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!

 

 

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!

Travelling through words and form: Maggie How

Maggie How

‘Creative Writing can certainly be learnt… we learn by doing it.’

Maggie How is a Lake District born author. She studied Interior Design and, by the end of her degree, her professor was already advising her to focus in writing about Design rather than designing itself. She started with poetry when she was a child and had been also experimenting with short stories and even a novel since.

Maggie’s first Creative Writing tutor was Gary Boswell.  She has done several Creative Writing courses and an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She’s currently doing another MA in Writing for Therapeutical Purposes.

As Sarah Jasmon, Maggie is a very active author who believes that writing is far from isolating. She attends to writing retreats quite regularly and belongs to several writing groups including the Brewery Poets in Kendal.

If you love experimenting with your words and learning all sort of forms in writing, you’re going to love Maggie’s story and advice!

 

What can you find in this interview?

-Doing a Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University.

-Experience in self-publishing.

-Experimenting with different forms of writing.

-Writing for therapeutical purposes.

-Experience in the publishing world

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Maggie How. We had the pleasure to be her classmates during the Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and learnt a lot from her. We wish you the best with your poetry – and we’re also looking forward to read your novel finished one day!

From Italy to Lancaster: Monica Guerrasio.

Clown

‘I always wanted to write, I started when I was nine years old and I always thought that was something you were supposed to do on the side while having a proper job, but when I realised that my career wasn’t making me happy and I didn’t have time to write I decided to do Creative Writing MA full time.’

Monica Guerrasio published her first Fantasy novel at 18. She moved from Italy to London to study journalism, worked there while writing reviews for music magazines and ended up in   Lancaster studying a Creative Writing MA…

Do you want to hear the adventures of this charismatic Fantasy writer publishing and developing a writing career in different languages?

What can you find in this interview?

-Travelling to pursue a writing career.

-Journalism.

-First experience publishing.

-Doing an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

-Writing in English and Italian.

Texts Read:

– Extract from dystopian novelette (untitled).

Do you want to know more about Monica Guerrasio?

-Check out her twitter.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel and to the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Monica Guerrasio, we had so much fun interviewing you… we hope to see you soon at a Sci-Fi convention signing your novels!

Poetry and laughs – Gary Boswell

Gary Boswell

 

‘I borrowed a book from the library called The Apeman Cometh thinking it was a joke book, and it was fun, I laughed all way through it, but then I looked at the back and it said it was a poetry book… and I thought, crack it!’

Gary Boswell left his job in bank to study art at Lancaster University. As a poet, he has been featured by the BBC and collaborated with artists from several disciplines. Want to hear his Scottish accent when reading one of his most recent poems to the TWL?

What can you find in this interview?

-Leaving your day-job to pursue your dreams.

-Collaborating with other artists.

-Being a writer-in-residence.

-How to read your work in front of an audience.

-Finding an editor.

 

Texts Read:

The Battle of the Trousers (poem).

 

Do you want to know more about Gary Boswell?

-Check out his more recent work, a collaboration with the painter Hideyuki Sobue to celebrate the 200th aniversary of Wordsworth’s daffodile poem.

-Check out this original recording of another of his poems, Ducks don’t shop in Sansbury’s.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Gary Boswell, who shared his poems and enthusiasm with us.

 

 

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 7th of February in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with the writer on a boat Sarah Jasmon!

East and West writer – Leonor Macedo

Leonor Macedo
Leonor Macedo is fluent in two languages – Portuguese and English – and even understood a bit of Cantonese when she was a child. The story of her infancy is fascinating. ‘I lived in Macao since I was 2, coming back to Portugal at 10 was more like going to a different country than coming home.’ English is the language she chose to write her stories: ‘I write in English to reach a larger audience, the Portuguese publishing industry is not very developed. I also love the language.’ She confesses to be inspired mainly by English authors such as Neil Gaiman, although, as she points out, ‘there are Portuguese writers that write in English as well, like Pessoa.’ (Check an interesting article about this unique poet here!)
Leonor finds inspiration in cultures from remote places, such as Japan. She’s also an enthusiast role player, and she admits that ‘role playing helped me develop characters for my writing.’ Is this perhaps something that more writers should consider?
She’s currently doing the second year of the Distance Learners MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. ‘The CW MA at Lancaster Uni has opened my understanding of what it is to write and how to write.’ As Gabriella Campbell – another TWL author – she also likes to keep a daily writing routine ‘I force myself to write at least 200 or 500 words every day.’ 

 

What can you find in this interview?

-Experiences from doing a Distance Learners Creative Writing MA.

-How role-playing can help you to create believable characters.

-How to use DeviantArt as a writer.

-Travelling and writing.

Texts Read:

–Extract from an untitled Fantasy novel.

Do you want to know more about Leonor Macedo?

-Check out her Deviantart, where you can also have ask her for a literary commission!

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Leonor Macedo, who is our fellow student in the Creative Writing MA here at Lancaster University. We hope you are enjoying it as much as we did!

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 29th of November in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with the Scottish writer Kirsty Logan!

 

Writer and sailor – Paul Atherton

Paul Atherton

Paul Atherton is a writer and a sailor. Do these two things have something in common? ‘On the water, there’s always something different happening,’ he admits. Also, his experiences on sailing helped him shape his first novel, Viking Voices, where he describes ‘a lot of movements of the vikings around the Irish Sea.’

Some authors find the promotion of their work especially challenging, but Paul has very good experiences. ‘I quite enjoy the commercial aspect of writing, I’ve built a good relationship with castles and Northwest libraries.’ He had book launches in bookshops such as Waterstones, and has also attended the York Viking Festival, where he was particularly succesful.

Paul feels a strong connection with History as a genre – Vikings and also the Second World War. Although he has travelled all over the world, he confesses that ‘I do my research by reading and speaking to people.’ His main tip to write Historical novels? ‘Reality can be stranger than fiction… if you’re writing something that is real but not believable you have to change it.’

What can you find in this interview?

-Experiences from doing a Creative Writing MA.

-Historical Fiction.

-Experiences with promoting books.

-Self-publishing.

-Sailing and writing.

Texts Read:

Billy’s War (novel).

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to our friend Paul Atherton, who was so kind that he even took us on a trip on his boat. You’re a wonderful writer and sailor.

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 22nd of November in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with the Portuguese writer Leonor Macedo!

Feeling and writing – Yamuna Venugopal

Yamuna photo

‘I grew up in a household where female members of the neighbourhood came to talk with my parents about injustices,’ Yamuna Venugopal said. She’s an courageous writer who left a stable job as a software engineer to come to Lancaster and study a Creative Writing MA. She hasn’t regretted this decision, though: ‘Being away from India gave me a broad-minded view of the things I’m writing about.’

Yamuna is a skilled writer who likes to address Indian social reality through her short stories, often told from a female perspective. ‘I like to write about something that affects me.’ For her, the most important thing in writing is to depict believable characters: ‘I try to be in someone else’s skin when I write, it keeps me emotionally close to the character.’ One of her short stories was published in Pif Magazine. After completing her MA, Yamuna returned to India, where she’s currently pursuing a career in writing. ‘I’d love to have an international audience,’ she confesses.

What can you find in this interview?

-Experiences from doing a Creative Writing MA.

-Socially engaged writing.

-Experiences with publishing in online magazines.

-Blogging.

-Writing in a second language.

Texts Read:

Abstract Art (short story).

Do you want to know more about Yamuna Venugopal?

-Check out her blog.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to our talented writer and friend Yamuna Venugopal. We’re sure your books are going to reach an audience from all over the world!

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 15th of November in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with sailor and writer Paul Atherton!

The NaNoWriMo Experience – Anne Cleasby

Children of Poseidon

‘You’ve published, your book is out there, but nobody buys it, it’s all about marketing.’ Anne Cleasby has already published the second book from a trilogy of Paranormal Romance – under her pseudonym, Annalisa Carr – and yet she’s very aware of the challenges that every published writer must face. She had been working as a crystallographer for thirty years before she decided to leave this job and move to the northwest of England to do a Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University. Although she admits that her professional career has also contributed to her writing: ‘I think Science can be quite inspiring for someone like me who wants to write Speculative Fiction and Sci-Fi.’

When Anne is not writing or petting her three lovely cats, she likes attending literary events or practice sports. ‘Running in the morning wakes me up and gets me ready to start other things.’ Going through NaNoWriMo encouraged her to get her writing out there. ‘It gives you deadlines and motivation and something to aim towards.’ There, she wrote what would turn into her first published book, and now she is seriously considering the possibility of making a living from her words.

What can you find in this interview?
-Experiences on working and writing at the same time.
-Tips about how to find an agent and publish.
-Speculative Fiction and Science-Fiction.
NaNoWriMo.
-Literary life in the Northwest

Texts read:
Living and Loving dangerously. (Short story).

Writing resources mentioned:
NaNoWriMo.

Do you want to know more about Anne Cleasby?
-Check out his book collection Children of Poseidon.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to our lovely friend Anne Cleasby with whom we had the privilege to do the Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University. We are eagerly waiting for your Sci-Fi novel to be published!

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 8th of November in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with Yamuna Venugopal!

Giving voice to the other – Gary J Flood

Gary J Flood

‘If you’re a creative person you want an audience, and publishing can be the way to get one’. Gary J Flood expresses with this sentence the ambition – and necessity – of many writers. He’s very aware, though, that the literary genre he writes in – Slipstream – is not for everyone. But he confesses he’d be happy to just have five – devoted – readers.

Gary has a background in Philosophy and Rhetoric and currently makes a living as a journalist and content creator in business and technology. He was an early admirer of the Lancaster University Creative Writing MA, and finally decided to start it in 2013 because ‘your life it’s what you actually did… you’ve to do stuff‘.

He is also an avid and eclectic reader – Albert Camus, Peter Watts, William Golding… One of his literary obsessions is giving a voice to ‘the other’ in literature. That included, for example, writing a short story set in the The Lord of The Rings‘ world from the perspective of an Orc.

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