We (Chapeltown Books) have just published Alyson's Badlands. In celebration of this event I've invited Alyson to my blog.
What do you write? Why this?
I write in a range of genres and lengths. I began writing poetry and children’s books, because I tutored children I would read my stories to them. In the last few years I have turned to writing Flash Fiction, (stories under 1000 words), much of them are dark in tone. But I also write 3000 word stories, often supernatural; I love M R James, time slip novels and films like ‘The Innocents.’
What got you writing in the first place?
I was a bookish child; who visited the library a lot. When I was recovering from a serious illness in the mid 1990’s I started to write poetry to help myself heal. Telling stories is exciting, engrossing and wonderful escapism. It is life without the boring bits!
Do you have a particular routine?
I am an owl- so much of my writing is done later in the day or into the early hours of the morning. I write/edit/blog/ most days if only for half an hour or so, but sometimes if I am gripped by a particular story I want to tell I will keep going for hours at a time. I like to work to deadlines, they prompt me to finalize a piece.
Do you have a dedicated working space?
I write in the 3rd room in our bungalow, which is more of a nook really. I keyboard my fiction on a p.c. my husband has rehabbed for me, facing a wall covered in pictures and postcards and drawings which are a self made collage representing my interests and overlap with my projects.
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
Interesting question. I think of myself as a writer since my fiction has been published increasingly over the last two years or so and I have given more time to it. I am growing into the title and since I started teaching creative writing classes last year I am identifying myself to the outside world more as a writer.
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you’re doing?
My husband is very supportive. He is my tech. go to guy. He’s delighted I have rediscovered my writing mojo. My son is a typical teenager, but he listens to me maunder on and says ‘Well done mum.’ A couple of my friends are so supportive they signed up to my writing classes! Which is amazing of them. Most are a bit interested and will ask what I’m working on.
What are you most proud of in your writing?
Tough one this- that I have stuck at it for the last few years, of the projects I have completed, that I have improved as an editor of my own work, that I still want to do more. I love my work being published too. I get such a buzz from that.
How do you get on with editing and research?
I have worked hard at improving my proofreading and editing skills, read books, gone online, used editing tools. It is an ongoing journey of learning. I enjoy researching any facts or historical info I need but I was a history teacher in a former life.
Do you have any goals for the future?
Yes I do. I have a blog and I have listed there my goals for 2018! I have short term goals like keeping on writing and getting published. I have long term goals like putting a collection of my ghost stories together and perhaps finding a publisher for my YA time slip novel.
Which writers have inspired you?
Many- from my youth, Penelope Lively and Susan Cooper, Robert Westall; reading at O level poet Wilfred Owen, Liza Cody, Sara Paretsky, Harper Lee, Carol Goodman, Sarah Rayne, latterly Alison Littlewood for her horror /supernatural novels. I think I probably read more women authors than men!!
Click on the picture below to find out more about Badlands.
This is a lovely interview, which scratches the surface of Alyson as a writer and a thinker. I've enjoyed working with her over the past few months and witnessing at first hand her ability not only to write engagingly but to teach the tools of creative writing to others. The creative writing classes Alyson teaches here (The Craft House, Saltaire) are a real pleasure - instructive, joyful and inspiring. I'm proud to know her!
It's wonderful to discover that there's more to my friend than just tea and cake! The writing classes are an inspiration as well as a lot of fun (see the photo above).
It's wonderful to discover that there is more to my friend than tea and cake! The writing classes are inspirational and fun. Thank you for sharing your passion for writing with me.
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