Today’s post is from Virginia, a lovely writer who blogs at poeta officium Please do go and check out her great pages
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
There was never a revelation; I have always had the desire to write. I started creative writing classes at school when I was around 8 and shortly after, I began writing at home for fun. This was when I realised there was every possibility I could actually take it seriously. My mother and grandma, who was also a writer, always encouraged me to write as did my school teachers. It always came naturally to me and while the other kids mucked around during this lesson, I lapped it up and even got to read my stories to the class. This really lit a fire within. I literally did not look back.
What genre do you write in?
I love writing psychological thrillers. This is the genre that takes over my bookshelf! I also try and throw in a little family history in the mix as I am a genealogist. Genea-psycho thrillers? Is this a bona fide genre?? I guess it is now!
Do you have a writing schedule?
I try to. I really do! However with young kids it is very easy to lose precious time. I do have a schedule that I stick to on the good weeks; writing every night for a couple of hours – whether its for research or character development. When I’m on a roll, I don’t stop and I find I am writing till after midnight. On the nights that it doesn’t come so easy those 2 hours are put to good use but I know that switching my mind off will be much more beneficial in the long run. As long as I’m getting some writing and reading done every night I’m a happy bunny.
What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
Lately Ive been writing in bed. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m trying to kill 2 birds with one stone – rest and work – but laying back on my comfy pillows gives me the ‘ahh’ feeling which opens my mind. Especially when it is pitch black around me save for the laptop light. This makes me feel that nothing else exists in the world apart from me and my words. It is a very exclusive feeling.
I also write at my desk or at the dining table. I find my best work comes when I’m comfortable, warm and within reach of a fully boiled kettle. I’ve started frequenting a gorgeous coffee house down the road – which makes THE best mocha’s I’ve ever tasted – so good infact I almost tweeted it! Anyway, I have a quaint corner booth under the stairs which is always empty when I get there. I sit, I drink, I get inspired. I love it.
When do you write?
I normally write at night. I’m not sure if it’s because of the whole kid routine thing but I find I am most inspired late at night. Or, early morning. I love the stillness of pre-dawn although getting up at 4 am isn’t necessarily appealing right now. We are just coming into our winter and the sudden freezing temperatures always encourages one to keep pressing the snooze button.
Who inspires you?
It’s not so much one person as it is a random moment with a person. I love having conversations with people I have never met before and will possibly never see again. I think every single person on this earth has an interesting story to tell; everyone has a fairy tale, a nightmare, a thriller, a happy ending. I am inspired by the way someone will tell their story. I have met many people in my life who I have exchanged deep conversations with; whether it was on the street, on the train, in a library – infact, this happened a couple of weeks ago at an Apple store. We started chatting about something completely unrelated to any Apple product. He probably thought I was a journalist because I kept asking him question after question. But he was so interesting! I was loving it. I spent all of 10 minutes talking to an intelligent, lively, elderly man; this memory will be with me for the rest of my life. This is what inspires me. It is priceless.
If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
Ooh. This is tricky. I guess my style might resemble a selection of my favourite authors. With the exception of Ernest Hemingway. His writing style makes me cry – in a good, moving way. And I will never compare myself to that man. It would be a sin to!
I read a lot of Kathy Reichs. She is probably my most recent influence. I grew up reading Michael Connelly, so I’d say it’s a combination of both. I do also love Stephen King’s style, his matter-of-factness; I can relate to that. When I am telling a story, I like to get to the point quickly without using too many ‘romantic’ words or phrases. So to answer the question, I guess it’s an amalgamation of the above mentioned authors and my own style thrown in for luck!
Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
Ahh, my current WIP. My baby. My heartache. My frustration. What keeps me up at night. What keeps my thoughts going around and around in circles during the day. Just when I think I have it worked out, I rehash. Change names. Change places. I love my WIP, I really do. But it has taken many different forms to be where it is now. I have rehashed the plot so much it is now red raw which I think is a good thing seeing as my main character is pretty much an open wound.
Emma is tired, waiting to tell her sick story. She is mentally ill with very serious abandonment issues. She is living in what she thinks is a daydream, telling her story from a psychiatric cell. She tells us about her trophies, her conquests – the men she loved who are now dead. She tells us that she has killed them because she feared they would leave her. But has she in fact killed them? Is she that sick that she cannot draw the line between reality and make believe? Or is she telling us the truth? Some say it’s a desperate cry for help. Is anybody actually listening?
I’m finding this story frustrating to tell because I want the readers to feel sorry for her – yet she could be a horrific serial killer. How do the 2 fit together? I’m loving the challenge.
Thanks Virginia, for answering my questions (you can see why she’s a writer can’t you?)
I found it interesting that Virginia says she enjoys chatting to total strangers, for inspiration. That’s a great idea. But I find a lot of people nowadays are in such a rush to get everywhere and do everything, no one has time to stop and chat. Have you ever had a conversation with a stranger that’s inspired some writing? I haven’t, but it’s something I’ll definitely be more aware off now, if I can find anyone who will talk to me lol