More Questions . . .

Life caught up with me in the past week, as it so often does, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit back down with this little blog of mine. Anyway, here are a few more questions from the Book Lover’s Club competition, along with my answers. I’ll try to post the rest a little more frequently!

First, Sue Bell asked: What gives you the inspiration to write your book? ‘Madigan Mine’ is about Envy so will your next novel be based on one of the other deadly sins?

My inspiration comes from everything. People I know or have never met, places I’ve been to, things I’ve read or overheard, art, music, silly jokes — almost anything can become grist for the mill. I’m a junk collector of sorts, and carry a whole lot of weird stuff around in my metaphorical pockets until I realise that this piece actually belongs with that piece which goes together with this piece over there, and . . . hey, there’s a story to tell.

I suppose “envy” is a theme in Madigan Mine, although it’s not one that was at the forefront of my mind when writing the novel. Madigan is certainly selfish, and possessive, but I’m not certain whether these character traits stem from envy as much. In any case, my next novel is not based on any particular “deadly sin”. I actually have an unfinished series of short stories (or perhaps it is a mosaic novella) that revolve around the seven sins and seven virtues. It’s unresolved and I’m not sure where the ending is, but I’d like to return to it one day. When I’m not so busy. “Sloth” is certainly not a problem I’m having, these days!

This is from Emma Mercer: What is the biggest impact writing your book has had on you life? Has something you have thought of or written changed your outlook on the world around you?

The writing of the book didn’t really have much of an impact on my life, as I have tended to order my spare time around writing for as long as I can remember. Once the book was sold, and the wheels of publication began, that’s when the real impact kicked in. I’ve had to learn to prioritise my time around my writing to a great extent. Before publication, my writing was — not a “hobby”, I never thought of it as that, but it was something that was positioned somewhere near the middle of my priority list. Study, work, social obligations, family, friends . . . these parts of my life generally had more “weight” when it came to demands on my time. Possibly because I had no official deadline, no formal contract, nothing I could point to and say to myself: “Look, this is really important, you need to say no to all the other stuff people want you to do!” Having sold a book changes that. Having a contract for a second book changes that again. Time management is still not my strongest suit, but I’m getting better.

As to the second part of the question, I think that flows in the opposite direction. A change in my outlook on the world is far more likely to influence my writing, than the other way around. A new discovery, observation, or way of thinking seems to be processed by my brain as “Hey, that would make a good story!”. Writing is often a way to work through ideas and thoughts about the world, or at least that’s how it works for me.

Lastly (for today) Vina Pb wants to know:  What would be her can’t live without desert island books? If she had to choose 3 what would they be?

Which is an awful, awful question. 🙂 Desert Island Books. Hmm. They’d have to be books I would be happy to read again and again and again without getting bored with. Which does actually shorten the list somewhat, as there aren’t a lot of books that I love but which I think would stand up to ten or more readings. So, let’s go with:

  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories by Shirley Jackson
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology edited by Arthur Cotterell & Rachel Storm

These are not necessarily my favourite books in the whole world — although something by Shirley Jackson would be on that list — but for today it’s a selection I’m happy with. And I’m so, so sorry to all my beloved books that are being left behind. 😦

Truly, that was an awful question. I need to go and lie down now.

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