Ask the Author …with Bethan Christopher
Bethan Christopher is an artist, illustrator and coach. She is the author of Grow Your Own Gorgeousness and creator of the teen delivery, the Gorgeousness Programme. When Bethan isn’t writing, coaching or illustrating books, she likes to make art and run around in the hills with her labradoodle, Frida.
Rebel Beauty For Teens, is published on 15th April. It helps readers aged 12-16 to navigate through the societal pressure to look perfect, fit a narrow beauty ideal and instead unleash their own unique gorgeousness. An interactive journal, full of practical exercises doodling space, young people are shown how to communicate with confidence, empower their body language, ignite their passions and master the hormonal shifts of their menstrual cycle.
What was on your lockdown reading list?
Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. The victors may have written the history books, but the outlaws passed on the fairy tales and Estes’ book holds all of the most potent stories of times gone by. I read this years ago and have devoured again it during lockdown. And Entangled Lives by Merlin Sheldrake. Beautifully written, poetic and stirring. You truly will have no idea about the awe inspiring intelligence – and power – of fungus until you read Entangled Lives. The book and the subject are incredible.
The best spot for reading and/or writing in your house?
I like to read in my bedroom. In bed. Bathed in a patch of sunshine. With the door shut and a cup of tea close to hand.
The one book you couldn’t put down?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
The one book you couldn’t finish?
Lord of the Rings, I didn’t manage to get past Tom Bombadil’s epic poetry section/singing!
Physical or Kindle?
Physical. Too much of my life is spent on screens and for me, physical books hold magic.
The book or author which has most influenced your work?
In terms of Rebel Beauty For Teens, it isn’t so much an author or book that has inspired me, but people – many of whom have authored books. Anita Roddick from the Body Shop inspired me as a child to try to make a difference to people through my work. SARK demonstrated to me that you can make handwritten, messy books and they can find a place in the world. Helena Rubinstein, the original beauty-tycoon, lit a way to show that women can pioneer the beauty paradigm in whichever way they choose. Everything I write and draw is a culmination of every human I’ve come across, but if I really had to choose one writer and book, I’d say Alice Walker and her masterpiece, The Color Purple. And if I had to choose a character from that book, it’d be Shug Avery.
Aside from reading and writing, how did you keep yourself busy during lockdown?
I love fitness. Or at least, I love the endorphins that keeping fitness produces. Prior to the first lockdown I had been training to go on the TV series, SAS Who Dares Wins and so through our 2020 lockdown, spent a lot of the time keeping my fitness levels up. This latest lockdown has been very different. I contracted Covid and so have spent a lot of time resting and instead of running, making new collections of wall art, completing illustration commissions and having good times with my children.
The strangest thing you found yourself doing as a result of lockdown?
I keep on losing my credit cards. I’ll go somewhere, use my card and not put it back into my purse. I just LEAVE IT on the counter or in the cash machine or wherever. During months of being at home and shopping online, little habits as simple as putting my card away in my purse once I’ve used it, have been forgotten. Meanwhile, weird new habits such as patting my pockets every time I get out of the car and muttering “I’ve forgotten my blinking facemask again,” have appeared.
You can find out more about Bethan and her books on her website www.bethanchristopher.com. She is also on Instagram @bethanchristopher.
You can purchase copies of Rebel Beauty for Teens direct from the Medina Books by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Bookshop.org by clicking here (the book will be posted directly to you from our supplier).