Hey guys, so when I was sent my proof copy of An Ember in the Ashes it contained some cards, really really cool cards with quotes on....and questions. Why the questions? Well....
"Although set in a fantasy world, the themes running through An Ember in the Ashes often resonate with modern life. It got us talking about how we often read fantasy not just to escape, but also as an outlet- a way to deal with the tougher situations we find in ourselves in. As Katniss, Triss and now Laia fought their battles, we thought about ours"
Harper Voyager thought that by asking ourselves the questions, we'd open up a wider conversation about all sorts of topics/issues.
I debated about how and where to do this, I was thinking about Twitter, but we all know I ramble too much and so 140 characters just wasn't going to be enough, so blog post it is!
These question cards don't half make me feel like some sort of badass presenter on some sort of question show....anyway, here we go!
We all have moments where we feel out of control of our own lives. What helps you regain control?
What helps me regain control? Back when I smoked, I'd sit outside, have a cigarette and listen to a song or two. Now I do the same...just without the cigarette haha. Sit somewhere, listen to a couple of songs and have a cup of green tea. Or just scream in to a pillow. Either works.
Have you ever been a victim of peer pressure, or felt pushed in to doing something you don't necessarily agree with? What advice would you give to someone in a similar situation?
To be perfectly honest, back at school I was bullied for being fat, so I'd do pretty much anything to fit in, which is sad but there you go. I started smoking because all the "cool" people at school where doing it and the people I was hanging out with where doing it, so I started in like sixth form and I used to go out for cigarettes with them and everything.
I'm not really sure what advice to give, it's such a hard position to be in, and I think it takes some intense inner strength to stand up to people and say no, depending on what's going on. I think there's a lot of movies and tv shows that are popular these days that show you that it's okay to stand up for yourself and be a bit different, so I would say that even if you don't feel strong, if you really do not want to do something, just say no, because ultimately you'll feel better about yourself. To be honest, I reckon saying no and not following the crowd will probably gain you more respect from them than going along with them. My advice horrendously sucks, I know.
POWER. There are plenty of examples of abuse of power around the world and in An Ember in the Ashes, the impact of power both on the powerful and powerless is key.
We all feel powerless sometimes. Have you ever fought against someone in a powerful position and stood up for yourself- if so, how did you do it?
I feel powerless plenty of times, the closest I came to fighting against someone in a powerful position was my manager at the last shop I worked at. I put up with a lot of crap, was treated like dirt and so on, I put up with it for a long time, but then a time came, and I stood up for myself by removing myself from the situation. I'm not that much of a badass that I decided to fight the system haha. I just did what was best for me, and sent a very diplomatically worded "I quite" letter.
What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
I would give the advice that no matter what you do, you should remain calm, put forward your arguments sensibly and don't get angry and start screaming and shouting out accusations. Perhaps write out what you want to say before hand and refer to it while you're talking. Depending on the situation you could perhaps find a couple of other people who feel the same to join you when you make your case, but make sure it doesn't turn in to a lynching. Or do what I did, depending on the situation, and remove yourself from it if you can, because you should take care of yourself first to be honest.
The burden of DESTINY is discussed throughout An Ember in the Ashes. Regardless if whether you believe in destiny or not, modern life generates its own expectations and pressures - whether from yourself, or your surroundings.
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason and your destiny is laid out for you? What do you think you can do to change your own destiny?
I think life seems less crappy if you believe that everything happens for a reason. Like, you don't get the job you want...you can keep positive by saying "well, everything happens for a reason, so something better will come along". It's taken me a while to be ridiculously positive all the time, and it's a lot to do with a book I read called the Secret, which is all about positive thinking and to maintain positivity, it's better to think everything happens for a reason rather than crappy things just happen. I didn't get a job I wanted, then the next thing I know, I'm on an acting for film course, and I've got my first acting job so there you go.
I'd like to think my destiny is laid out for me, but I'd love to know what it is. It makes me feel better to think the universe has a plan for me, while I have no idea what the hell I'm doing!
To change your own destiny....it's your destiny, I'm not sure whether you can, I'd just roll with it, but then if it was a really rubbish destiny or one you didn't want then you're going to have to fight hard to change it. Perhaps it's all about choices? Perhaps the easiest choice is the one leading to your destiny, and the harder one is the one that veers away? Maybe you have to change yourself?
What makes you happiest now - and how does it differ from what made you happiest this time last year?
This time last year the same things made me happy that make me happy now, but the years before, what made me happiest was going out with friends to clubs and being out until ridiculous times. In the past year or two, what makes me happiest is either curling up with a movie or a book, a blanket and a green tea, or if I'm feeling social, I'm happiest going out to a pub with my friends, or a restaurant and having a few drinks. I'm 22 and I don't really enjoy clubs anymore to be honest! I'm back to reading more in the past couple of years than I was when I was partying multiple times a week, so I'm happiest with a book, or a quiet night out with friends! Also, there's only so many times you can take the night bus back from London before you can't take it anymore!
Elias struggles with the notion of FREEDOM in An Ember in the Ashes - he desperately wants to make his own decisions, as we often do in reality.
Modern life often means doing things we don't want to do (as in fantasy). What do you do to keep yourself feeling positive during a difficult day?
I'm one of those people that really doesn't like being forced in to doing things I don't want to do haha, however, whenever I really have to do something I don't want to do, it usually lowers my mood, so I have a playlist for each kind of mood, it's an acting thing, and I whack on my feel good playlist, have a listen and a dance, and I remind myself how lucky I am each day, and keep reminding myself how grateful I am for everything in my life. I'll talk to my best friend, because she always makes me laugh and laughing is a great way to improve the mood, and then when I get back home, I usually stick on a Disney movie or an episode of Once Upon A Time. I have many, many ways to keep myself upbeat on a crap day haha
Are there any songs/places/people that make you feel happy?
My best friend makes me feel happy, we pretty much talk all day every day about all kinds of stuff, both serious and total nonsense. Sometimes our conversations get totally ridiculous as well and we can't help but laugh at our own stupidity.
Songs that make me happy, there are so, so many, Disney songs, (I freaking love Disney so anything Disney, film, song, whatever lifts my mood right up), I genuinely listen to "I'll make a man out of you" before nights out sometimes, when I'm getting ready. I also sometimes work out to it because I'm that sad! Any song that has a good memory attached will also put a smile on my face! I would be here all day listing them, there a quite a few. Any song I can have a good dance too as well.
Places, my room used to make me happy before....neighbours and issues. Hmmmm.....there's a place out the side of our house, where we used to have a pond, but even without the pond, in summer, it's a great place to sit in the sun and read. And then, I'm not just saying this because I'm a book blog, but a bookshop or a library. Because nothing makes me happier than browsing through books and finding new reads. I could also say the spoons in Wimbledon to be honest haha! Gigs used to make me happy as well or festivals but I haven't been to one in a year or two!
And there you have my rambling answers that make no sense whatsoever haha!