Magic in Morecambe Bay – Jenn Ashworth

jenn-ashworth-portrait-7

 

Jenn Ashworth is publishing her fourth novel, a Magic Realism inspired piece called Fell and I couldn’t be happier because that meant I had the chance to interview her! I have loved Jenn’s writing since always. She ventures to places people normally prefer to ignore, and she talks about characters that society condemns. And she’s dark, and funny, and engaging. And her female characters are always exquisite and realist – and I take my hat to that, because it’s not the norm, either.

What can I tell you so you go and buy Fell? Well, it’s not an easy reading. The story is dark, and full of desolation. But in life, there is not always happiness and daffodils, and we need that other dark half, too

Illness, death, resurrection, magic and sycamores…. Fell has all that and a beautiful cover. And it’s set in Morecambe bay, which means that if you want to visit the original place of the novel you can always come, say hi and I’ll show you around!

Finally,  Jenn Ashworth is not only a writer who will pull you into any of her stories but also a very inspiring artist. Since I know her – and also got the privilege of doing my PhD with her – I have been marvelled at how passionate she’s about the craft but how seriously she takes it too. In a world where many people think writing is just a side hobby or a privilege job for a few chosen ones, Jenn proves that is possible to live on it – while being an extraordinarily prolific writer, a enthusiastic professor and having always the time to be launching exciting writing projects such as Curious Tales!

 

 

What can you find in this interview?

– Writing habits.

-Writing genre and realistic fiction.

-Publishing and promoting your work.

-Writing about Lancashire and the North.

 

 

Texts Read:

Fell (Novel).

 

Do you want to know more about Jenn Ashworth?

-Check out her website.

-Check out her twitter.

-Check out her own publishing house that she launched along with other writers, Curious Tales! (They publish the most beautiful and unsettling ghost stories, perfect to give as a Christmas gift for very special people.)

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Jenn Ashworth. She was our Creative Writing tutor when we – Teresa and me – were doing the MA at Lancaster University and she inspired us a lot. We are always waiting for your new books and hope you bring us many more!

 

 

Advertisements

The Navaho Influence: Dennison Smith

Dennison S 2

‘I still think in terms of the theathre far more often than I think in terms of the written word.’

I first met Dennison Smith when she came to the Northwest Literary Salon last February. When she read an extract of her book, The Eye of the Day, I was completely hooked. Characters and settings appeared directly into the room through words that were both, beautiful and disturbing. (If you are curious, she’s reading exactly the same bit in her interview!)

When Dennison Smith  was in her twenties, she hitchhiked in US and was finally welcomed by a Navaho family. This period in her life has vastly influenced her art . She has published several books that include both poetry and prose, she has worked in drama as author and director, she has done a PhD in Creative Writing in the University of East Anglia and recently opened an art gallery in London, The Baldwin Gallery, which –among others– promotes the work of indigenous artists from North America.

 

What can you find in this interview?

-Writing and yoga.

-Theatre.

-Memoir.

-Publishing and getting an agent.

-Studying Creative Writing.

 

Text read in this interview:

–An extract from The Eye of the Day.

 

Do you want to know more about Dennison Smith?

-Check out her webpage.

-Check out her publications.

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Dennison Smith. Your literary journey is truly inspiring and we wish you all all the best luck with your new art gallery!

 

Writer and Performer: Elizabeth Hare

Gardening_with_my_Father

‘I always had this gift of being able to read well aloud, and one of the things I really enjoy is the oportunity to do open mic… it’s usually worth it.’

Elizabeth Hare was born in the South of England but has been living in Lancashire since 1980. She has done drama, teaching Creative Writing for the Open University, performing poetry… and even Sci-Fi books for children, the project she’s currently working on.

Elizabeth is a passionate person who encourages any aspiring writer to get out and share their work. She’s part of the Brewery Poets in Kendal and the writers’ group from Lancaster. ‘Even if you don’t write too much, you have preassure on you to do something for the group… you preassure yourself.’  Her webpage is always full of useful tips and interesting information about literature.

What can you find in this interview?

-Studying and teaching drama.

-Teaching CW for the Open University.

-Publishing poetry.

-Performing poetry and doing literary readings.

 

Poems read in this interview:

1962

Visiting The British Museum

You Can Do Shakespeare with These Kids

 

Do you want to know more about Elizabeth Hare?

-Check out her webpage.

-Check out her publications.

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Elizabeth Hare, who has share with us all her expertise and valuable tips! We are looking to read your sci-fi novel soon!

Getting Into The Writer’s Head: Natasha Robson

Natasha Robson

‘Editing involves trying to get into the head of the writer and bringing out the best of what’s already there.’

Natasha Robson is an assistant editor at Holland House Books, an indie publishing house – like Sam Jordison‘s Galley Beggar Press. She has contributed to the Novella Project from the very beginning – a project which gives unknown authors that come from very different backgrounds the possibility of publishing  exciting fiction for the very first time.*

Natasha is doing an MA in Literature in the University of Reading. That and her love of teaching made her took the path of editing, and she couldn’t be more enthusiastic about it – helping authors to tell the stories they want.

Also, like the writer Sarah Jasmon, she’s living a boat, and we wonder, is there something linked between living on water and creativity? Who knows…

If you want to know more about the Novella Project please check out their page, they are doing something wonderful, daring and unique!

What can you find in this interview?

-Working as an editor.

-Information about indie publishing houses such as Holland House Books.

-The editing process.

-Publishing projects.

 

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Natasha Robson, who is a truly thoughtful editor! We wish you the best in this adventure, we’re sure you’ll keep editing great books!

 

*And I have the pleasure to say I am among these authors! My gothic horror novella McTavish Manor will be ouy in October 2016.

 

The Harpist Writer: Beth Cortese

beth book photo

‘With the creative writing I don’t have the fear of the blank page… I like to write…  I’d just get something done and then I go from there…’

Beth is English Literature PhD student, author of two children novels, poetry performer harpist player… and she’s not even 25! She started writing children’s fiction when she was still in highschool, and her prose is fresh and original (listen to her reading in this podcast and you’ll see what I mean!)

Her books Buttercup and her Many-Legged Friends and The Sharson Chronicles have been published by Rowanvale Books, funded by alumni from Lancaster Universty. Beth’s books can be enjoyed by kids and adults equally – and they are specially good if you, as I do, are deadly scared of hairy spiders and wasps…

What can you find in this interview?

-Doing undergraduate Creative Writing moudules

-Life of a English Literature PhD student.

-Performing poetry and doing literary readings.

-Working with an independant publiser like Rowanvale Books.

 

Do you want to know more about Beth Cortese?

-Check out her books in Amazon.

 

Text read:

And extract from The Sharson Chronicles.

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Beth Cortese, who is my PhD pal and also an extremely talented writer. We hope you keep publishing and succeeding in both your creative and academic career!

Foldable Memories – Alexandria Meinecke

Alexandra

Photography by: Melissa Lewis.

 

‘Originally I wanted to write fiction… but it took one fiction class to realise I’m horrible at it… I can’t convince myself of the believability of the charcters in a story. With non-fiction, I don’t have that problem… it happened.’

Alexandria Meinecke came all the way from San Francisco to the small city of Lancaster to study an MA in Creative Writing. Her reviews had been publised by the Ignation Literary Journal and 7×7 magazine, but non-fiction is her preferred genre. Alexandria wants to renovate it by experimenting with formats… creating maps and even foldable designs!

What can you find in this interview?

-Writing for a magazine.

-Doing a Creative Writing MA.

-Writing non-fiction.

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to  Alexandra Meinecke. It seems your books are going to be the non-fictional version of House of Leaves, and we’re looking forward to read them!

Adventurous Publishing – Sam Jordison

sam-jordison

‘I have mixed feelings with social media… I hope there is still a place for the writers that want to close themselves in the garage and write books.’

Sam Jordison knows well how to communicate with readers. He reviews books for The Guardian (what many would consider this a dream-job) and has set the famous Not The Booker Prize, which gives awards to books based on the preferences of the audience.  He also enjoys promotting unique talent through his own indie publishing house, Galley Beggar Press.

If you want advice on how to reach a larger audience or are curious about the secrets of the publishing world (have you ever thought about setting your own publishing house?) this is for you!

 

What can you find in this interview?

-Reviewing books.

-Using social media to promote your writing.

-Setting your own publishing house.

 

Do you want to know more about Sam Jordison?

-Check out his twitter.

-Check out his publishing house, Galley Beggar Press. (They have a short story competition!)

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Sam Jordison, who kindly agreed to do this interview. He gave us a great insight into the publishinh world and also has put us in contact with many cool writers – you’ll hear about them soon! So thank you very much and we hope you keep discovering and publishing amazing authors!

 

 

The Renasssaince Writer – Rachel McCarthy

Rachel_mccarthy

‘We need the specialisations, but we could do with more cross-fertilisation between humanities and the arts.’

Rachel McCarthy has succeed in two fields that some consider the complete opposite: Science and Art. She’s a climate scientist and also a poet whose first pamphlet – Element – was praised  by the Laureate poet Carol Duffy. So for those who claim for an education that divides arts and sciences from a very early stage… this is an example of what people can be when they don’t have to decide between one and the other!

‘Writing is a very solitary act…to bear your soul on a piece of paper… and then stand up present it to everyone is kind of one of those nightmares.’

Rachel knows a lot about showing her art and performing in front of an audience, too. She co-hosted a radio programme when she was a university student and has been director of the Exeter Poetry Festival on 2013.

What can you find in this interview?

-Mixing Art and Science.

-Publishing a poetry pamphlet.

-Literature and Climate Change.

-Balancing work and writing.

-Engaging with the literary community.

 

Do you want to know more about Rachel McCarthy?

-Check out her webpage.

-Check out her poetry pamphlet Element.

 

Text read:

Two poems from Element (poetry pamphlet).

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Rachel McCarthy who we had the pleasure to meet in the January Northwest Literary Salon at Lancaster. We loved your reading and became instantlly fascinated with your mixture of literature and science. We wish you the very best in your two careers!

The Horrors of Morecambe – Andrew Michael Hurley

AndrewMHurley

‘I think any place like Morcambe, so full of contraditions,  is interesting for a writer…’

Did you hever heard about this town facing a myterious bay in which the sea appears and disappears as quick as lightning? People love or hate Morecambe Bay, but since Lancastrian author Andrew M Hurley chose it as a scenery for his disturbing Gothic novel the place – and its unique imaginery – will be immortal forever.

Andrew has one of this inspiring stories aspiring writers like to hear. One day he was working as a librarian while writing a novel, next day he published it with a small publishing press, and the day after that the novel was bought by a John Murray imprint and won the Costa First Novel Award (in 2015).

But what people forget is that behind all this success there are years and years of endurance, writing, two books of short stories, an MA in Creative Writing and much effort… Listen to the interview for the full story!

And don’t forget Andrew’s final advice…

‘Don’t give up and always trust your own voice’.

What can you find in this interview?

-Doing a Creative Writing MA.

-Publishing with a small press. (Tartarus Press).

-Gothic.

-Teaching CW.

-Finding an agent.

Do you want to know more about Andrew M Hurley?

-Check out his fantastic novel The Loney. It has a brilliant ending, I promise! And, apparently, it’s the first part of a trilogy of Gothic novels set in the Lancashire area…

-Check out his Wikipedia page.

-Check out his collections of short stories Cages and Other Stories, 2006, ISBN 9781411699021, and The Unusual Death of Julie Christie and Other Stories, 2008, ISBN 9780955981401

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. Also, to Jenn Ashworth, who helped us get this wonderful interview. And, of course, to Andrew Michael Hurley, who was very kind an accesible. A true inspiration for writers and – specially – fans of Gothic literature!  We wish you the very best with your next novels.

 

 

 

Tucans, diamonds and Steam Punk: Oscar Delgado Chinchilla.

OscarDS

‘I’ve just started thinking about Creative Writing as a career…’

Oscar studied English Literature in Costa Rica. When he was allowed to hand in a creative writing piece instead of just a critical essay as a final assingment for his MA course, he discovered that fiction could be his passion as well as his talent. Since then, he has published his short stories in several magazines and eventually came to Lancaster to do the Creative Writing MA. Now he’s a Creative Writing PhD student in the University of Nottingham. He admits to find more natural writing in English than in Spanish – his first language – as he says he can be more honest when he’s not using his mother tongue.

Oscar is interested in Gothic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction, among others. Read  Like Diamonds in her Eyes* to see how he skillfully mixes Sci-Fi with Comedy just as another great writer we interviewed here, Eddie Robson. Oscar could also be the pioneer of a new genre, Tropical Horror, that blends Gothic with the rich imagery of Costa Rica.

 

*Fun fact: The main character in this story is named after our dear secretary in the English Lit and Creative Writing Department at Lancaster, Leila!

What can you find in this interview?

-Doing a Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University.

-Publishing in magazines such as Fiction Magazines.

-Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gothic, Steam Punk and Speculative Fiction.

-Writing in a second language.

-Travelling and writing.

-Multiculturalism.

 

Do you want to know more about Oscar Delgado Chinchilla?

-Check out his short story Like Diamonds in her Eyes published in Nebula Rift.
-Check out his publications in Revista de Lenguas Modernas.


 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to  Oscar Delgado Chinchilla. He was our writing pal in the CW MA at Lancaster and our dear friend. You might have traumatised us for life by using tucans in a horror story but are still very proud of all your achievements and hope to read your novels soon!