Megan Taylor, writer extraordinaire who is currently taking the short story world by storm after completely winning me over with her second novel The Dawning, has nominated fellow writer extraordinaire Giselle Leeb and (inexplicably) me to take part in a blog relay amble. This involves answering a few questions about writing before handing them on to two more writers. It’s already been round some amazing writers such as Matt Cresswell, Kerry Hadley, Anne Jensen, Louise Swingler, Graeme Shimmin and Steve Hollyman.
You can read Megan’s blog here, and don’t forget to check out Giselle’s answers, and those given by the other writers, too.
So, the questions…
What am I working on?
I have two projects on the go at the moment (or, more accurately, on the go-very-slow). I’ve been writing a novel for over seven years – a kind of magical realism fantasy type thing which is about a woman whose roots are in a small rural village, where the villagers made a deal with the land back in prehistoric times that each would look after the other. The land is struggling, and needs the woman’s help to recover. Magic and history and romance all entwine to make what will hopefully be an interesting story. I’ve started it three times now, and I’m hoping that at some point soon (and with the help of a marvellous critique group at NWS) I’ll get the bugger finished.
More recently, I’ve started writing poetry, and I’m getting more and more excited about what poetry can do. I’m hoping to use it to convey the ideas embodied in quantum theory… sounds a bit bonkers, but I’ve been trying to get my head round quantum mechanics for years, and I’m increasingly convinced that it’s virtually impossible to really explain it using prose. It can, obviously, only be properly expressed in mathematics, but I think it could be explained to some extent using poetry. We’ll see.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
What a weird question! I don’t think the novel does, particularly. It’s not very genre-specific, in that it probably would be classified as literary fiction (or maybe mainstream fiction) rather than fantasy or sci-fi. The poetry… hmm… poets have written about every topic under, above and including the sun. So how can I say whether my work differs, let alone how it differs? However, I was lucky enough to have a one-to-one with Jane Commane, the truly lovely publisher at Nine Arches Press, yesterday, and she seemed interested in the idea, so perhaps it’s different enough to be worth publishing at some point.
Why do I write what I do?
I write the novel because I enjoy reading, and I’d like to contribute to the general entertainment of the reading masses. I write the poetry because it’s fun, challenging and rewarding. Hell, that’s why I write the novel too. And all the other stuff I write.
How does my writing process work?
‘Process’ is definitely not the right word. It’s more like: ‘scrabbling around to find a few spare moments to wrangle some words into something like writing.’ As anyone who knows me can attest, I’ve become a workaholic late in life (something to do with having to earn a living somehow after being chewed up and spat out by the computing industry, but more to do with finally discovering how fulfilling it is to work at something you love). So I don’t have a lot of free time, and much of that is taken up with sitting on the sofa allowing my brain to switch off.
I’ve never been one of those people who can get up early and write (apart from anything else, I rarely get to bed before midnight), and I don’t have anything even vaguely resembling a routine. You should see my diary… or rather, perhaps you shouldn’t… So making space to write is not easy.
One thing that does drive me is deadlines – I’m one of those annoying people who leaves everything to the last minute, but I’m incredibly productive in those last few days and hours before a deadline. So I harness that in my writing practice. I’ve signed up for a part-time Creative Writing MA (which I can’t afford, in terms of money or time) which forces me to find time to write. And I’ve been a member of a fiction critique group at NWS for nearly 3 years now, which makes me keep going with my novel.
However, I do believe that everything I do and think and read contributes to my writing. So from that perspective I’m writing all the time!
In turn, I’m going to ask the two newest members of Nottingham Writers’ Studio – Kim Jamison and Eleanor Hemsley to take on the baton and continue the amble. They don’t know about it yet because I’ve forgotten to actually ask them, but I hope they won’t mind.
Do drop by their blogs next Monday to find out more…