Thanks to fellow Crooked Cat writer, Carol Hedges, author of Victorian crime novel, ‘Diamonds and Dust’, for tagging me on this Blog Hop. At the end of this interview I will be tagging another brilliant author, Catriona King, whose DCI Craig detective thrillers are a must-read.
What am I working on?
Following on from ‘Myopia’, I am currently working on two more YA novels. One contains fantasy elements, although it’s set in the real world; slipstream fiction is the best description. This novel explores universal issues and themes. The other novel that I’ve finished uses football as a subject to examine themes such as bullying and family. It has a grandfather/grandson relationship, and involves some pathos but is ultimately uplifting. The message is something along the lines of: ‘Never give up. Stay focussed and determined if you hope to realise your potential’.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My YA novels involve a good deal of realism. As a teacher for over twenty years, I feel I can write about school and teenagers with a great deal of realism. My other novels are more adult-orientated. ‘Treading On Dreams’ is a coming of age tale about obsession and unrequited love; ‘Igboland’ is the story of Lydia, an English woman living in West Africa during the Biafran War. Her own marriage and faith are beginning to crumble when she meets Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and learns a great deal about herself.
My fiction stretches across genre boundaries, breaks a few rules and expectations. I tend to believe in good writing whatever the genre, rather than sticking to one type of narrative or setting. My short story collection, ‘A Glimpse of the Numinous’, is a booksellers’ nightmare as it contains horror, humour and romance.
Why do I write what I do?
I write because my head is full of stories and images that need an outlet, other than through me losing my marbles. Sometimes writing is a cathartic experience. ‘Igboland’ came out of my sentimental attachment to the country of my birth: Nigeria. ‘Myopia’ was a response to seeing the effects of bullying on sensitive students. ‘Treading On Dreams’ began as a narrative about a man who is overly sensitive and naive: traits not usually associated with being masculine. I write horror, humour and romance because people are not just one thing, but are complex beings full of hope, anger, light and shade.
How does your writing process work?
In practical terms I write two days a week, around my part-time job, and when I can find time. I also have kids, so it’s hard balancing all three aspects of my life.
Once I have a project on the go I am very focussed, and on a good day with few distractions, I can write 2000 words. Being a writer does not just involve writing, though. Marketing and publicity is an important aspect that takes up a huge amount of time – something non-writers might not fully appreciate.
I love the creativity of writing, but I also enjoy the discipline of editing and improving my work. That’s a skill which goes hand-in-hand with the creative process.
Now I’d like to tag Catriona King. The 6th book in her DCI Craig series, ‘The Slowest Cut’ is just out.