I'm pleased to welcome to my blog today Gail Aldwin.
Gail is a prize-winning writer of short fiction and poetry. She works as a visiting tutor to creative writing students at Arts University Bournemouth. Gail’s new collection of short fiction Paisley Shirt is published by Chapeltown Books. The Kindle Edition can be purchased from Amazon. The paperback will be launched soon.
What do you write?
In short fiction and novels I tend to write about contemporary situations with a focus on the obstacles life presents such as homelessness, family breakdown and ill health. I write for a range of audiences and like to build humour into my monologues and short plays. In the last couple of years I have started to write poetry and enjoy the challenge of capturing moments in time by using just a few words. I believe that writing in lots of different styles cross-fertilises to improve the quality of my writing.
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer?
I have always taken my writing seriously and see it as work rather than a hobby or distraction to fill time, but it has taken years to acknowledge that I am a writer. We have many roles in life from relationships with family members to paid and voluntary employment or educational studies. Although my role as a writer has been a priority, admitting this to others in social and professional contexts was something I avoided. It has always been much easier to say I am a student of creative writing or a tutor in creative writing. It was only upon acquiring representation by a literary agent that I began to tell people of my occupation as a writer.
The offer of literary representation came from a competition entry. Although I did not win the prize or feature on the shortlist, one of the judges liked my work approached me. This came as a tremendous surprise and delight. I was invited to the London office of my agent and taken out for lunch. This affirmation of my writing was sufficient to change the way I viewed myself and I began to value my writing more.
In my employment as a tutor of creative writing, I now make a point of encouraging students to think of themselves as writers and talk about their work. This helps to develop a professional attitude to writing and provides the impetus to become more disciplined and confident in their outlook.
Do you have any goals for the future
When I started writing I was at a crossroads in my career. I realised I was investing far too much time and energy into my paid employment at the sacrifice of a creative outlet. There were two routes I was interested in following: either to become a published writer or to learn Spanish sufficiently well to hold conversations. I took the writing route and although I enjoy the progress I’ve made, I still hope that one day I’ll be not only fluent in Spanish but literate, too.
Which writers have inspired you?
My current WIP is a novel for the adult market written from the viewpoint of a six-year-old boy. This Much I Know gives a child’s eye view of the interaction between adults in a suburban community where a paedophile is housed. The trick in writing from a child’s viewpoint is to exploit the gap in understanding between the child and the actions of adults around them. I learnt a great deal in how to achieve this by reading What I Did by Christopher Wakling. Here six-year-old Billy is smacked by his father when he misbehaves at the park. This is observed by a passer-by who reports the incident and thus the action of the story unfolds. I love the way Wakling plays with language using onomatopoeia, malapropism and other devices to capture the voice of a young child (with very humorous results).
You can find Gail at
Chair DWN: http://www.dorsetwritersnetwork.co.uk
Interesting question – when do you think of yourself as a Writer? In my business career I wrote hundreds of thousands, even millions, of words in minutes and reports, but only when I retired and re-directed myself to Middlesex University on a Creative Writing degree course was there the suggestion that we ‘students’ should consider ourselves as Writers. Since then I have written many short stories and two novels, opting for the self-publishing route. As an older ‘emerging writer’, time is of the essence and agents and publishing houses may not anticipate decades of business ahead.
Gail, the viewpoint of a six-year old in your WIP This Much I Know, is a great, and challenging, concept. I look forward to it on the bookshelves.
Thank you, Gail and Jill James, for the interview.
Chip Tolson www.chiptolson.com
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