I have been asked by my friend and fellow writer-cum-blogger Helen Ellwood to participate in a blog chain, in which I have to answer four questions and then send those questions to someone else, thus linking both forwards and backwards to other writers.
Helen writes fantasy and also non-fiction adventure about her own improbably exciting life. She has a three-in-one blog about writing, living with disability, and arts and crafts, which can be found here: http://helenellwood.blogspot.co.uk/
And here are the questions, with my answers:
What am I working on?
At the moment, not a great deal, since my back pain is preventing me from doing much actual writing. My second novel, ‘Forever 27’, has been progressing in fits and starts, and I am hoping to get stuck into it in earnest soon. I am billing it as ‘a tale of sex and death and drugs and magic and rock and roll’. Inspired by the ’27 Club’ of musicians who have died at that age (eg Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison), it tells the story of a journalist with magical powers and her stormy relationship with a rock star who’s convinced he’s doomed to join the club.
How does my work differ from others?
An interesting question. My first novel, ‘The Heartland of the Winter’, currently out on submission with publishers, is a fantasy novel, but one with a story driven by human characters rather than dragons. In it, I explore the impact of a harsh climate on society, and how a young individual copes with being introduced to that society. It’s an imagined world, but I’ve kept the fantastic elements – ie magic – to a minimum. I wanted to create characters the reader could relate to, and push them to the extreme, without giving them any magical get-out-of-jail-free cards. So I think it’s different from other fantasy books because, while the main characters’ situation has supernatural causes, they don’t themselves have any powers or resources which wouldn’t be available to the reader.
‘Forever 27’ is more of a magic realist work, set in the real world (or at least a version of it!). It’s not whimsical, but it certainly has its share of the macabre. Since it’s a work-in-progress, I don’t yet feel quite confident to say exactly what will set it apart, but I can say that at least part of what I’m trying to do is to explore what makes people creative, and how creativity can be used, burned out or even stolen.
Why do I write what I write?
I was initially drawn to fantasy because I enjoy reading it, and because I like having my own little world in my head where I can make up whatever stuff I like to torment imaginary people. If that sounds rather like a kind of mental illness, well that’s probably about right.
I was drawn to write something about the 27 Club firstly because of my love of their music (you can blame my Hendrix-fanatic father for that), and also because I think there’s something very interesting about the way some creative people burn out young and others manage to keep going and going – just look at The Rolling Stones. Founder Brian Jones loses it half way through the 60s, drowns in his swimming pool (at 27), while Mick and Keef just carry on rolling into the 2010s.
How does my writing process work?
I’m not sure I’m organised, or experienced enough to have anything that can really be called a ‘writing process’. I just bash it out and hope for the best.
Link to next writer in the chain to follow soon!