What do you write? Why this in particular?
Apart from three completed novels, I write short stories. One of the novels, On Hikers’ Hill was awarded first prize some years ago. The top judge was Sir Tim Rice. The book was released as an eBook.
I have had over fifty short stories published in print in anthologies and magazines. Most of these are in the literary fiction genre. But I also write anthropomorphic stories and others based on folklore and mythology.
I particularly enjoy the short story form because I am a great fan and reader of short stories.
What got you started on writing in the first place?
When younger, I spent a lot of time painting and sketching. I have always been creative. But not until I went to college to study literature did I realise that I could express myself far better through words. The act of teaching myself to concentrate on close details as an artist when sketching has, I feel, helped me to become more observant as a writer. My first submission to a writing competition at the age of 23 I won. Since then I have been a serial submitter to writing competitions.
Do you have a particular routine?
As my working week is spent teaching in order to keep the proverbial wolf-pack from the door, I try to get in at least three hours writing every day after work. On Saturdays and Sundays, that extends to five to six hours.
Do you have a dedicated working space?
Preferably at my writing desk in a room that doubles as a small gym. But I can write in other places too.
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
The day I won my first prize. I think it was Stephen King, in his excellent book ‘On Writing’ who said something to the effect that ‘Even if you haven’t yet been published, but are someone who sits down regularly to write, then you’re a writer.'
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?
My family in particular are very supportive. Whenever I’m reading at the launch of an anthology or a magazine, I can rest assured that they’ll come along to support me.
What are you most proud of in your writing?
I like to challenge myself and write from the perspectives of characters that are nothing like me, be it writing from the point of view of the opposite gender, or someone whose character is the antithesis of mine. On my website there’s a review by Mel Ulm of one of my fairy tales. He states that the characters are so believable. That makes me smile with contentment.
How do you get on with editing and research?
Coming up with ideas and getting the words down on the page usually comes quite easily. I then leave the story or manuscript for a few days before editing. Editing is my favourite part of writing.
Do you have any goals for the future?
As a writer with quite a lot of work published in collections alongside other writers, I hope to have my own short story collections published in the three following areas: literary fiction, anthropomorphism, and a collection of Christmas stories.
Which writers have inspired you?
When it comes to literary fiction, the writers to whom I owe a great deal are Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Jack London, John Steinbeck, and Cormac McCarthy. The other styles in which I write have been informed by Oscar Wilde, Hans Christian Anderson, and Richard Adams.
Below is the cover of Boyne Berries in which I have a story included. The Launch date is October 4th 2018
A very enjoyable and informative interview. Thank you Gill and Steve.
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