Today’s guest is a prolific short story writer who is currently working on her first novel. Please welcome Gail Aldwin who blogs at The Writer Is A Lonely Hunter
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve dabbled with writing several times and I studied for an MA at Sussex University which involved writing a travel book about the pilgrim route across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Every time I seemed to be getting somewhere with my writing, life intervened in the form of pregnancies, additional work responsibilities, or moving house. I started writing again three years ago, when the promotion I’d set my heart on didn’t come through and my colleague was appointed. To save myself weeks of reliving the interview and to contain my envy, I began to write a book about back-packing in Australia. I joined a writing group which kept me focussed and I’ve now drafted on my third manuscript. Like many people, I always thought there was a book in me and because I don’t consider myself to be articulate, writing gives a form of expression that enables me to be spontaneous and fluent. I write because I find it hard to talk about the themes I want to share, issues around racism, alcoholism, domestic violence and homelessness. It all sounds very bleak but my characters are resilient.
What genre do you write in?
My novels fall under the category of contemporary women’s fiction. I’d like to move into literary fiction but my writing style will need some improvement to make the transition. I also write flash fiction, complete stories in anything from 75 words up to 1000. I love flash fiction, it’s like an antidote to the slog of completing a novel and I’ve had a few successes in getting work published. You’ll find my stories on line at websites such as Paragraph Planet, Five Stop Story, and Cafe Lit. I also write a regular column for What the Dickens? Magazine that answers writers’ questions.
Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I write every day, getting up early in the morning to commit a couple of hours. On days when I’m not working, I also spend a good part of the day at my computer. I watch very little television and that frees up time in the evening for writing.
What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I like writing in a quiet space. I’m not sure what the best writing environment is – I haven’t experimented with this. We have a family study that I share with everyone except my daughter who likes working in her bedroom. My husband and son play games on the desktop and I write on a notebook. Sometimes we sit alongside each other but that’s only possible when the headphones are in use. When I can’t stand the distraction, I work at the kitchen table.
Who inspires you?
A couple of years ago I read a book called The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. It’s set in Istanbul during the 1970s and is a story about obsessive love. I travelled through Turkey during 1981 on a double decker bus heading for to Kathmandu and I was therefore immediately drawn to the story. Pamuk is an intriguing story teller, who features as a minor character within the narrative and using all sorts of devices to hook the reader. I’m amazed at the prose, with one chapter titled ‘Sometimes’ where every sentence begins with this word.
If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I’d like to write prose as good as Orhan Pamuk, but it’ll take a lot of dedication to get to there. In the meantime, I read the work of debut novelists to check on the competition. One author I’d particularly like to be compared with is Evie Wyld. Her first novel After The Fire A Still Small Voice is set in Australia and she does a wonderful job of intertwining the location with the characters and their motivations. Australia is like a second home, so I’d like to be as good as Evie Wyld in describing the country and the characters in my novel Manipulation
Tell us about your current WIP
I’m currently redrafting my first novel Manipulation ready to submit to a reader for comment as part of the New Writers’ Scheme with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s a story
that explores the challenges of travelling through Outback Australia during the recession of the 1980s for a well-mannered 20-year-old-girl. Committed to making a success of the experience, Helen follows a difficult path and ultimately becomes involved with a manipulative older man. Misunderstanding and confusion force the couple to ricochet around the country until they finally settle in Sydney and address some of the issues in their relationship.
This year I’ve also had short stories included in three print anthologies. Here’s a photo of them.
I think it’s great the way Gail works with and around the family :) in the evenings I do share my writing space with my husband, but I find it hinders me lol. Have you ever SHARED your writing space with someone else? Did it work?
If you’d like to read my post for the day, pop on over to Gails blog :)