A piece about how the writer’s imagination works, using examples from my recently published novel, Love’s Register.
My thoughts about writing Love’s Register begin with the image of the novel as a house of cards. What I see is an interlocking structure where each word has to be added carefully, judging how much weight it can bear. If the words hold together they support each other, if they don’t the whole caboodle comes tumbling down.
But to keep up that balancing act all the way is difficult. It’s a long hard journey and a well-judged finish – whether it’s a denouement or a reveal – can make all the difference. It’s what I look for when I read with a novelist’s eye, comparing the quality of the first and last chapters. Continue reading BOOKS AS SPORT, ARTWORKS, WORDSEARCH, CARD TRICKS?→
I interviewed embroiderer, book artist and printmaker Annwyn Dean about how she uses antique textiles, “… to draw the viewer into the piece to consider the history of the designer, maker and wearer of the textile.” Annwyn‘s exceptional Collagraph-printed books also make the connection, “… between the viewer, myself the artist and the original fabric, so encouraging consideration of the original textile and its history.” Continue reading TELLING THE STORY BEHIND ANTIQUE TEXTILES→
I interviewed mixed-media artist Debbie Lyddon who uses all her senses to create artworks informed by memory, close observation and the rhythms of nature. Other themes in Debbie‘s extraordinary work are remoteness, impermanence and the effects of sound, stillness and silence. As well as cloth, Debbie’s materials include salt, bitumen, wax and varnish – all drawn from her coastal surroundings at Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. Continue reading A SENSE OF PLACE IN ART→
Performance poet Emma Purshouse, winner of poetry slams and the Rubery Book Award, is also a novelist and voice for the working class. Emma talked to me about her stage shows, her performances for children and her community projects. Emma says about herself: “I love the Black Country, it is part of me and I’m part of it, and therefore it’s always at the heart of the things I write.”
I interviewed Maria Walker whose stitched work and sculptures tell stories about working class people and the secrets of the human body. The materials she uses can range from embroidering fine silks onto linen napkins, to stitching car tyres with thick rope and copper piping. These process-led techniques, together with academic research, underpin Maria‘s large-scale, abstract sculptural work and her organic looping structures.
Leslie: What’s unusual and original about your stitched work and sculptures, please?
Maria: I’d like to think that all my work is original, as my inspiration comes from my research and how I react the world on a personal level. I have my own artistic language, which I use to create my art and this is like my handwriting. However the truth is, there will be other artists who have similar interests to me, they may have read the same books and may be doing similar things with similar materials, so perhaps nothing is entirely unique. Continue reading SLOWSTITCH, TEXTILE SCULPTURES AND PAST LIVES→
When I started Love’s Register, although the book covers 100 years of family relationships, it didn’t occur to me that I was writing a historical novel. So why didn’t I see what I was doing? Partly because I took it for granted that stories in past tense come from memory, and partly because characterisation (together with language) is my starting point. As a Modernist author I’m less driven by story, more interested in individual and group psychology. In fact, my characters often know more about what will happen next than I do. So to keep my creative freedom, I set out to write social history, avoiding known events or famous people. Continue reading IS HISTORICAL FICTION FACTUAL OR SPECULATIVE?→
In this interview with CR Dudley she talks about her independent press Orchid’s Lantern, which specialises in crossovers between the arts and “… a range of short fiction, articles and reviews of the unusual.” CR Dudley also talks about Thelema, Jung, and her creative methods as a writer and artist.
Leslie: Can you describe how ‘the unusual’ reveals itself in your different literary and artistic projects? What was the life process from childhood onwards that led to you choosing this creative genre? Continue reading REVIEWING THE UNUSUAL→
I interviewed Tamsin Abbott who has been producing innovative stained glass for the last 20 years, as featured on BBC TV’s Countryfile and in Country Living magazine. To reach her current level of expertise, Tamsin studied stained glass and illustration for several years. She then invested in a kiln and studio at her rural Herefordshire home, where she still lives and works with her husband and chair-maker, Mike.
Leslie: As a stained-glass artist and illustrator, can you describe your themes, influences and inspirations, please?
Tamsin: As a child I was always torn between words and pictures and imagined that one day I would write and illustrate my own books. After A levels I completed a degree in English Studies, specialising in medieval literature and immersed myself in the enchanted land of chivalric romance. Continue reading THE ART OF STAINED GLASS→
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