1. I imagine my audience to be people around my age. I like to write stories based on people I’ve met, places I’ve visited and conversations I’ve heard. My writing is about 98% fiction and 2% fact. My areas of particular interest are romance, crime and history. I expect my audience to identify with my experiences or imagined experiences.
2. I used to write with pen and paper but since injuring my hand last year I now rely on my laptop.
3. I know the text books suggest having a specific place for writing but I like to vary where I work according to my mood and, of course, warmth. I have to be warm before I can start writing. In the summer I’ll sit out in the garden but in the winter our kitchen is the warmest place. I recommend writing while cooking, but do make good use of timers to avoid burnt offerings for the family. Our bedroom is one of the sunniest rooms at this time of year, when the sun is low in the sky, it comes streaming in. It is also one of the tidiest and I have to have “tidy,” otherwise I get distracted.
4. I would include all three of these under the umbrella of writing and find it difficult, in particular, to separate editing from writing. I often get carried away enjoying the pleasure of research. The internet absorbs far too much of my time. Editing is hard but necessary and I find it’s the most rewarding. It’s like having all your ingredients assembled and fashioning them into something worth presenting to your reader: discarding, changing, adjusting and polishing to make it as near perfection as time allows.
5. No soundtrack.
6. My favourite author is Margaret Atwood. I can return again and again to her books, my favourites being ‘Cats Eye’ and ‘Alias Grace’. I admire her as a person as she is passionate about environmental issues and Human Rights. She is the writer I would most like to talk to.
7. The first poem I fell in love with was ‘The Listeners’ by Walter de la Mare. We learnt it by heart in primary school and recited it as a class. There is something magical and mysterious about it that really inspired me as a child. I made up stories about the plight of the traveller and the inhabitants of the old house.
8. I like other people’s animals and grew up surrounded by cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs. However, I discouraged them in my own children, knowing they would be something else for me to do. We do have a pond with about thirty goldfish. They are the ideal pets as they mostly look after themselves, happily share their habitat with frogs, newts and have survived the occasional visit from a grass snake or adder. All they require is feeding in the summer months and they are always pleased to see me.