actually decided to study publishing and ended up working in marketing until I had my daughter. I was always a bit vague and, it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I still am not entirely sure of where I want to go next career-wise.
Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?
My Godmother is certainly a huge influence when it comes to my independent mindset. She's a professional storyteller, Australian and a superwoman who has carved out a career doing what she loves using sheer determination, wit and savvy. She's fiercely independent and has always encouraged me to stand up for what I want. Ironically, my best friend ended up being another strong, Australian woman who I've gifted to my own daughter as Godmother.
Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?
I really love Gerda from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. The story itself is a powerful tale of friendship, both lost and found. Gerda's journey to find Kay is nothing short of epic and she often finds herself in frightening and confusing situations, yet her dedication to her friend never wavers.
What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?
I think I was pretty moody, melodramatic and perhaps a little strange. I definitely felt things extremely strongly. I also wasn't great at biting my tongue, and a lack of thought before speech often led to difficult situations. Said difficult situations would then lead to me feeling persecuted and said feelings of persecution (and, I suspect, my endless moaning about them) sometimes lead to loss of friendship. It was a trying time - I'm glad it's over but I don't kid myself into thinking that, for all my intense feelings at the time, I was much different from most teenagers.
If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?
Shut up and get on with it, look before you leap (especially verbally) and people will be more inclined to like you if you smile.
Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading about?
Perhaps predictably, I am interested in reading about the difficulties of woman combining careers and child-rearing. To me, it seems like the impossible dream at the moment, so I keep reading other's experiences to help me figure out how I can make it work for me.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thank for asking such interesting questions. I found several of them a challenge to answer and many made me think of things past in a way I never have before. You're one of the awesomest out there, Michelle!
Aww, thanks for saying so, Sya! Also, for your lovely answers. Everyone, please do follow Sya's blog, The Mountains of Instead. And if you are at all interesting in taking part in my Awesome women feature, follow this link to find out more information.