Laura Cowan is a storyteller and song-sharer. She is founder of Girls Rising Movement, empowering girls and their mothers to navigate puberty and menstruation without embarrassment, secrecy or shame. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and 3 daughters.
"As I continue on my journey of understanding my own menstrual cycle and enjoying the nourishing and healing power of women's circles, I felt called to use my experience of facilitating workshops for young people using theatre, dance and storytelling to help to expand this knowledge of feminine wisdom for transformation and social change.
I want our daughters to be protected from the negative body-narrative they may hear from media, social media, peers and school by already knowing how amazing their bodies are. Having explored these topics and shared with real women and girls in a safe and fun environment, she will have the foundations to build a healthy, happy relationship with her body, her mind and her spirit as she grows towards womanhood."
What inspired you to start writing?
LC: I am an oral storyteller and have been telling stories to children up to age 7 for 10 years. We then go on imaginative adventures together, inspired by the story I’ve told so I have experienced first-hand the magic and power of stories for children and how much they learn through story instead of being told solely facts about a subject.
In terms of what inspired me to write 'The Moon Child', it was an idea that came to me in the middle of the night. I have been wanting to set-up a movement for Girls approaching puberty to give them a meaningful and empowering transition into a new chapter of life and so in thinking about my ideas for that, and how to change the narrative for puberty and periods it was a natural progression for me to write a children’s story about it. Hopefully the story helps in inspiring awe and wonder instead of fear and dread at this chapter in life.
How long have you been writing?
LC: This is the first children’s book I have written, but I found that as I have been memorising and telling children’s stories as a storyteller for years, it came quite naturally to write one myself. I’ve found some great resources online to help me and have joined some great facebook groups where children’s book authors can swap and critique each other’s work, which has been amazing!
What are your favourite blogs or websites for writers?
LC: A friend of mine is an illustrator for children’s books and lives in Canada. Shortly after writing the first draft, I contacted her for some advice, and she gave me a list of resources. I found these websites and blogs really useful: Kid Lit manuscript swap Facebook group, Kidlt411.com website and blog.
What do you do to get inside your characters heads?
LC: I think I draw upon my own life and experiences and friends and family members. My children play a big role in my creative process. They inspire me to write and help to change the narrative about menstruation for the next generation.
What books do you enjoy reading?
LC: I love a good novel. I have recently read ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig and I loved it! It gave me a different perspective on life. I also love non-fiction books, self-help books, etc. ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert helped me to listen to my creative inspiration and flow with it again.
Are there any books or authors that inspired me to become a writer?
LC: As previously mentioned, Big Magic helped me to listen to my creative ideas and act on them. Watching my friend Lucy-Anne Holmes be completely herself and follow her passions as a writer has definitely inspired me to follow my inspirations and act on them too. Lucy H Pearce’s books about creativity and cultivating creativity in Motherhood have been very helpful also.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
LC: o The Girl Guide by Marawa Ibrahim
o The Rainbow Way by Lucy H Pearce
o The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
o The Year of the Goddess by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
What book could you read over and over again?
LC: I really loved The Red Tent by Anita Diamant when I first read it in my 20’s. It awakened a deep desire I did not know I had and it led me to attend a local Red Tent and to co-found a Red Tent in my own locality. A friend who I introduced my local Red Tent to has since moved and is setting up a Red Tent in her location also. It’s wonderful to see how the movement is growing.
What is your favourite book?
LC: This is a really hard question. I remember really enjoying Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, I really enjoyed His Dark Materials trilogy and am enjoying watching the BBC series with my daughter. ‘Wild Power’ by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wilzer was transformative for me in terms of how I perceived my own menstrual cycle.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
LC: I’ve been really enjoying watching “The Glow Up” on BBC i-player with my children to unwind. It’s easy viewing but still inspirational and creative.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
LC: Eating spoonful’s of Nutella from the jar...
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
LC: I don’t think I’m either, but if I had to choose, I’d probably say a morning person as I do feel much more energetic in the mornings. But it really does depend.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
LC: I wanted to be a Zoologist and study wild cats in Africa.
Do you have any hidden talents?
LC: I sing and play guitar (just for fun). I am a trained choir leader for Singing Mamas Choir. I share natural voice songs with 3 / 4 part harmonies with women, mothers and their children.
Which Season is your favourite?
LC: Autumn. I even named my middle child after it!
Are you a coffee or a tea lover?
LC: Definitely a tea lover! I drink too many a day!
'The Moon Child' is a picturebook for children and will be released this summer... stay tuned!