Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Alena Pavlis. Just turned 19. My family are Greek. With striking green eyes and dark brown hair, I look Mediterranean, according to my bestie, Becca. But my family have never been traditional Greeks. (Except, they like smashing ceramic plates at family weddings).
Mum and I moved to Surrey, England, two years ago to escape my past. These last few years have been really hard, but I’m trying my best to move forward with my life.
Right now, I’m a college freshman, trying to repair my life. Hmm. It’s been so difficult being at college. This is the first time I’ve travelled out of town by myself and lived away from home. The first few days were so lonely at Capendale University, though I recently met this cute guy, another student. His name is Phillip Gregson. Phillip is of Caribbean descent, though he was born in North London, like me. We met at the Freshers’ Fair. Phillip’s just moved into my dormitory, Ridley House. Not sure how things will work out. Not with all the stuff I have to deal with. But we will see what happens.
What is your role in the story?
I am the main character, the central person in the story. Everything is told from my point of view, which is good, because the reader can really get inside my head and see the world through my eyes. I have a very important story to tell the reader.
As the lead character, I get the chance to tell my story – sharing with the reader about my traumatic past and how I work towards overcoming it. I want people to know that as long as you have the right support network and determination, you can triumph over anything.
Seeing my relationship with Phillip as we work through our many issues and grow as a couple, is also something the reader will get to see.
What is your favorite hobby?
Since high school, I have loved to sing. In fact, I was in this really successful choir during high school called High Note Harmony. However, things took a turn for a worst in my life and I gave up singing altogether. It seems like fate though, ‘cos at college the other day, I spotted a flyer advertising an audition for Capendale’s new choir called The Coolette Singers. I am thinking about auditioning next month. Singing is really helping me deal with the pain from my past. If I could take up singing as a career after college, I would really love that.
What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story?
Take a breath, Alena. Oh, I am dealing with some serious challenges that affect my everyday life. Two years old, someone I trusted hurt me and left me in a bad way. The physical scars have healed, but the psychological scars have not yet faded. These days, I have frightening flashbacks, and having a relationship with Phillip, and letting him get close to me, is really hard. I often have panic attacks when we attempt to take our relationship to the next level, and sometimes, I get very emotional for no apparent reason. Phillip does support me as best he can. Nevertheless, he does not quite understand how to help me overcome the past. Not understanding me or my needs fully, has led to him moving closer Joanne, this nasty girl on our floor, who is a total man-eater. Joanne thinks that Phillip belongs to her, especially since they are both from the same culture.
I’m not sure if Phillip and I will be okay or if I can overcome my demons. But I guess I got to try, with or without Phillip.
Singing and my mum, are the two things I can turn to when things get rough.
I really hope Phillip and I can make it in the end. We will just have to wait and see what happens.
If you could make one wish, what would it be?
I want people to see me as a survivor, not a victim.
Title: UnShatter Me
Author: Michelle Diana Lowe
Nineteen year old Alena Pavlis moved to Surrey, on the outskirts of London, to escape her past. Now, heading off to college, she hopes that she can finally move on and begin a brand new chapter. During her first day at Capendale University, she meets Phillip Gregson, the cute streetwise guy who introduces her to a whole new world. At first, Phillip seems to be the answer to all of her problems. Yet quickly she finds that her childhood trauma is creeping in, and so are outside influences which begin to drive a wedge between the couple. As the relationship reaches its breaking point, Alena starts to pursue her own dreams and aspirations. Just as she is finding her feet again and preparing to audition for Capendale’s choir – the Coolette Singers, a perilous series of events turns her life upside down. Left with no other choice, Alena must confront the demons of her past head-on, even though it means risking everything.
Michelle Diana Lowe was born, and grew up, in London, England. She has had a deep passion for writing from a very young age. Experiencing domestic violence in her earlier years and being a victim of school bullying, Michelle penned stories to self-heal.
After graduating from the University of Roehampton with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature with Philosophy, Michelle began working as a Children’s Centre Administrator. Appearing on British Chatshow, The Chrissy B Show, in October 2014, gave her an opportunity to speak publicly, for the first time, about the difficulties she faced in childhood and the work she now does to help others.
Exploring issues that affect teenagers globally, and finding solutions for those affected, is very important to Michelle. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys being with family, taking walks in and around town, meeting up with friends and watching popular US shows, movies and period dramas. UnShatter Me is her debut novel.
Michelle is the first, and only, UK author to be published by UrbanEdge Publishing.
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