Jane Charles

I interviewed textile artist Jane Charles, whose quilts have been chosen for major displays at the National Exhibition Centre and around Europe. Jane teaches creative textiles to adults and children and has had several major commissions, including projects for New Bradwell School, Orchard Academy and the giant-sized Wolverton Quilts.

Leslie: As a textile artist, can you describe your materials, methods and the range of artworks you produce, please? How did you first learn and develop your skills? Continue reading A LIFE IN QUILTS AND CREATIVE TEXTILES


Amy Zamarripa Solis

I invited writer and producer Amy Zamarripa Solis to guest blog about the ‘City of Culture’ arts-led type of regeneration seen recently in Margate, Folkestone, Liverpool and Brighton. Amy responded with a piece about the new Eastbourne Devonshire Collective venues where she is a key player. Amy also runs the arts organisation Writing Our Legacy and her own arts management / production company This Too Is Real.

Amy writes:

‘Arts-led regeneration is a tough subject in the UK these days. Not just because of austerity, Brexit and shrinking local authority budgets. Continue reading ARTS-LED REGENERATION – TOP DOWN OR BOTTOM UP?


By Leslie Tate

I write reflectively about relationships and the crazy powers of the untrained mind. It’s a creative method that Sanford Meisner called, ‘Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances’.

When asked about my target audience, I usually quote Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Write to please just one person’. Continue reading LIVING TRUTHFULLY UNDER IMAGINARY CIRCUMSTANCES


The three colours of the ‘Lavender Blues’ trilogy; Purple, Blue and Violet.

As an author, I know that words are never neutral. They all have their colours. I also know that when you name colours in a story, they stand out. So some characters can be identified by their hair colour or eye colour or a piece of coloured clothing whenever they appear.

Colours give a book energy. They have speed while words have mass. But working with them is similar. Both require attention to detail, careful placing, and may need thinning out or thickening in places.

So I use them and edit them and switch them around – and sometimes when I reread my work I feel that a passage or whole chapter is colour-coded. Continue reading COLOURS AND THE STORYMAKER’S DREAM


Leslie Tate

As a transvestite I used to believe in ‘the woman within’. I felt, when I cross-dressed, closer to my ‘feminine side’ – though what I experienced was more a release of pressure, a kind of pleasurable lift as if I was walking out after being indoors for a month. ‘Relief dressing’ was good for me; it increased my sensitivity, making me softer, calmer and more alive. And to dress in front of others required a special kind of ‘tuning out’, a deliberately-willed blindness where I didn’t ask questions. I was on display but chose not to know it. Though, of course, I was vulnerable. It was as if I’d been turned inside out, with all my feelings on show. And it was that exposure that both set me apart and made me strong.

This is the longer version of a blog appearing on ‘Mind, Pen and Spirit’, run by KAREN INGALLS. Karen is an author, blogger, advocate and winner of the Rave Review Book Club Top Reviewer Award for 2016.

My position was simple. I believed I was being more honest than the other men, the straight guys, who had the same feelings but were afraid to show them. In my private imaginings they were the stern men of action who kept at a distance and always wore a mask. But my attempts to pull rank didn’t get far. The men I had in mind simply shrugged their shoulders and carried on with their business, remarking casually that it didn’t bother them. Perhaps I wanted a reaction, a kind of reverse validation where they showed their dislike, or told me I was being stupid. Continue reading CROSSING THE GENDER LINE


Esther Wane

I interviewed Esther Wane, who is the voice reading several well-known audiobooks – including Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series, several of Jill Mansell novels,  Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan and The Wild Other by Clover Stroud. Esther is trained actor with her own recording studio in Herts, UK. I met Esther there while recording my own voiceover for Heaven’s Rage, the film of my book. I asked Esther about her career: beginning in finance, going on stage and finding her vocation as a voiceover artist.

Leslie: Can you tell us how your work in voiceover began and developed? What have been the stand-out moments on the way? Continue reading MEET ESTHER WANE, VOICEOVER ARTIST


Beth Copeland in Kyoto, Japan.

I interviewed Pushcart Prize nominated poet Beth Copeland about her multi-cultural background, the film of her poetry and the numerous awards she has received from Bright Hill Press, Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, New Millennium Writings, North American Review, and The North Carolina Poetry Society. Beth’s latest volume Blue Honey includes strikingly personal poems dealing with her parents’ memory loss and has won the 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize .

Leslie: Can you tell the story behind your interest in ‘fusing Eastern and Western themes and sensibilities, a hybrid culture I attempt to create in my work’? Continue reading BETH COPELAND’S EAST-WEST POETIC JOURNEY


The extract below, taken from my new novel ‘Violet’, is connected to a childhood memory.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote about his picture, Proserpine: ‘She is represented in a gloomy corridor of her palace, with the fatal fruit in her hand. As she passes, a gleam strikes on the wall behind her from some inlet suddenly opened, and admitting for a moment the sight of the upper world and she glances furtively towards it, immersed in thought. The incense-burner stands beside her as the attribute of a goddess. The ivy branch in the background may be taken as a symbol of clinging memory.’
When she was fourteen Beth became Saffron. “Call me Saf,” she said to Meg, examining an art book spread across her bedroom floor, “or Saffy. Saffron if you have to.” 
 Her friend turned a page. “Saf’s best,” she said, pausing at a print of a raven-haired woman with one hand wrapped around a pomegranate. 
 “You like it?”
 Both girls stared at the picture. The woman was red-lipped, blue-eyed, wearing a loose, grey-green robe. Her skin was smooth and pale as water.
 “Why Saffron?”
 “It’s a girl in a book.”
 “Like her?”
 Beth shook her head. “One of my gran’s books. She wrote it, about Saffron.”
 “Your gran wrote books?”
 Beth confirmed. “For children,” she added, “with girls dancing and poetry.”
 “Were they fun?”
 “Jolly – or meant to be.” 
 Meg bent forward peering at the picture. “But not jolly.” The long-necked woman in the art book was gazing at smoke rising from a burner. Her double-jointed hands were artist-thin and wasted. Behind her the light from a window spread across some ivy on a wall. 
 “Supposed to be. But sad… very sad to me.”
 “Don’t say that.”
 Suddenly Beth was crying. 
 Meg placed her hand on her friend’s wrist. “You loved your gran.”


Author and Poet