Louise Halvardsson, a poet and award-winning novelist I admire very much and with whom I used to work and perform in the Writing Sisters Collective, asked me to join a blog tour, answering a few questions about my writing, so here you go!
1) What am I working on?
I’m on the third draft of my book, ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Creative and Spirit Fires Burning’, an exploration of – well, motherhood, creativity and spirituality, and the dilemmas, difficulties and triumphs of combining the three. A ‘back burner’ project is editing a poetry collection to submit to some pamphlet publishers – a combination of old and newer poems. I’m also working with an illustrator to bring my children’s book, ‘The Lonely Oak’, to life as an e-book. And I also have a novel that I occasionally have time to work on, following the lives of four women who meet at a yoga retreat in their early twenties and follow very different paths.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In terms of my motherhood book, I believe I’m the first to tackle creativity and spirituality in relation to motherhood, in one book, and to weave together personal experience – in the form of diary extracts and memoir-type writing – with qualitative research in the area. It’s a little scary, exposing but always exciting.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write non-fiction about motherhood because being a mother is such a huge part of my life and has been for six years. To not write and explore my experience and that of other mothers just wouldn’t make sense. At first I found myself writing a book of short stories about motherhood, but then I realised the real juice for me was in exploring women’s real life stories and in returning a little to my academic roots in research and gender/sociology. The experience of mothers is still neglected as a serious subject of study and I felt a strong desire to validate and honour the struggles of creative and spiritual mothers, who so often are just expected to ‘get on with it’. As for my children’s book, that was birthed years ago when I was at university, and has followed a winding path since then through many drafts – it essentially weaves together two loves of mine: magic and nature. And my poetry – well I write far less of it these days, being immersed more in non-fiction, but when I do it’s because a compelling scene, narrative or feeling pulls me to the page.
4) How does your writing process work?
For novels and poems, I write first in a notebook, then type up as I go along. I love this because I can write anywhere. With my non-fiction, I go straight onto the computer but I am always entering in realisations and ideas when out and about on my smartphone. I brainstorm a lot – on characters, on ideas/themes – and do a lot of background research. I write when I’m inspired and also when I’m not. It takes me ages to finish stuff.
The next writer of the blog tour will hopefully be novelist Victoria Bantock.