Paola Borella – The Blemished Rose

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My most recent book is The Blemished Rose: Volume One. It is a collection of poetry I started writing 5 years ago during therapy. The poetry reveals the pain and suffering I went through for years as a result of the abuse I endured at the hands of my uncle. The poems describe early childhood memories that emerged in flashbacks and emotions released during the healing process. When I started writing poetry, I realised that it could be used to heal my soul so from then onwards I’ve been unable to put my pen down. I’ve had many revelations while writing poetry and confronting my past, one of them being that I now understand my purpose in life, which I believe is to help others and show them they are not alone.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am half British, half Italian and currently live in Shanghai, China. I’ve been working as an English teacher for the past 10 years and have now moved into teacher training. I train Chinese state school teachers in different cities around China, it is a thoroughly rewarding job. From the age of four I studied ballet, tap and modern dance. I began writing poetry and songs at an early age, they seemed to just flow out of me effortlessly. Unfortunately, for many years I lost all of my passion for my artistic talents but I’m happy to say that the passionate flame within me has been reignited. I started playing the saxophone a few years ago and have written over 50 songs. I get a lot of my inspiration for poetry from nature and I’ve now had 10 poems published in anthologies.

What inspired you to write this book?

I feel that the the subject of abuse is still very taboo, even in today’s society. It’s shocking to discover how many cases of abuse still occur behind closed doors all around the world. I want to do more to raise awareness about abuse and the effects it has on survivors for most or all of their lives. My hope is that this book will raise more awareness and offer inspiration and encouragement to abuse survivors.

How did you choose the title?

The title was chosen after I wrote a poem called The Blemished Rose. The poem is written from the perspective of me as an adult looking back at the little girl I once was. It describes how lonely and playful I was and how that innocence was taken advantage of. The end of the poem leaves you with an image of a naked little girl who is all alone and needs watering- like a small, blemished rose.

What did you learn from writing and publishing this book?

I learnt that the process of publishing a book from start to finish is very long. Even though my book is relatively small, a lot of work went into the publishing process. I think that what I found the most stressful was proofreading, it seemed that every time I re-read my poems I found more things to edit. I realised how beneficial it is to have other proofreaders on hand to offer a fresh pair of eyes. What I learnt from writing the book is how relieving it is to be able to release feelings and emotions that have been suppressed for many years. After years of bottling things up I am now a firm believer in speaking my mind and not living with regrets.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I like reading sci-fi, poetry and inspirational books, I particularly like Paulo Coelho and the way that his books have such depth and meaning. Another of my favourite authors if Pablo Neruda, I love the way I can feel his passion in the love poems he wrote, he has greatly inspired me.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m in the process of writing a series of love poems that I hope to publish as a collection. They have been inspired by many things but my vivid imagination has certanly helped along the way! I’m also currently writing a self help book for survivors of abuse. When I was having counselling I found it very useful having a book to refer to, to help me heal. The book I read was written by two survivors of abuse and was very inspiring. I decided to start writing my own self help book because I’ve been in the same or similar situation as other survivors and hope that I can help others and offer encouragement. Although the thought of opening up to others, particularly strangers, is initially frightening I know that eventually it can help us become whole as a person and start to come to terms with what happened to us in the past. Ultimately I want my message to be: It wasn’t your fault and don’t be scared.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Don’t give up. There are thousands of publishers out there and it’s inevitable that you will get knock backs, however, with perseverance and positive spirit I believe goals can be achieved. When it comes to writing, don’t force it but when an idea, word or line comes to you, write it down straight away and see where it takes you.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I’d like to think that abuse survivors will read my book and that it will offer them some courage and inspiration. I hope that if a survivor reads my book, they will realise that although it’s painful and takes time, it is possible to release emotions and come to terms with a painful past. I hope that people who read my book who haven’t experienced abuse will become more aware of what abuse survivors go through and the effects it has.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

My book is available from most online bookstores including Amazon.com.
For more information about me, please visit my website: www.theblemishedrose.com. I also have a blog: http://theblemishedrose.blogspot.com/.