Tell us one of your first experiences where you realised that language had power.
Probably two possibly contradictory experiences. From when I was 11, I had two longish bus journeys to school. In the early days (when I was punctual!) lots of working men were also on the bus into town. There was a conversation. One was having a mega moan (which I don’t remember). He finished by complaining about the huge amount of income tax he had to pay. His companion replied sardonically with: “I wish I did”. So I was impressed that a few words spoken with humour/irony can have more power and be more thought-provoking than a long, carefully planned piece. Secondly - at school for A Level literature we studied D H Lawrence. Now he’s a wordy writer, but his words are so beautifully evocative that he brings his communities to life and makes the reader understand the world being lived in. That’s really powerful. He upset a lot of people as well by his words, so I suppose that could be seen as his power in action!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would you say?
Don’t listen to nay-sayers who might tell you that it’s all been done before, yours will be new and different, so do it!
Have you ever written under a pseudonym?
No. I want my name known!
What kind of research do you do for whatever it is you’re writing?
Well, it depends. These days, I write mostly poetry. Sometimes for narrative poems, it’s a case of dredging my memories. For topical poems, I’ll check out the back-stories. I’ve written quite a few poems inspired by legends. Google is my unfailing source there!
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of a different gender to you?
I don’t find it difficult - whether I’m successful or not is another matter! I try to think myself into the character's head and situation.
Do you believe in the dreaded Writer’s Block?
Definitely! And then something will trigger an idea and I’m back!