Interviews 2011

Today, for my July 2011 interview, I am pleased to share with you the experiences of fellow Gold Coast Writer John Litchen. He is the author of three non-fiction ‘AIKIDO BASIC AND INTERMEDIATE STUDIES’, ‘ATTRIBUTES A WRITER NEEDS’, ‘CINEMATOGRAPHY UNDERWATER’, a biography ‘FRAGMENTS OF A LIFE’ and two fiction books ‘AND THE WATERS PREVAILED’, and ‘CONVERGENCE – ASPECTS OF CHANGE’. It is a joy to share his writing experience.

Q 1         When did you start writing?

When I was a teenager, a long time ago now, but it was for fun, to see if I could do what my favourite authors at the time were doing.

Q 2         What were your first writing efforts?

Some short articles for a skindiving club newsletter which also included some photos.

Q3          What writing groups do you belong to? At the moment; Gold Coast writers and the Queensland Writers Centre.

Q4          I know you are a Gold Coast Writer when did you join that group?

I don’t remember exactly… perhaps around 2003 or 4.

Q5          Do you think living on the Gold Coast enhances your writing?

Not necessarily. A writer writes wherever they are living and I was doing that in Melbourne long before moving to the Gold Coast. Retiring here has certainly given me more time to write and of course I have taken advantage of that.

Q6          Do you draw from your own life experiences to write?

Doesn’t everyone always do that? That and my imagination are sources, but everything is affected by experience of life, so it is always reflected in writing, or whatever art you pursue. It is not always obvious though…

Q7          Do you derive inspiration from your own family?

I must say yes, since I have written two books of memoirs, and numerous articles for some publications in Melbourne, Tirra Lirra, Metaphysical Review, and *BRG* specifically based on family or personal experiences.

Q8          On your website you have three non-fiction and two fiction books for sale. Do you find these very different in writing techniques?

Not really. Obviously writing fiction is different from non-fiction whatever the genre. The actual writing differs only in that with fiction I try to show what happens either externally or through the eyes and thoughts of the characters, and in non-fiction similar methods are used if it is  a memoir, but if it is a technical book or article than I have to tell very clearly how things work or what has to be done and why, so in effect this is a different way of writing.

Q9          How did you go about getting these books published? Cinematography Underwater was the result of being invited to give a presentation on making movies underwater at a seminar (on underwater photography) in Queenscliff organized by Oceans Enterprises back around 1973. My segment went over very well since I showed a movie of shipwrecks and sharks at Middleton Reef that I had made, and the organizers invited me to write a book, which they published through Australian Sports publications. They were also the publishers of Skindiving in Australia which was the magazine I first started writing for in the late 60s and early 70s. Australian Photography also serialized the book in 3 segments over three issues, which actually paid more money than the sales of the book did.  Convergence was a collection of 4 stories 3 of which had been previously published in West Australia that I collected and added to for publication up here in Queensland. I got Zeus to do that because I knew that publishers hardly ever go for story collections since they sell poorly. But I wanted to see those stories in print in a more permanent form so I chose that way. Aikido – Basic and Intermediate Studies began as a series of classes to be taught at a school on the Gold Coast. The school wanted written and illustrated material for later discussion in class so a 10 week course was prepared. Lots of photos of basic techniques were taken and explanations written to match the photos depicting the various techniques. I had already prepared 80 pages of info etc when the school decided not to go ahead with the course so rather than waste that material and effort I decided to keep going and expand the original 80 pages into a more complete book. It took 2 years of photographing every Sunday morning, then working on the photos and writing the explanations during the following week. I think I took about 6000 photos of which we finished with 1200 along with 120 or so drawings and sketches that went into the book which was now 280 pages. This book was published and paid for by me through Trafford in Canada because they had access to distributing it through Amazon.com and other places in both the US and England. It has been selling continuously since it was published in 2005.

Q10   Do you prefer to self-publish or have you tried the big publishing house system?

I prefer to self-publish if the material is non-fictionThis is because I have aimed those books at a specific market, for example new students of Aikido, or in the case of Attributes a Writer Needs, at writers who are beginning to write and need some general encouragement. For fiction I always try first a commercial publishing house, and if after several efforts I haven’t achieved anything then I will revise, and then consider self-publishing. My novel And the Waters Prevailed was a response to a request for a sequel to one of the stories published in Convergence, but having done the sequel I realized I had to rewrite the original story again and the two became the one much larger book. I decided to self-publish this one also because the waiting period to find out if it was accepted was simply too long and I knew it was worth the effort to have published. It has had moderate success so far but I simply don’t have the means to get out and about to publicise it as much as I would like.

Q11       ‘Attributes a Writer needs’ is on my reference book shelf, was this written as a result of personal experiences to share with fellow writers?

In a way it was. Three of the pieces in that book had been published in professional magazines about writing, and a one of them was reprinted in the Gold Coast newsletter. I did another one for the Newsletter before it became an electronic publication and in both cases the response by members was quite positive. That inspired me to write a few additional articles and compile them into a small book. I designed the cover and had this one printed in Adelaide. I have sold a few copies but it kind of got lost amongst all the many books about writing that are available. I was happy with the result though…

Q12        ‘Aikido’ instructional book has many pictures to show how to do each movement. That book must have been a challenge to produce, how differently did you approach this books production.

This is covered in the answer to Q9.

Q13        ‘Cinematography Underwater’ is clearly another passion you have shared with the world. Are you finding these non-fiction books have a larger market than the fiction books?

In general non-fiction books have a much better chance of finding readers than a novel will. Unless of course you are well known for fiction writing, then perhaps the fiction will sell better.

Q14   I found ‘Fragments from a life’ a very interesting account of your father’s life. What did he think of you writing his life story?

My father had already died when I wrote this memoir, which originally was strictly for the family only. It was written shortly after I moved to the Gold Coast in 1996. It didn’t have any photos in it, but structurally it was much the same. I worked from noted my father left and gave me a year or so before he died, and memories (collectively with my brothers and sisters) of the stories he often related to us when we were younger.(Hence the title Fragments from a Life, because that’s all I had…only fragments…) That I took it one step further and had it printed for general readership was the result of a former member of the Gold Coast writers, Chris Andalis, who loved the story and wanted to translate it into Greek. He did this and the Greek translation won first prize in 2007 from the Agelidis Foundation in Melbourne. I then decided to self-publish it in English and Greek and both these editions have sold very well within the Greek community in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Q15        Do you write with a visual image in mind?

It was written in a form that in my mind replicated opening a family photo album randomly and looking at the pictures. Out of context they don’t mean much, but by the time you have flipped through the album and stopped many times to look at various bits it all comes together in the mind to create a picture of a life lived. That was the idea and that was why the book was structured like that. The follow up book with lots more photos is much more linear in structure, although there are flashback stories from my mother’s early life. Fragments that Remain overlaps the earlier book in parts but is more about myself and my brothers and sisters, growing up in the west of Melbourne, than it is about Dad or Mum.

Q16        Have you travelled widely?

At one stage, yes. I spent 18 months in Europe from April 1964 to the end of 1965. A lot of the time was spent in Germany not far from Stuttgart, but 5 months were spent in Paris while working with a Cuban orchestra as a percussionist. The rest of the time was in England, a couple of months, and in Greece in Athens, and in Yanina as well as on some nearby Greek islands. After coming back to Australia I left again in 1968 and spent a year in Mexico mostly in Acapulco which resulted in a favourably commented on novel called Acapulco Gold which however remains unpublished. On the way back from Mexico I went via the USA, Canada, Germany again, then to East Africa before coming back to Australia from South Africa. Later, much later I went to Bahrain where my brother in law and myself shot s documentary film on fishing in the (Persian) Arabian Gulf. I also went to New Guinea twice. In 1989 I went with my wife and son to the USA, Canada, Mexico again, Argentina and Chile where we stayed for 3 months. I haven’t done much since then other than down to Melbourne and back a few times.


Q17        What are you currently reading?

I usually read a couple of books at a time. Non-fiction during the day, and to relax at night when there is as usual nothing worth watching on TV fiction. My non-fiction book at the moment is one on the history of early maps and how these changed the perceptions of the world which in turn promoted great voyages of discovery, and for fiction I have just finished a Henning Mankell mystery novel, and have just started a book I found in my huge pile of unread books. It’s been there quite a few years there and is a light hearted time travel story called to say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis.

Q18        What are your favorite books?

My reading generally of late has been detective, murder mystery, thrillers and Science Fiction; I don’t particularly like fantasy but I have read a few over the years. I will generally read any novel that attracts me which is well presented, has an intriguing synopsis, and is well written. If I get past the first pages and feel intrigued or curious I will keep reading, otherwise it gets tossed aside because there are simply far too many books to read to waste time on something that doesn’t really grab me.

Q19        Who is your favorite author or authors?

There are too many, and they vary over the years, so this is not a question that can be answered.

Q20        What is your current project?

My current project apart from ongoing newsletters for Aiki Kai Australia is a series of biographical pieces for a friend in Melbourne who publishes them in a fanzine called *BRG*. I’m also in the process of preparing an article for Blitz magazine to promote Aikido and Aiki Kai Australia. I am in effect in between projects and these small things keep the mind ticking over until I start something new.

Q21   How do you go about marketing your books? Marketing is mostly through word of mouth, and promoting the books at meetings such as the Aikido seminars I attend, or the presentations at the Greek Clubs in Melbourne and Brisbane. I also have a limited website presence and the occasional sale comes through there.

Q22       What do you benefit most by networking with fellow writers through Gold Coast Writers meetings, sub groups, compared to the benefits you gain of the media social networking sites?

I haven’t actually done much networking and I’m not a member of any sub group. I do enjoy the meetings and listening to the various speakers and of course the afternoon tea and sandwiches. At this stage I don’t have much to do with media networking sites. I prefer to spend time writing rather than doing too much networking as sometimes that can take over and be the end all to everything.

Q23    Did you create your own website? http://www.johnlitchen.com/books.html

I designed the website, but got Andy McDermott to prepare and upload it. I think it doesn’t do much the way it is and I am considering designing another one that I can do more with sometime next year. I need time to study how to do this first, so we’ll see what happens next year.

Thank you John for sharing your insights with my readers.

June 2011 Interview

My guest author for June is fellow Ten Penner Jill Ford (the other Jill) who has a magical way of telling stories filled with humor, drama and delightful twists. Her ‘Petal’ stories in Fan-tas-tic-al Tales are wonderful. Thank you Jill for being my guest today I enjoy your writing experience in our sub group meetings and am delighted to be able to share your insights with my readers.

 Q 1         When did you start writing?

A.  I have always made up stories. I remember making a little book and taking it to school when I was five.

Q 2         What were your first writing efforts?

A.  Oh, at eleven I wrote a saga. It had everything from brown school dogs to the Prince and the poorper.

 Q3          Do you write mainly for children or have you written for adults?

A.   I have written for every age, my favorite is horror fiction.

Q4          What writing groups do you belong to?

A.   Gold Coast Writers Assoc and the sub group The Ten Penners

 Q5          I know you are a Gold Coast Writer when did you join that group?

A.  Must be about ten years ago I think.

 Q6          Do you think living on the Gold Coast enhances your writing?

A.  Not really, I write anywhere but prefer to work with radio and tv blaring away.  

Q7          When did you become a member of The Ten Penners?

A.  From the beginning, not sure how long we’ve been going.

Q8          Did the experience of writing stories, editing, compiling the collection for Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, and getting these to publication help you grow as a writer?

A.  Not really, but, I enjoyed the experience.

 Q9          Do you draw from your own life experiences to write?

A.  Doesn’t eyeryone?

Q10        Do you derive inspiration from your own family?
A.  Sometimes

Q11        Have you travelled widely?

A. If emigrating from England then returning home and coming back again counts, yes.

Q13        Your stories, character names, are often fairytale like or magical. Where do you get these ideas from?

A  You’ve got it in one from fairyland, 

 Q14        Do you find with your health issues that writing is therapeutic?

A.  Definitely, I can lose myself in a different world.

 Q15        What do you benefit most by networking with fellow writers through Gold Coast Writers meetings, sub groups, compared to the benefits you gain of the media social networking sites?

A.  Mixing with other nuts is a great help.

Q16        What are you currently reading?

A.   Oh, I’m re-reading Agatha Christie once again, can’t get too much of a good thing, hey!

Q17        What are your favorite books?

Anne of Green Gables, Oliver Twist.

 Q18        Who is your favorite author or authors? A.  James Patterson, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens

Q19        What is your current project?

A.  A teen novella approx 31,000 words, combing horror with history.

Q20        Do you write with a visual image in mind?

A.  All the time I’m there with my fantasy children.

Thank you so much for being my guest author this month. Happy writing! Jill (the other Jill)

Interview with Cath Crowley ©April 2011, author of six young adults books so far, please enjoy the responses to my questions. Her webpage is http://cathcrowley.com.au/

Thank you for being my guest interview on my blog.  It was a delight for me to meet you at Somerset Literary Festival and to share your passion for writing.

Q 1 When did you start writing?

I studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT in 2001, when I was about twenty-nine. I loved the subjects Literary Non-fiction and Writing for Young Adults. I was able to have some of the articles and short stories that I wrote in class published – in newspapers and magazines. While I was writing smaller pieces I finished my novel and in 2003, Pan Macmillan published The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain. I think the journey after publication was harder for me than the journey post publication. After I was published I had to work hard to get better – I’m still working hard at this. And it took me a while to find my style. I think I’m getting close to that in Graffiti Moon. That book has sold overseas, as has A Little Wanting Song (Chasing Charlie Duskin).

Q 2 What were your first writing efforts?

My first efforts were mainly biographical. I moved from that to literary non-fiction articles. I started my young adult novel in Clare Renner’s class, and from that point I wrote almost exclusively in that genre. The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain was my first published YA novel.

Q3 Do you write mainly for children or have you written for adults?

I write for children and young adults. Some of my shorter fiction is for adults, but I have no plans to write anything other than YA. I love the genre.

Q4 What writing groups do you belong to?

I don’t belong to any writing groups. I have two writers who read my work, and talk to me about my plot and characters. My niece and my editor are usually the ones to read my first draft. I don’t show anyone before that.

Q5 On your blog you say you travelled, and wrote letters to your brother that you turned into a musical called ‘The Journey Girl’. Have you written any other musicals or plays?

No, I haven’t. And really, my brother wrote that one. It was based on my letters but he did all the crafting.

Q6 Did this become a production that was the catalyst for you deciding to write full time?

The production made me think about the idea of writing for a living, but it wasn’t the catalyst. I don’t think there was one thing that pushed me towards writing. It was a combination of things: seeing my students write in class and wishing I had the time to do the same, knowing that I loved story and words and wanting to give myself some time to learn about those things.

Q7 Where did you travel?

I was based in London, and from there I travelled around Europe.

Q8 What newspapers and magazines have you been published?

The Age, Hecate, Family Circle… When I started writing I sent off my work everywhere and anywhere.

Q9 Do you write short stories or articles for these publications?

I did write articles and short stories that I was lucky enough to have published. Now I only write short stories if I’m asked to submit to an anthology. I don’t have a lot of time or headspace while I’m working on my novel.

Q10 Do you draw from your own life experiences to write?

I do draw in life experiences when I write. The things that interest me go into the novel. Graffiti Moon is about art and poetry, love and friendship, outsiders trying to find a place. Those are things I’m interested in, so they come up in most of my stories. In terms of characters, I often meet a person who gives me an idea. It’s not the actual person who goes into the book, but what I imagine the rest of them might be like.

Q11 Do you derive inspiration from your own family?

My nieces and nephews help me out with ideas. They read my books for me, which is a big help.

Q13 Your stories character names, where do you get these names from?

Mostly they come from my imagination. Or I might meet a person who has a great name and I write it down, thinking I’ll use it one day. Charlie Duskin’s surname came about because I knew she was a girl who was caught between the end of the day and night.

Q14 At Somerset you said you were shy but you interacted with the kids on their level well. Is this something you picked up from being a teacher?

I guess because I feel shy on stage, it makes me feel at ease to talk to kids as if I were just having a conversation with them. That is what I’m doing, it’s just sometimes it’s a conversation between two hundred kids and me. Also, I’m aware that these teens I’m talking with are my audience. And it’s a great chance for me to find out some things that will help me with my books. So I try to put the nerves aside and make the most of that chance.

Q15 What are you currently reading?

Big River, Little Fish by Belinda Jeffrey. I’m loving it. She writes beautifully.

Q16 What are your favorite books?

My absolute favourite YA book is Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Q17 Who is your favorite author or authors?

There are so many and they change according to what I feel like reading. I love Helen Garner, John Green, David Levithan, Peter Temple, Jonathan Safran Foer, Pat Barker and Tim O’Brien. Also Fiona Wood, Tim Pegler, Simmone Howell, Kirsty Eager and Gabrielle Williams.

Q18 The pictures of you as a girl on your blog are really cute. Do you write with a visual image in mind?

I see everything I write – I can clearly see the streetscape and the characters in Graffiti Moon and the country town that Charlie Duskin visits in Chasing Charlie Duskin. If I couldn’t see and hear the scene, it would be hard for me to write it.

Q19 How do you plot and plan your books?

I start from character. I write as them for a long time, maybe six months. In that time I spend more time walking or visiting interesting places than I do in front of the computer. Basically, I go out and gather ideas. But at about the one-month mark I’m also trying out first scenes. I’m writing any scene that drops into my head. I do a rough sketch of it and so the book is really this document that’s in pieces. I shift those pieces around, I’m aware that I’ll lose a lot, but I try not to second-guess myself. After about six months I go back and re plot. I’m re-plotting and rewriting and playing around with different voices the whole time. And then I hit a point where I’m close to the finishes voices. I sit down with a friend, and I talk through the plot and the motives and the themes and the imagery. I make sure these are clear in my head. Usually then I write the whole book, realise it’s not the story I want to tell, throw it out and start again. At that point, the book only takes a few months to write.

Q20 Do you have a regular workspace and schedule you stick to for writing?

I have a space to write in my home, but I do a lot of my writing while I’m walking. I think out a scene and then go somewhere to write it down. I get up at about 4 or 5 am and I try to get in five hours of writing. That way, I know I’ve done what I need to do for the day. Sometimes I do more but often in the afternoon I have to do administration work.

Q21 Do you find Writers Festivals like Somerset inspiring for you and a learning experience from fellow authors and the audience?

I do. This festival is quite amazing. I met a lot of writers and I was able to hear them talk about their craft. This inspired me and gave me a push to keep writing my novel. I met a lot of talented students too. And they inspired me with their love of fiction and their talent for it.

Q22 Are you working on your next project?

I’m working on a book called The Howling Boy. It’s a dual narrative, told from the perspectives of Rachel and Crow. It’s a mystery and a love story.

Thank you so much Cath, for sharing your perspective on writing and your journey. It was a delight for me to meet you at Somerset Literary Festival and to share your passion for writing. For readers of my blog who want to know more about Cath go to http://thecanarytree.blogspot.com/

I hope you enjoyed this experience as much as I did.

Jill Smith

 

Interview with Kate Russell © January 2011 

 Q 1         When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved reading, but I really started writing at around 18.  I was studying at TAFE (Secretarial Studies –I got an Honours Certificate!) and learning to type.  I found typing liberating as I’ve always hated my handwriting.  Sometimes I have trouble reading it myself!  And I can type pretty fast too  much faster than I can write!

 Q 2         What were your first writing efforts?

My friend, Isa, and I were at TAFE together.  We wrote these pretty terrible romantic short stories, starring us and heroes who looked suspiciously like Tom Selleck in “Magnum P.I.”!  We managed to include just about every cliché known to man.  I’ve still got the stories and they are pretty funny to look back on.

 Q3          Do you write mainly for children or have you written for adults?

I do both.  I have several short stories for children and am working on a young adult fantasy novel featuring my teenage witch character, Kylie Cooper.  I also have a work in progress for adults which is a comic mystery novel, in the vein of Janet Evanovich.

 Q4          What writing groups do you belong to?

Gold Coast Writers Association (and of course, The Ten Penners), Queensland Writers Centre and Sisters in Crime.

Q5          I know you are a Gold Coast Writer when did you join that group?

I think it was soon after I moved to the Gold Coast, so 2001 or 2002.

Q6          Do you think living on the Gold Coast enhances your writing?

I love living on the Gold Coast.  I think if you are happy where you live then it enhances everything you do, writing included!

Q7          When did you become a member of The Ten Penners?

2007, I think.  You are really testing my memory here, Jill!

Q8          Did the experience of writing stories, editing, compiling the collection for Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, and getting these to publication help you grow as a writer?

Definitely.  One of the most valuable lessons I learned from that experience was that I could write to a deadline.  Now I just need to give myself more deadlines!  Also it was a chance to bond with a group of wonderfully talented Gold Coast women writers.  Not that I’m biased or anything!  And it was pretty exciting to hold a “real” book with my stories in it in my hot little hand!  I saw a copy in the local library one day and wanted to jump up and down and say “That’s MY book.  Mine!  Mwaa haa haa.” Or maybe not.  It was pretty exciting though to see it next to all those other “real” books by“real” authors!

 Q9          Do you draw from your own life experiences to write?

Sometimes.  For example, the character in my adult novel, Billie Maxwell, suffers from migraines, just like I do.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Why should I have to suffer alone?  I might give her Coeliac Disease too, just for fun!  Then she can agonise over not being able to eat toast and Vegemite just like I do!

Q10        Do you derive inspiration from your own family?

I’ve never really thought about that.  I guess I do, though.  It’s useful having two teenage daughters as they are the age group I like to write for, so I can use them to get the slang right and also to see if what I write about is at all interesting to them.  They are both very different personalities so the things they do and say sometimes find themselves in the teenage characters I create.  Also, as I come from a family of five children, my characters are never “only” children.  I don’t know what that’s like!  Someone is usually divorced too, another thing from my own life. I suppose to a certain extent every writer subconsciously uses their own experiences in their writing  after all, you are who you are!

 Q11        Have you travelled widely?

I’ve been to New Zealand.  Does that count?  I’ve also lived pretty much all over Australia –Melbourne, Grafton, Alice Springs, Adelaide and now the Gold Coast.  My father was British so I’d love to travel to England one day.

Q13        Your stories, character names, are often fairytale like or magical. Where do you get these ideas from?

I have a couple of baby name books which I dig into for character names.  There are some pretty exotic names out there!  The Internet is also a good source for fantasy names.  I also love to read fantasy novels for all ages so I guess that influences me too.

 Q14        Do you find blogging a catalyst for writing more?

I like blogging but sometimes I spend too much time blogging and not enough time writing!  One of my favourite writing quotes is“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet” by that great man (woman?) Anonymous!

Q15        What do you benefit most by networking with fellow writers through Gold Coast Writers meetings, sub groups, compared to the benefits you gain of the media social networking sites?

I like networking face to face.  Writing can be lonely.  Speaking to other writers, listening to other writers, knowing what can be achieved:  that’s all inspiring and gives us all hope.  Social networking sites are great for different reasons  you can contact writers you wouldn’t normally have access to and the Internet has so much information freely available.

Q16        What are you currently reading?

“The Well of Lost Plots” by Jasper Fforde.  It’s the third in a series.  His protagonist is a literary detective called Thursday Next who lives in an alternate 1985.  Characters in the books can time travel and zip in and out of books, interacting with the fictional characters.  Dodos, woolly mammoths and even Tasmanian Tigers are no longer extinct – Thursday has a pet dodo called Pickwick!  It is a brilliant, funny, fantasy series.  I highly recommend it.

 Q17        What are your favorite books?

There are so many!  The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Inkheart, Artemis Fowl, all the Harry Potters, The Borrowers,Mortal Engines, Northern Lights, One for the Money, A is for Alibi, The Shifting Fog, The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, Stardust… I read pretty widely so could go on and on!  And the best thing about my favourites is that most of them have sequels! 

Q18        Who is your favorite author or authors?

Again, so many!  JRR Tolkien, Cornelia Funke, Eoin Colfer, JK Rowling, Mary Norton, Philip Reeve, Philip Pullman, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Kate Morton, Jasper Fforde, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Reay Tannahill, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris…

Q19        What is your current project?

I’m currently working on my adult mystery novel and my young adult fantasy novel (both mentioned above).  And trying to complete my Ten Penners homework before the next meeting!

 Q20        Do you write with a visual image in mind?

I usually start with a vague idea  not a visual image as such.  I think that characters are the most important thing in a novel or story  because if I’m reading and I don’t engage with the characters then I can’t go on with the book.  I have to care about what happens to them.  It’s the same when I write something.  It usually starts with the character and what trouble I can get them into!

 Thank you so much for joining my blog. I’ve enjoy being a Ten Penner and your stories at our meetings are inspirational, witty and humorous.  It’s always a pleasure to chat to you and I hope readers of this blog will be glad they took the time to read this interview.

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