Fabulous Londoners

Fabulous Londoners: Andrea Nair, M.A., CCC

Andrea Nair

I love writing about the skills and talents of fellow Londoners. Today I’m enthusiastic to share another fab Londoner and an equally fabulous book that she has written; Andrea Nair and her psychological novel stripped down running.

I read  STRIPPED DOWN RUNNING to share my opinion in the form of a book review. But I was so moved by the story that I had to know more so I did a little Q & A with Andrea. But first, here is why I loved the book so much.

STRIPPED DOWN RUNNING

Stripped Down Running by Andrea Nair

I imagine that Hannah (the main character) is someone that I would be drawn to in real life. I think outwardly, she’d make a good friend and even more, an interesting person to be around. Her personality seems strong and magnetic, yet her impulsiveness seems chaotic. I don’t know why but this draws you in and keeps you glued to the page.

I felt like I related to Hannah. It’s not necessarily because we share the same characteristics or even the same type of childhood, but on some level, I think we can all see a piece of ourselves in her. She’s motivated by her heart, or so it seems. It’s not until we dig further into Hannah’s past that we see how much of a role our childhood’s play in our future.

This compelling psychological novel dramatically highlights the impact of what was thought to be sort of a normal family upbringing. As a young adult, the heroine tries to outrun her past, but like so many childhood influences, outdistancing one’s early years does not always work.

Her relationship with her husband in convoluted and it’s interesting to see how that unfolds. Again, I think this relationship is relatable for most. Whether it’s your spousal relationship, a friendship or a working relationship, they can all be complicated in some way or another.

Reading it from Hannah’s perspective is like listening to someone who’s experienced relationship turmoil first hand. It’s an honest, sincere confession of sorts. Although Hannah reveals some things about herself that you may not like, you forgive her. Her story is so raw and endearing that you end up falling in love with her and you find yourself rooting for her.

ANDREA NAIR

Andrea Nair is the author of STRIPPED DOWN RUNNING and a psychotherapist, Parenting Educator and Co-owner of The Core Family Health Centre here in London. Andrea is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to parenting and families.

It was really interesting to get educated on family relationships and parenting through a form of fiction writing. I think it was a clever and effective way of bringing an important topic to light.

I did a little Q & A session with Andrea to find out more about her background as well as to find out some more info on Hannah. I can’t wait to ‘meet’ Hannah again so I am anxiously awaiting her next book!

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself:

A. I am a parenting educator who loves to write! My husband, a family doctor, and I own a medical building called The Core Family Health Centre in London; which is where I base my parenting psychotherapy practice.

In my attempt to reach as many parents as possible, I have turned to writing to share the tricks and tips which research suggests and I find helpful with my own two boys. To reach the people who prefer to read fiction than self-help books, I write about parent-child relationships to show to how much this relationship continues to affect the children well into their adulthood.

Q. Is this the first book that you’ve written?

A. Yes, STRIPPED DOWN RUNNING is my first completed novel. I am 8,000 words into my second novel.

Q. Who is Hannah?

A. Hannah, the main character, is someone you could easily relate to, love, laugh with, but also want to choke! Her fun sense of humour and edginess pull us in but her wild behaviour makes us wonder what the heck is she doing? And why?

Q. How did your background as a psychotherapist help to develop the character of Hannah?

A. My background as a psychotherapist helped Hannah’s character development because I really wanted to dig into the guts of what was driving Hannah’s confusing behaviour. I used my master’s degree research to put together a story where the reader would understand a bit about why people do the things they do. I also hoped to make Hannah’s character emotionally riveting.

Q. Will we hear more from Hannah?

A. YES! You will hear from Hannah. So far the next book as made me cry my own guts out.

GIVEAWAY

Today you can enter to win one of two copies of STRIPPED DOWN RUNNING by Andrea Nair. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Good luck!

City Mom

Fabulous Londoners: Liz Coyles

Liz Coyles

Here’s the scene: It’s a Friday night in downtown London. I had just finished dinner with two of my girl friends and we were heading to view some Poetry Slam at the London Music Club. We strolled over to what we thought was the LMC, bought our tickets and a drink and sat down.

What happened next has brought me to writing this today.

We weren’t at the LMC, we were at the London Music Hall. Apparently this is a common mistake. A tall, gorgeous and elegant blonde woman entered the stage and started signing. Her soulful voice grabbed my attention right away and from that moment on I was a fan of Liz Coyles.

What a fantastic mix-up!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to London’s own Liz Coyles.

Liz Coyles

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Liz Coyles, born and raised in the beautiful London, Ontario. I recently turned 25 years old. I am currently living in Toronto, Ontario and loving every minute of it. I spend a lot of my days writing and recording new music. I also serve at a restaurant to help pay the bills while I get my singing career kick started. I like to spend my days off exercising with my chocolate lab Stella; she is constantly full of energy!

How did you first get into music?

This is kind of a funny story. I didn’t really realize I had a good singing voice until I was 22. My friend and I were just playing around with a guitar one night and we recorded a few songs. When I listened back the next day I liked what I heard and decided to try out a new hobby.

I taught myself how to play a few chords on the guitar and started writing my own music. The following September I entered the ‘Western Idol’ competition at UWO. I went on to win the competition and from there I began to get connected with the right people in the Toronto music scene.

What really kick started everything was winning the $25,000 grand prize for the ‘It’s Your Shot’ contest hosted by Slaight
Music. From there my first single ‘Butterflies’ went to radio and we’ve been working together ever since.

Liz Coyles

How would you describe your music style?

We are still doing a lot of experimenting with my ‘sound’ when it comes to my music. I would say that naturally my voice is soft yet soulful. It has a unique tone to it which I believe comes from my love and influence of British pop music.

What other musical artists inspire you?

I always feel so cliché answering this question with this artist but Adele is someone who really inspires me as an artist. At the time she released her album ‘19’ I was going through a time in my life that seemed to echo a lot of the things she sang about on her album. Before I even knew I could sing her music really touched me. I will always love her for her incredible song writing skills, her untouchable voice and her I don’t give a sh*t what you think about me attitude.

Ed Sheeran is an artist who I am also really inspired by and respect a lot. He is an artist who writes his own music and gives you a live show that is identical to his recordings. That is something I really admire and aspire to deliver myself.

How has London played a role in your musical career?

London has been a wonderful support for my music right from the early days. Local venues like The London Music Club, The Barking Frog and APK Live, to name a few, have opened their doors to allow my music to be heard since day one.

I find the people of London have really embraced me as an artist and are rooting for me. It feels amazing and I am so grateful for all of the support I have received from the residents there.

I think the most important thing to remember is to NEVER set limitations on what you dream. The moment you do that, you limit yourself from ever reaching your full potential.

What advice would you give to others in making their dreams a reality?

My advice for anyone trying to make their dreams a reality would be to stop thinking and start doing. It is so much easier said than done but you will amaze yourself at what you can accomplish if you follow your heart, step out of your comfort zone and try something. I think the most important thing to remember is to NEVER set limitations on what you dream. The moment you do that, you limit yourself from ever reaching your full potential.

What was it like to perform at Canada’s Walk of Fame?

Performing at the Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival was an incredible experience this past year. I had the opportunity to open for K’Naan at Massey Hall. That was a night I will never forget.

I also did a show at Nathan Phillips Square which was amazing. I was singing my first single ‘Butterflies’ and I noticed one particular girl in the crowd singing along with every word. I melted on the inside. It was such an incredible feeling.

Liz Coyles - What Was I Thinking

You recently released your new single “What Was I Thinking”; can you give us a hint about what we can expect from you next?

I am so happy with my newest single ‘What Was I Thinking’! We are currently waiting to see how the song does at radio and I think we  will make our next move from there. In the meantime I am working with lots of new writers and producers to generate a bunch of new original material. You can always be kept in the loop via my Facebook page : Liz Coyles and my Twitter: @lizcoyles.

What is the last book you read?

I just finished reading ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. This is the second time I’ve read the book. I love the book because it reminds you that success isn’t everything that society tells you it is. Essentially the book is a guide to living a more purposeful life while following your dreams. It’s an easy read but a wonderful reminder of how to live a better life.

What is the last song you listened to on your iPod?

The last song I listened to on my iPod was ‘Stand Behind the Music’ by Anjulie. She is an amazing Canadian artist and I LOVE the message behind the song.

To listen to and purchase Liz’s latest single ‘What Was I Thinking?’ visit here. You have to hear a sample of her singing voice…it’s hard to believe she didn’t know she had talent until the age of 22.

So my message to the world, we’ll let you have her but don’t forget she came from here!

Thank you so much to Liz for participating in this interview. We wish you all the best in your career!

City Mom

Fabulous Londoners – David Redding: The Real London

 

David Redding

Photo Credit - Nova Markina

One of my favourite features on City Mom was the Fabulous Female Friday series. I love to highlight the skills and talents of the people I respect most. The FFF feature limited me to focusing on only females.

Hence Fabulous Londoners was born. This feature allows me to include males and allows me to get back to my roots of promoting London and all it has to offer.

Today I’m featuring the talented David Redding.

You’ve likely noticed that City Mom has been revamped and that is in large part thanks to David. He’s the man behind the camera of the amazing photos I feature on City Mom and social media profile photos.

Please join me in getting to know David and his work.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Why is it that talking about yourself is always the hardest thing to do? I guess the two things that truly define who I am are my family and my photography, outside of that there really isn’t much to me.

What is The Real London Project?

The Real London is a personal portrait project I have started to help introduce Londoners to the local art community.

I was always under the impression that if you wanted to find great artists you had to look to Toronto or further. Boy was I wrong.

What motivated you to begin the project?

I would like to say that I had a grand design at the beginning of this project, but really it started over coffee with a friend.

I originally had the intention of The Real London being a street portrait project, but when I set out to find subjects I just didn’t feel “it”. Later on I got together with a friend and fellow photographer Echo Gardiner and it was she who first suggested that I focus on the artist community in London.

At first I was hesitant because like a lot of Londoners, I didn’t think there was an artist community in London. I knew of a few photographers, the London Art Museum and the Grand Theatre, but I was always under the impression that if you wanted to find great artists you had to look to Toronto or further. Boy was I wrong.

What do you hope to accomplish with The Real London project?

Like I was saying, I was under the impression that London was void of any real artistic talent. Just like the movie industry, there are a lot of Canadian actors but to find the well-known ones you have to head to Hollywood. After starting this project and meeting so many great creative’s, I wanted to help spread the word to the rest of the Londoners who are under the same impressions I was.

On every post on the project page I make sure to include links to all the artists websites or social media outlets. I want people to click away from my page and learn more about our community’s artists.

How do you select the artists that you feature?

Sometimes people will recommend an artist to me. Other times I’ll hear about a person through Twitter, Facebook or news channels. I’m generally always on the lookout for a new artist to feature.

When this project started I would feature anyone with an artistic talent. Now I’m trying to focus more on the professional creative or those that are trying to go full-time. I’m not trying to take anything away from those that do their art as a hobby, there are some amazing amateur photographers, painters, singers and so on, but there is just something about those that choose to make their whole life about their art. It takes love, commitment and a lot of hard work. I think that hard work deserves to be highlighted.

When did you begin working with cameras?

Roughly six or seven years ago; I bought my first camera a little after my oldest son was born, a little Canon point and shoot camera. It was basically a gateway drug into my number one obsession in life.

What other types of photography do you do?

I’m a wedding photographer. Not too long ago that carried a stigma of being the bottom of the barrel in the photography industry, but I wear the badge proudly.

Thanks to some amazing photographers like Jeff Ascough, Jose Villa, Ben Chrisman, Eric Clausen and many others, wedding photography is getting the respect of the industry. Really though, wedding photography suits me very well. I love shooting a lot of different things. Street photography, creative portraits, fashion, I shoot all of this on my off time personally for fun and wedding photography has aspects of all those styles wrapped into one emotionally charged day.

What advice would you give to those wanting to take up photography as a hobby or profession?

My advice would be to not ask me for advice (lol). However one of my favorite photographers is Chase Jarvis and he recently posted 10 Things Every Creative Person (That’s YOU) Must Learn. If you are an aspiring photographer I believe this is a MUST read.

What is the last song you listened to on your iPod?

Olive Hearts by Bowerbirds

What is the last book you read?

I can’t remember the last book that I finished, but I’m in the middle of Beyond
Exile: Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne…yes, I’m obsessed with zombies.

Thank you to David for the inspiration behind the new City Mom look  and for the snapshot (no pun intended) into his life.

Find David at the following locations:

www.thereallondon.tumblr.com
www.iphonehighway.tumblr.com
www.davidreddingphoto.com
www.twitter.com/therealredding

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