I interviewed author Maggie Richell-Davies about winning the Historical Writers’ Association 2020 Unpublished Novel Award, with The Servant.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.
I interviewed artist Isobel Moore, who says about herself: “I am a visual artist from East Sussex, originally from London. A domestic sewing machine is my tool of choice! I am inspired by colour and pattern, and I enjoy nothing better than finding an unwanted piece of fabric and breathing new life into it by adding it to my work. As well as colourful recycled fabrics, I love using old lace, beads, buttons, and recycled papers like maps and music. I have recently started to experiment with paint.” Continue reading THE ART OF IZZY IN STITCHES→
I interviewed author, philosopher and psychotherapist Lesley Hayes about the differences between the three stages in her creative life. Lesley abandoned a career as a best-selling writer to practise as a therapist, returning much later to writing books and, as a result, embracing a deeper sense of life.
Leslie: Can you describe the difference, please, between the books you wrote from 17 – 37 and those you’ve written after retirement. Why did you return to writing and how have you changed as an author?
Books come out of mindsets. In the case of my new novel, Love’s Register, I grew up as an author while writing it.
When I started, I believed I was producing something spectacular that would make my name and stand the test of time. Now, after 14 years of revision and republishing, I realise that achieving either is beside the point. A book follows its own logic; the writer’s task is to see it through.
I was fortunate to be published by small presses. It allowed me to find my feet as a writer, and at first the book grew as three separate novels. It also meant I escaped the standard big-five ‘heavy edit’. But by the final version, I’d recast everything while adding new characters and storylines. Continue reading IS EVERYTHING WE WRITE A COMING-OF-AGE STORY?→
I interviewed Mary J. Oliver about her debut novel Jim Neat , which uses an original mix of prose, poetry, found documents and photographs to uncover the secret history of her father as a vagrant in Canada. Jim Neatranges across 20th century history, adopting a legal structure to ‘make the case’ for the worth of Jim’s life.
Our archives are a dream-like portal to our unwritten histories – Mary J. Oliver.
For starters, it’s longer than three novels put together. And it’s full-on, exploring the love lives of four UK generations. It also covers the climate emergency and how it affects young people today. It’s ambitious, but very much about the characters.
I interviewed Yorkshire author and broadcaster Julie Noble about her successes in three writing competitions – the Northern Writers Award 2019, Arvon Gold Dust Award and Moniack Mhor Two Roads – and her Radio 4 show ‘My Name is Julie’, in which she interviewed people closely involved with disadvantaged families experiencing Summer Learning Loss because of lockdown.
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