1. Tell us three things about yourself.
One. My favourite short story is "The Tiger's Bride" by Angela Carter from her collection "The Bloody Chamber". It's dark and dangerous. It speaks of objectification, desire and our true natures. I ached when I read it because I envied her skill. I wanted to evoke those feelings in other people. It made me want to write.
Two. My favourite author is Jim Crace. There's very little of his work that I don't like. His subject matter varies widely but I love his skill and rhythm with words. I fell in love with his writing when I read "Arcadia". It's a novel about a self made man and his legacy. He had me in the first paragraph with this-
No wonder Victor never fell in love. A childhood like the one he had would make ice-cubes of us all. He lived on mother's milk until he was six, and then he thrived on charity and trade.
Three. My favourite poem is When You are Old by Yeats. I love the middle verse, which is about real love rather than romance.
2. What was the first thing you had published?
“Sweetpea” in Dark Tales, Issue 6 (2005)
I came 3rd in the magazine's competition and it spurred me on, so I owe that magazine and its editor, Sean Jeffery, many thanks.
|Illustration for 'Rag and Bone', by John Jude Palencar|
3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
Ooh, that's tough. When I started writing I had lots of ideas but found finishing projects difficult. I've got more disciplined about that one, so rather that picking out an individual piece I'd have to say I'm proud every time I finish something.
4. …and which makes you cringe?
Again, no one thing I've written makes me cringe as they're all part of my writing journey. Or maybe they all do. Not sure. What does make me cringe is when I've submitted a story and realise, despite checking it, that I've left a load of glaring and embarrassing typing or grammatical errors in it.
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
Writing fits around my day job- so I have to shoehorn in as much writing as I can. I've had to learn to be flexible. I work on a block of new text if I have an hour. If it's just a short period, I'll plan or edit. I do my initial drafts longhand, which isn't efficient but it helps me to find my groove. I also like being able to organise my writing so that I can scoop what I'm working on into a bag and go out somewhere that I can't be found.
I've picked these as they're online (and free) and hopefully will give you a flavour of what I do.
7. What are you working on now?
I always like to have several things on the go, each in a different stage of evolution. The most complete one currently has the working title of "The Crow Palace" and is about birds and lies.