Which writers or poets inspire you and why?
I am inspired by both the stories and writing style of Joyce Carol Oates; the realism and pathos of her characters and their lives is incredible and her sheer output is an inspiration in itself; also, Lisa St Aubin de Teran and JG Ballard. I currently find most Scandi Noir inspiring, I like a dark twist, and have been impressed by a number of new authors who have written amazing stories.
If you are a writer or poet, how did you get started?
I remember a lightbulb moment while reading ‘Heidi’, when I really ‘saw’ the mountains in my mind and hadn’t realised that reading something could do that. I had always ‘written’ inside my head until a creative writing course helped me to explore the craft of writing.
Do you have a ‘must read’ list?
I have a very long ‘must read’ list, garnered mainly from book reviews and the previous titles of newly discovered authors.
I usually have markers in four or five books at a time. It depends on whether I want to spend a few hours lost in something, have a coffee-break read or learn something new. Currently: A God in Ruins: Kate Atkinson, Lovely, Dark, Deep: Joyce Carol Oates, Being Mortal: Atul Gawande and Forensics: Val McDermid.
What advice would you give your younger writing self?
My advice to my younger writing self would be: Take your writing more seriously; the effort alone will be rewarding and the more experience you have – the ‘luckier’ you will be.
What emotion do you associate with good writing?
The emotion I most associate with good writing would be, empathy, the ability to get inside other people’s heads. A memory for detail is good too.