Interview – Palatinate

There are those who might or might not see the city of Durham and its University reflected in the pages of Bug. I couldn’t possibly say, of course. However after a wonderful launch in November of the book at Durham’s St Mary’s College (where I worked), the Durham student magazine Palatinate interviewed me about writing. Here’s a part of what’s just been published.

What do you think are the first steps to becoming a writer?
Don’t get it right, get it written (after James Thurber). The most extraordinary things come out of your subconscious. I think it’s about allowing yourself to write from your emotions and your gut, and not write what you think you ought to write. Writing from the gut meant that I would be sitting at my laptop and suddenly I would realise ‘is that what was happening, that makes complete sense!’ – it happened all the time with BUG. Because I myself must be on a journey as the writer, I must be on a voyage of discovery as well, letting the story emerge organically. If you try to manipulate it, it doesn’t work. It has to flow.

For the rest, go to:

Review – Lothian Life

Nice review by Anne Hamilton at the beginning of the year.

She writes:

“Newburgh is definitely more Oxford/Cambridge than red-brick university and the hierarchies between faculty and students and the so-called ‘town and gown’ are very clear – until the characters start blurring them. Isla, herself, is the person whose role sits somewhat in the middle.

“The setting is strong – the traditional and elite college life being nibbled at the edges by the need to move with the times – and the characters largely engaging and, in some cases, all too realistic. It’s not just a description of campus life either, there are several dimensions to the plot that finally come together…in time to face the now-fabled Millennium Bug.”

A meeting in Bath

Met Suzannah Dunn in Bath for lunch. What a privilege to spend time with someone who is so ready to help me on my writing journey. Mostly I have learned that the small intimate details are what build a story and a character. Also, go easy on the melodrama! And finally, be careful of cliché, as in the old wise woman who offers pearls of wisdom when the protagonist needs reassurance and insight.