BOOKS AS SPORT, ARTWORKS, WORDSEARCH, CARD TRICKS?

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?

SARAH BAYS PRINTMAKER

Sarah Bays: A Blanket of Snow – linocut

I interviewed artist Sarah Bays about her drypoint Intaglio prints, monotypes and lino cuts. Sarah says about herself, “I am a printmaker living in Norwich producing prints from a small etching press on a tea trolley in the corner of my dining room… I am often inspired by my morning dog walks, the pattern of light through the trees and the shadows cast by the morning sun.”  Continue reading SARAH BAYS PRINTMAKER

REBELLING FOR LIFE

Rebelling for Life – Sue Hampton

Interview with Sue Hampton about her latest book Rebelling for Life, endorsed by Emma Thompson, who said: If you want to read words from the heart of a true activist, understand the real connection between depression and climate crisis and connect with the natural human instinct to rebel, read this beautiful and moving book.”

Leslie: As a reader, what am I going to carry away with me from your new book, Rebelling for Life?

Sue: I hope my poems and prose place you on the road, at the vigil, in a lock-on tube, a police cell and a courtroom, but I aim to share insights as well as experience. I hope readers will carry away the truth that the climate and ecological crisis is so huge and pressing that we can’t leave it to others to fix. Continue reading REBELLING FOR LIFE

CATRIN OSBORNE: DIRECTING THEATRE/CIRCUS, Part 2

Catrin Osborne‘s Miss Havisham stilt costume

In part two of my interview with theatre/circus director Catrin Osborne, we talked about her stilt walking, her portraits of menopausal women, her creativity, neuro-diversity and winter swimming. In addition, as director of Osborne and What, Catrin has produced some spectacular stage adaptations of groundbreaking books.

Leslie: What are the other notable Osborne and What projects (for instance stilt walking and menopausal women)? How do you begin, grow and develop ideas as an individual and as a company?

Catlin: Walkabout stilt gigs in costume were something I started to do in circus. There are events and festivals and all sorts of street theatre stuff you can do and get paid for as a freelance performer. I love my Miss Havisham stilt costume – made by designer Ilona Karas – because I get to be old and weird! Continue reading CATRIN OSBORNE: DIRECTING THEATRE/CIRCUS, Part 2

CATRIN OSBORNE: DIRECTING THEATRE/CIRCUS, Part 1

Catrin Osborne

I interviewed theatre/circus director Catrin Osborne of Osborne and What about her spectacular stage adaptations of groundbreaking books. Catrin describes herself as a: “Neuro-diverse artist & writer, winter swimmer and dog lover.”

Leslie: Why do you call your theatre/circus company Osborne and What?

Catrin: I wanted to use my surname and I like the idea of “What” like whatever, or what? So it leaves possibilities open for the kind of work the company can make. As my MA was in performance design in the loosest sense of the word, I trained with visual artists, choreographers, writers, set designers, and directors. Continue reading CATRIN OSBORNE: DIRECTING THEATRE/CIRCUS, Part 1

STEM SPARK AUTHOR & THE INCLUSIVE ART OF SCIENCE

Suzie Olsen gives a nod to the first software engineer

Systems engineer Suzie Olsen is a children’s author who performs various science, technology, engineering, art and math experiments with her family. Through her books and her website, Suzie aims to, “show children, especially girls and minorities, that maths is fun” and to “spark their curiosity” in both the arts and the sciences.

Leslie: Can you give examples, please, of what you do as a systems engineer? What’s exciting and challenging about this work? Continue reading STEM SPARK AUTHOR & THE INCLUSIVE ART OF SCIENCE

DISABLED ‘ARTIVIST’ MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

Cina Aissa

I interviewed Cina Aissa, who is is a multimedia artist, musician and storyteller, using the gifts of neurodivergence and disability to make the world a better place. Cina says about herself, “I currently live in London where I’m kept busy separating my fighting cats.”

Leslie: What are the most important personal stories that lie behind your self-description as a ‘disabled artivist and migrant’ please? How have these experiences shaped your core values? Continue reading DISABLED ‘ARTIVIST’ MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

WHY WRITE?

Leslie reading at a Milton Keynes Foodbank Event, photo by Ashra Burnham

Leslie Tate asks: What is the Purpose of Writing?

When I interview authors on my blog I sometimes ask them: “Why write?” But big questions like that can be counter-productive. Like speculations about the existence of God, they tend to produce standard one-liners. “Because I have to,” is one answer I often get – leaving me wondering what drives some authors to write and write, regardless of audience. Another is, “To say something,” which can mean issue-led writing or it can be simply a record of experience. What some authors specialise in is spinning tall tales and executing amazing plot twists, while others are entertainers who give their readers what they want. A variant on that is the ludic author who does it for fun, playing games with a genre or format. There’s also the author who sets out to punish their characters to see what they’re made of. Finally, some writers simply say, “I do it for myself.” Continue reading WHY WRITE?

THE COMPASSIONATE HISTORICAL NOVELIST

Maggie Richell-Davies

I interviewed author Maggie Richell-Davies about winning the  Historical Writers’ Association 2020 Unpublished Novel Award, with The Servant. Maggie says about her book: “It was inspired by a visit to London’s Foundling Hospital Museum, with its heart-breaking stories about the tokens desperate women left there in the hope that they might, one day, be able to reclaim their child.”

I also asked Maggie, who has been shortlisted for the Bridport Flash, Olga Sinclair and Joan Hessayon Awards, about what it’s like to be a first-time published author late in life.

Leslie: Can you explain what you mean by, “…my link with the north-east is reflected in my author name: Maggie Richell-Davies.” Continue reading THE COMPASSIONATE HISTORICAL NOVELIST

Author and Poet