An author in our midst.
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Bromford's very own bestselling author Lauren Langford, has self-published her first book 'Getting Over It'.
The superstar helps train colleagues to understand our customers more and to continue to provide our market leading support service, changing lives for people across Central England. Putting her creativity to use at Bromford, we thought it was time to catch up with the wordsmith about her book, and how Bromford has helped shape her writing…
Hello Lauren! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.
It's a pleasure, really excited about having my first 'media interview'. Takes my mind off this weather as well.
It certainly has been dark today! Hopefully it'll clear up soon, and then everyone can start using your book as a good beach read.
(Laughs) Hopefully there will be a bit more sunshine.
So Lauren, you've launched your career as an author. Can you set the scene for me, where did this all start?
Well, I've been writing for as long as I can remember, from school right through to University. I used to send short stories by letter to friends and they loved getting them, this was of course before email.
Even in my spare time I'd write short stories, the beginning of novels, but I never quite felt it was my best work.
Then I came to Bromford five years ago, starting my life here as a Support Worker, this helped me learn about life more, and when I took up a position as a trainer at Friars Gate, I found I could flex my creativity with training scripts and case studies.
This all helped build my confidence to dive into creating my first fully fledged novel.
So tell me more about this bestselling novel…
It's about a young girl dealing with grief of losing her father. So to remedy that, her mom sends her to Spain for a change of scene to live with her Auntie and Uncle.
She learns about friendship and love, developing relationships with those around her. It's about getting over that feeling of loss and coming to terms with the grief.
Where did the inspiration come from?
From my point of view, as a Support Worker working with vulnerable young people who have suffered the worst in life. These people have experienced harsh blows and so I always found their ability to develop coping mechanisms truly inspirational. I saw how they handled their trials first hand, taking themes from their stories and adapting them for my books.
Also, as a trainer in Colleague Development, I deliver many courses; from substance misuse, to hoarding, mental health and self-harm. I been able to use stories of customers to shape my training, helping others understand the strength and worth of those we support.
Then from personal experience, the grief I went through after losing my own Dad and the process I went through to get through it, the restructuring of my life, all helped me with the book. I saw it as therapeutic. Two years on, and I can see the powerful journey I've been on.
Bromford's impact has been on me personally, helping me build confidence, helping me to engage with my own life experiences and move them into fiction. Hearing the stories of customers has probably been the most invaluable.
Is it your personality we see in the main character?
Yes I'd say to some extent. It isn't me specifically, but there are definitely similarities between me and Emily (the main character). I've used my own experiences and creativity so there will always be a connection.
You've mentioned Bromford's impact on the book, has your contact with customers changed your style?
They've had a huge impact, 100%. I felt silly penning my thoughts before Bromford, now I have the confidence to write a whole book.
Being a Support Worker I met customers in vulnerable positions. Working with them to achieve goals, whether it be paying the bills or getting a job, had a massive impact my self-esteem and theirs.
So with all these creative juices, are you letting them flow into your work at Bromford?
Yes, I try to be creative with my case studies and training scripts. For example, with my hoarding course I try and use evocative terminology to connect with colleagues, helping them understand customers aren't hoarding rubbish, they're hoarding valuable treasures.
It's about using language to connect with people, and each person uses a different language. A good writer finds the middle ground so that everyone can understand and engage. This job has given me the ability to flex my inner writer.
Big question, how's the book doing?
Well, with over 400,000 books available in my section on Amazon, my bestseller rank has been as high as 7000.
We work that out as within the top 2% of authors... WOW!
(Laughs) I wouldn't say that. I've just been promoting it a lot on social networks and I've had a lot of support from Bromford.
So colleagues have taken an interest? What support have you been given?
Colleagues have brought the book for one, so that's been fantastic to know. Even in my 1-2-1, my manager has supported me, using my skills for my professional development and helped to raise my self-esteem.
Vicky from advance has been really supportive as well, tweeting about me and posting on yammer. When people approach me to say they've read it, I'm really proud, it's so exciting.
You're becoming a best selling author with quite a following! What's your next steps? A movie?
(Laughs) No, I've half written my next book which I hope to release by Christmas.
I'm living a dream… slightly. It's just fantastic to get it out there and get the feedback. Even constructive criticism, I run with it and take the advice. I've had some lovely things said, I love having people engage with me and share their thoughts so hopefully there will be lots more to come.
Final question and we'll let you get back to your work, what advice have you got for others in a similar position to yourself?
If you want to be a writer, then write.
Somebody else said that, I think they were famous, should probably Google it (laughs).
It's the same with motivation, if you want something, don't talk about it, do it! Go for it, try your best. It's always nice to do something you enjoy, because it's not about pleasing everyone else, yes that's a bonus, but I do this because it makes me happy.
Well, I think that's all for now Lauren, thanks for taking the time to chat.
My pleasure! My first interview, I feel like I've made it. (Laughs)
Lauren's first book, 'Getting Over It', is available now for Kindle and Kindle app (iPhone, iPad and Android) on Amazon.