Q and A

A Few Questions People Ask

Did you always want to become a writer?
Yes. I started making up bedtime stories for my younger sister before I was ten. Then when I was probably around 12 or 13 years old I started writing my first stories about Amelia and her Cats and later moved onto teenage romance. There was no encouragement or support for writing in those days. The only career option was as a journalist which was very much a male orientated world and my school career’s office steered me away from that. I was quite shy and didn’t have any confidence, so that was the end of my career prospects, but I always dabbled in writing and then in recent years I decided it was my last chance to pursue it. I started sending out short stories, my first submission being published by Chat magazine and then I produced a short story book on Amazon and I have just written a memoir called The Tiger Moth Spirit out November 2023. I have a few other ideas on the backburner and I’d love to write a TV drama script, as I really enjoy dialogue and scriptwriting, so I am drafting a couple of script ideas I have.

Do you like to read and what books did you read as a child?
I have always been a bookworm. I like books that grab me straight away and then I can’t put them down until I’ve finished, which doesn’t get the tea cooked. As a child I was a voracious reader and used to read under the duvet with a torch when I was supposed to be sleeping. I didn’t have a happy childhood, so I’d lose myself in fiction. I joined the Puffin Book Club and I spent my pocket money on comics every week. I still have a first edition of one of them. I read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, which I have now passed onto my granddaughter, Anne of Green Gables and anything I could get my hands on. I wasn’t one for the Classics; I studied English and French literature at school and I found that dissecting a book and writing essays about it, took away the pleasure of reading it. My latest favourite read has been the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley.

Where do you get your ideas from?
My inspiration comes from personal experiences and people and places all around me. For example, I walk my dogs through a conservation area every day and there is always wildlife around – rabbits, voles, birds, ducks – and this is where I got my idea for a series of children’s books. Another time I was in a 50’s retro coffee shop and was taken back in time with the waitresses dressed as land army girls and before my coffee and cake had been served, I had my notebook out and was writing a story.

Do you ever get writer’s block?
To date, I have never had real writer’s block. I have too many ideas churning away in my head and not enough time or fingers to get them all down on paper. Sometimes I can find a piece hard to write or not be sure where it will go next, but then I leave it to stew for a while and move onto something else. Taking my dogs for a walk always clears the cobwebs and is good thinking time.

What would you suggest for a someone new to writing?
A blog is always a good way to start. You can write about anything on a blog and there will always be someone who reads it. Another way is to enter the many free writing competitions that are around. There can only be one winner, but it is good practice for writing to a theme, a deadline and a set word count, which is good discipline. That’s how I became addicted to writing short stories. I wrote on themes I would never have thought about and it helps you grow as a writer.

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