Writers on the MA Creative & Critical Writing and MA Writing for Children students at the University of Winchester share information about their writing lives. Read about our anthology, published in May 2015, the Winchester Reading Series and Winchester Writers' Festival.
What do you write?
I tend to write short stories that have a twist at the end. I love it when people reach the final paragraph of my story and say, “I didn’t see that coming!” I’ve become more drawn to writing historical thrillers too as it gives my writing an anchor of sorts, and makes the unbelievable seem possible.
Pen & paper or computer & printer?
I use my laptop a lot more now, as I find it easier to edit and move things around. There is more freedom to change the piece. Plus my handwriting becomes too difficult to decipher after a while!
Where do you write? Where would you like to write?
I write everywhere and anywhere. At work on my lunch break; sat beside the beach with a notepad; at home with a cup of tea. I always carry a pen and pad around with me just in case. I have boxes of scribbled ideas waiting to be rediscovered.
Which do you enjoy more – researching, writing or editing?
Researching is great fun! I love learning about new things, and immersing myself in history. Editing has become easier over time. It used to be difficult to cut out my favourite lines, but now I understand it’s vital to make the overall piece better. Out of the three though, writing is my favourite thing to do.
Does your Litmus entry have a soundtrack?
All of my writing, and all of the books I have read, have a soundtrack. If I hear a certain song it takes me back to a scene in a book that I have read, even years later. I have a special playlist on my iPod that I listen to when I am writing. It helps me focus.
Favourite author or poet – can you manage just one?
My favourite book of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I read it at school and it really spoke to me. I’ve lost count of how many times I have read it since! There are many other authors I read voraciously – Paulo Coelho, James Herbert, Nicci French – but usually I read books that friends recommend. I don’t want to miss out on something great just because I haven’t heard about the author before.
First book or poem you fell in love with?
When I was small I read a lot of Enid Blyton’s books. The magic and adventure! I wish my own childhood was as fun!
Cat, dog, budgie, bunny or goldfish?
Dog! No other animal has ever been that pleased to see me. Perhaps a goldfish has, but it’s hard to tell.