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?

JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS TITLE

Leslie Tate writes about searching for a title to his latest novel Love’s Register.

What’s in a Name?

Giving  my novel a title for publication was something I only thought about late on, close to the finishing line.  I’d put it off, mainly because the only way to get to the end was to carry on writing every day – and do nothing else.  Like cycling it was a case of keeping going, head down, or the mental muscles would go flabby.  Practice makes perfect. Continue reading JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS TITLE

A PUNK’S LIFE AS FICTION

Richard Cabut in the 80s

I interviewed prolific musician and novelist Richard Cabut who has published numerous fanzines and books, written for all the major musical magazines, and played bass guitar with post-punk band Brigandage.  Richard’s new novel, Looking for a Kiss, is a post-punk, pop art, acid odyssey. His creative answers cover sex, music, creativity and cultural change. Enjoy!

Leslie: Your new book is called Looking for a Kiss. Tell us about the surface story and the deeper concerns. How would you describe the process of adapting your life to a story? What are the advantages and limitations of this approach? Continue reading A PUNK’S LIFE AS FICTION

ART AND WORDS IN FICTION

Two passages from Love’s Register inspired by famous artworks. Both are from Beth’s diary, written during her illness:

1. It’s the boy falling from the skies who no one sees

Continue reading ART AND WORDS IN FICTION

CELEBRATING THE ELECTRIC CELLO & NEURODIVERGENCE

Jo-anne Cox

Interview with electric cellist Jo-anne Cox about her neurodivergent composition Defiant Journey blending music, activism and storytelling – a piece that transcends “the damming label of Borderline Personality Disorder” to “embrace the intensity, reactivity and exquisite sensitivity, that comes with having more powerful emotions than the norm.”

Leslie: Can you tell us about the electric cello, please. How it differs from the conventional cello in terms of sound, playing technique and characteristic repertoire? Continue reading CELEBRATING THE ELECTRIC CELLO & NEURODIVERGENCE

MARK STATMAN: EXILE HOME, NEW YORK TO MEXICO, PART 2

Marek Statman

In part two of my in-depth interview with international poet and translator Mark Statman I asked about his working methods, his poetry, and the culture of Mexico compared to New York. Mark’s latest collection, Exile Home has been written in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca and Oaxaca de Juárez after relocating from New York.

Leslie: What are your working methods?

Mark: I write all the time. I always have a notebook with me, a practice I started, I think, when I was in college. Continue reading MARK STATMAN: EXILE HOME, NEW YORK TO MEXICO, PART 2

LOVE’S REGISTER IS YUM-YUM!

Books benefit from attractive starters, layered and varied main courses and piquant endings . But although good ingredients help, it’s the treatment that matters. Usually slow, it takes time to prepare and longer to serve up but once digested, a book stays with us for life. Continue reading LOVE’S REGISTER IS YUM-YUM!

MARK STATMAN: EXILE HOME, NEW YORK TO MEXICO, Part 1

Mark Statman

Part one of an in-depth interview with international poet and translator Mark Statman whose recent volume Exile Home is his 10th published collection. Mark, who  has won national arts awards, is Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, NY, and now lives in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca and Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico.

Leslie: You start your new poetry collection Exile Home with an elegy to your father. Thinking personally, as a writer/teacher, how have you experienced father-son culture, in USA? How is it expressed in the contemporary arts? Continue reading MARK STATMAN: EXILE HOME, NEW YORK TO MEXICO, Part 1

DOES FICTION COME OUT OF THE SUPER-PERSONAL?

Leslie Tate asks Where’s the ‘Me’ in my Novels?

On the face of it, everything I write is semi-autobiographical. Even if it’s third-person I can reference some of it to my life. I seem to need some kind of realia to set me going – which can be a remembered phrase or an image from the past. That means, although I try to write outside my experience I find, in the end, only the personal does it.

But this reliance on fact makes me feel at times that my imagination is limited. Of the two types of novelist, adapters and fantasists, I’m with the former. So, in Love’s Register, I’ve drawn on my childhood, my hippy days, my ’80s political activism and my love affair with Sue Hampton, my wife. I’m not the sort of author who reads about something in the newspapers and turns it into story. Continue reading DOES FICTION COME OUT OF THE SUPER-PERSONAL?

Author and Poet