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?

HOW CAN WE LIVE GREENER?

Tamara Evans Braun

I interviewed Tamara Evans Braun about her efforts to limit her impact on the planet, which she discusses on her website ASPIRING GREENER. Tamara, who lives in Bristol, says about herself: “I am a grower, writer, organiser, wanderer, campaigner and mother. I was a scientist for a while but it’s nicer outside.”

Leslie: How has living in Bristol and your past as a scientist shaped your thinking? Continue reading HOW CAN WE LIVE GREENER?

BLIND MARTIAL ARTIST, WORLDBUILDER & DAREDEVIL

Anneliese from the shoulders up leans against a tree in profile. She smiles facing the camera, wearing business attire.

I interviewed Anneliese M. Knop who was born with a  degenerative retinal condition, but whose REAL story is about achieving  a B.A. in Communication Arts and a Master’s in Christian Clinical Counseling while studying a variety of martial arts and making up stories since childhood. Anneliese describes herself as a reader, hiker, swimmer, seeker and space cadet who one day is going to change the world. Continue reading BLIND MARTIAL ARTIST, WORLDBUILDER & DAREDEVIL

MOURNING DOLLS AND MEDITATIVE STITCH Part 2

Cheryl Hewitt – Stitching

In Part 2 of my interview with mixed-media and stitch artist  Cheryl Hewitt she talks about memory and ‘Personal Effects’, her work habits as an artist, and ‘meditative stitching’.

Cheryl says about herself: “When I am not making I enjoy collecting, rummaging in charity shops, exploring forgotten places, foraging for acorns and dye plants, wandering along the river and mudlarking.”

Leslie: Tell us about ‘Personal Effects’. What’s their backstory – where did they come from, what do they get their deep charge from, and how do they shape and remind us of who we are? Continue reading MOURNING DOLLS AND MEDITATIVE STITCH Part 2

MOURNING DOLLS AND MEDITATIVE STITCH Part 1

Cheryl Hewit Doll

I interviewed Cheryl Hewitt about her mixed-media and stitch art inspired by nature and the discarded objects she collects. In Part 1 Cheryl talks about childhood, her use of natural  materials and processes, and her ‘Mourning Dolls’ and ‘Mourning Vessels’.

Cheryl  says about herself: “I employ hand stitching, eco dyeing, reclaimed and found materials to create tangible, often quiet textile forms as metaphors. My most recent work has used doll like sculptures to focus on themes of memory, absence and childhood experience.”

Leslie: How did your early life point towards the creative person you are today? Continue reading MOURNING DOLLS AND MEDITATIVE STITCH Part 1

FROM MEDICAL RESEARCH TO A MENTAL HEALTH EXPOSÉ

Helen Murray Taylor

I interviewed novelist and poet Helen Murray Taylor who talked candidly about her mental health experiences and her related comic/serious debut novel The Backstreets of Purgatory. Helen‘s work has appeared in Boundless Magazine, Product Magazine, Poetry Scotland and as part of the Un(Mother) project at the Brighton Fringe 2021. She currently lives in France.

Leslie: Can you tell us about your ‘previous life’, training as a doctor and working as a research scientist?. How does your ‘rational’ past relate to the two major strands of your subsequent life – obsessive writing and life-threatening mental health issues? In what ways were the two states of mind always present? Does one state shade into the other or are they opposite sides of the same coin? Continue reading FROM MEDICAL RESEARCH TO A MENTAL HEALTH EXPOSÉ

A GRAPHIC NOVELIST SPEAKS

Debbie Jenkinson

I interviewed Debbie Jenkinson whose graphic novels explore the triumphs and frustrations of everyday life. Debbie‘s work includes Remorse, a long-form comic about a girl trapped in a call centre job for ten years and Ghosting; a graphic thriller about a missing Italian chambermaid and a Bus Eireann driver who fears he’s been ghosted.

Debbie speaks about the “magical triangulation” that occurs in comics, between the image, the text, and the reader. “I think our brains take in pictorial information in a different way…a more natural way. There’s something really immersive about reading a comic, that’s different from reading prose…It’s like looking at the world through someone else’s eyes.”

Debbie is the co-founder of The Comics Lab (now a part of Dublin Comics Arts Festival) and board member of Illustrators Ireland. Continue reading A GRAPHIC NOVELIST SPEAKS

ADVENTURES IN WRITING WITH KATE INNES

Kate Innes. Photo by Sarah Ibberson

I interviewed historical novelist, archaeologist, teacher and performance poet  Kate Innes about her writing and her life experiences in Zimbabwe, Connecticut, and now Shropshire, UK. She is the author of two #Arrowsmith medieval novels, a children’s WW2 fantasy, Greencoats and a poetry collection, Flocks of Words.

Kate, who has a deep interest in nature, fairy tales and Greek Mythology, says about her life now, “We live in Shropshire, amongst its tangled forests, ancient hills and lively history; a truly inspiring landscape.”

Leslie: Can you tell a few stories about how your upbringing has shaped who you are + your enthusiasms & interests + what you write? Continue reading ADVENTURES IN WRITING WITH KATE INNES

DILYS FINLAY’S SCHOOL ART

Dilys Finlay

I interviewed Art Specialist Teacher Dilys Finlay  whose exceptional work with the children of  Beecroft Garden Primary School, involving drawing, painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, mosaics and installation, has featured in exhibitions and on London Live TV news. Dilys passionately believes that events like these as well as collaborations with visiting artists have given the children creative confidence.

Dilys studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London, working in adult education before becoming a primary teacher.

Leslie: If I was a regular visitor to your school, what would strike me about the visible and less visible art going on? Continue reading DILYS FINLAY’S SCHOOL ART

Author and Poet