How long have you been writing?
I started writing as a child. Television wasn’t allowed in our home until I was an adolescent, so all my spare time was spent with books and paper on which I tried to emulate the books I’d read. My first ‘novel’ was a mystery. It was handwritten in an exercise book. I was eight and I can't remember what it was about. What I do remember is the joy that it brought my mother who was my only fan at that time and probably remained my best one. It fed my interest in entertaining others through writing.
What motivates you to write?
I don’t generally need a huge amount of motivation to write. I write because I’m compelled to write. I don't remember any time in my life where the written word hasn’t played a part. Even when I faced a life threatening medical condition, I wrote about it as a means of dealing with the event and it lead to my first published non-fiction work. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for publication or not. I don’t try to find publication for all my work. For me, reading and writing tie together; reading feeds my writing. The more I read, the more I write.
In what genres do you write?
My favourite is the short story genre. I enjoy creative non-fiction and many of my short stories are inspired by true events. I also write non-fiction, which I aim to make helpful and entertaining. I have written a number of scripts. I contribute articles and poetry to local publications. The majority of my corporate work was around corporate writing in all its variations. Recently I finished the first draft of a novel. Now the rewrite begins!
Where do you draw inspiration?
Observations, overheard words, life experience, imagination, everyday things. Inspiration comes from anything that leads me to ask, ‘I wonder what the story is behind that?’
Do you use a particular process when writing?
I try to have regular writing routine. I don’t like the word ‘discipline’ because it has developed an unpleasant connotation, like doing something against your will. I'm drawn to and enthused by writing. I have to do a little every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. I hand write three pages of free writing every morning. I write these using a fountain pen. I find that the writer’s tool—pens, paper, computers often produce different styles of writing. I try to vary it and just follow what comes as a result. Some leads to complete projects and some just exercise my writing muscle.
How hard is it to be published?
It depends on who you ask. The publishing world is changing; there are more digital opportunities now in addition to traditional print publishing. The internet allows you to post your work online (although this has its pitfall) and self-publishing is a growing sector. However, you can’t publish anything unless you have finished your piece. The best advice I was ever given was “Do the work.” Finish your work, edit and re-edit, polish it, have the best work you can produce ready to go. Meantime, look up publishers sites for what they expect and comply with what they ask for. There’s no quicker way to the ‘slush pile’ than ignoring the submission requirements.
What’s your next project?
I always have a number of pieces in progress at the one time. Like most writers, I have a bottom drawer full of projects that need to be revisited—novels, scripts and more short stories.