I was recently nominated by the wonderful Sarah Mitchell-Jackson to do this.
How it works (from what I gather) is that you are asked 10 questions by the previous writer, who was asked 10 questions by the chap or chapette who nomintated them, and so on and so forth ad infinitum, with the ultimate goal of helping people like myself to be extremely nosy and pry into other peoples business by clicking back on endless links like opening a lot of Russian Dolls. (I have just spent a good hour doing this!)
It’s a good way to discover new and interesting blogs, meet shiny people with noble hearts and white teeth, and most interestingly, to peer into the dark and dusty corners of their troubled and creative heads and see what tidbits they have chosen to divulge.
You can read Sarah’s answers to the questions she was nominated to answer here: Running Without Slipping
(and you should, because they are interesting. You can then also check who nomintated her and read their answers, and so on and so on in a waterfall of very interesting and entertaining trivia. 🙂
For my two pennies worth, I am honour-bound to answer Sarah’s questions as follows, so will do my best:
What is your favourite breakfast?
I never normally eat before about 11, even a bowl of cornflakes makes me retch. i’d much rather have seven gallons of coffee and ten minutes silence while i crawl out of my pit and mutter with nihlistic hatred at the world. But I am however a big fan of BRUNCH! (Yes, it deserves the capital letters.)
After pennicilin, brunch may be the best invention our civilisation has so far achieved. I like Eggs Royale or Welsh Rarebit, with a bloody Mary -(gin, not vodka, and plenty of Tabasco, celery optional, girly serving glass refusing to put the slightest dint in my self-image.)
What is the shortest Piece you have written?
I’m actually a bugger for over-writing. I can get a bit Henry James when I should be being Hemmingway, and as a result I always find myself having to cut about half of my book away to please the beetle-browed demands of agent and publisher. Historically, the shortest thing i’ve written (outside of poems) would be a short story called Paper Rose, which is a love story between a man and a canvas he buys which is (unknown to him) made of human skin. (the stylised rose on the ‘painting’ he has bought being the tattoo from the shoulder of the woman it’s made from, and who haunts the picture.) it sounds macarbe when I summarise it here, but I actually thought it was a sweet story. It was only around 30 pages long.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I’m an egomaniac and I crave adoration and attention. Or, in my less brutally vapid moments, I also thought it was a good way to connect both with other readers and other writers. I’ve found and made some excellent friends between blogging and tweeting who I may never have run into otherwise. I often wonder what we did before the internet, and then I remember we used to meet in dusty pubs and smoke pipes. we should still do that as well.
What is your desk like? (or if you dont use one, tell me about your writing space)
If I’m nearing a deadline, or feel I REALLY need to get my head down, then I hide myself away in the dining room at the table, as it’s (usually) silent and I’m less likely to be distracted by all the bleeping and flashing electronic things like TV and social media which draw my easily distracted eye, but usually, my writing space is curled up on the sofa, with laptop balanced precariously on my knees (like now) with a Jack Daniels and coke and a goodly supply of treats to hand. (Haribo or Pringles by preference. )
Who, or What, inspires you to write?
Writers I admire inspire me of course, but I dont try to imitate, and i try to avoid reading the sam genre i’m writing in if i’m on a writing binge for fear of their voice bleeding into mine. If i read something i think is particually well written or entertaining, it does motivate me more to switch off Netflix and roll my sleeves up. as for What inspires me, that’s almost like the writers most dreaded question ‘where do you get your ideas from’ which as anyone who writes anything will tell you, the answer is always ‘anywhere’. I do find a great jumping off point for me however is always a visual. Either i’ll get a solid, fully formed image in my head, and build a narrative around it, or else if I need a sounding board, i’m a big fan of Pinterest. You can type in any word at random. and I can scroll for hours finding things that catch my eye, and usually either helping me through a sticky patch in my writing, or giving me sudden and unexpected ideas for new angles.
If it wasnt for social media, how many other writers would you know?
About six (i think) It helps that I went through University studying literature, so I kind of fell in with the Bo-ho arty writing crowd in college/uni. and i’ve known a few scriveners since then through my work too. But I have met a lot more writers, (and made some firm friends) through Twitter and Bookstagramming they keep me entertained and we dip in and out of each others lives on a daily basis. it’s good to know what others are up to and it’s a nice and supportive community. I love my little book-fam, especially as some of them are fairly far flung around the globe. 🙂
If you didnt write, what would you do instead with the time?
SLEEP. I would definitely sleep a lot more. I was laid up a year ago following an operation which had me housebound for five weeks, (it was kind of like Steven King’s Misery withough the leg-sawing maniac) and I honestly don’t think i’ve ever slept so much. It was wonderful. i usually get by on about 4 and a half or 5 hours sleep, but for that 5 weeks, I could catnap through the whole day. bliss! I can never sleep at night, it takes me forever to drop off, but during the day, I can sleep on demand, deep, gut-rumbling-snoring sleep for 40 seconds at a time if needed.
What do you tell your family about your writing when you are working on it?
VERY little. (which drives them mad) I dont like anyone to know ahead of time what the writing is like, although I do let them read it before anyone else once it’s done, (even my agent) – someone has to spellcheck and grammar me! and yes, i just verbed grammar. I can do that if I want to. It’s my blog.
What is your favourite word?
As with anyone who writes or reads, i’m a huge fan of words. Finding the exact one that fits your meaning is very rewarding. Some of my favourites are’sussurus’ (as in wind through trees) ‘sonambulant’ (the sleepy drone of bees) and Petrichor (describing the fresh, earthy, oxygenated smell you get after rain) but my favourite word is ‘Sonorus’ (intimidatingly loud, such as waves crashing onto a beach, or echoing thunder.) It’s a deep and rolling word and I think it’s perfectly shaped to its meaning.
Right! i nominate these lucky souls to carry the olympic writers trivia torch onwards:
and your questions are as follows:
- What book first made you cry, and why?
- If you could be any one of your favourite characters (your own or others you’ve read) for one day, who and why?
- What is your favourite opening line from a book?
- Do you have any odd writing rituals (has to be a yellow legal pad and a HB pencil for example)
- Have you drawn on real locations / experiences in your writing?
- What story scares you?
- If you were told you could only read one book before being executed for your terrible, terrible crimes, what would you choose and why?
- Have you ever met any of your literary heros, and if so, were they amazing, dissapointing or just plain awkward?
- which word / phraze do you find yourself always over-using and having to edit out
- Name three people you would have at your ultimate book-club/dinner party. (living or dead…or undead.