What do you write?
I write a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. My debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink, which was published last year, is a quest novel set in post-Soviet Russia.; I am currently working on a three-book series of thrillers set in Africa, Latin America and Russia.
But I also write short stories and especially flash fiction, both for competitions and for publication in my own collections. I have been in business much longer than I have been a writer; so I also write about the business skills tool box that writers might need. Finally, as editor of my town’s monthly newsletter, I write articles, editorials, anything really that I can’t get anyone else to write.
When and where do you write?
The text book answer is that I write every day; the true answer is that I try to write every day, and succeed about 75% of the time. I am a lark rather than an owl, so can frequently be found at my keyboard from 5.30 am. Ideally I will work for around 4 hours, or until I have written around 2000 words, but when I am editing I spend far more time writing far fewer words - but hopefully more polished ones.
I have a beautiful garden room across the lawn from my front door; it is a delight to write in there when the sun is shining and I can leave the doors open to let in the warmth, the smell of the herbs (and the farmyard) and the sounds of the bees and the stream. But if it’s cold, or wet, or I’ve not bothered to get dressed yet, I write at a corner of the dining room table, or curled up in a squashy armchair. When we are away from home, I write long hand and that can be anywhere - on planes or trains, sitting in bed in a hotel room, or even in a theatre waiting for the lights to go down.
Best writerly moment?
It has to be that a-ha moment a couple of years back when a major plot line for Gorgito’s Ice Rink popped into my head fully formed when I was least expecting it. I was in the choir stalls one Sunday morning, with no access to pen or paper, and I had to try and hold that thought until I could get home and write it down.
Not a lot of people know this...
When I was a child, I was a sprinter and a hurdler, representing the school in regional competitions. I used to run in my bare feet and did so long before Zola Budd made it fashionable. I recently started attending cardio circuit classes and found myself running for the first time in about fifty years. I was surprised and delighted to find I can still do it - although more slowly than before - but I think my hurdling days are behind me.