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!

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.

 

 

 

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!

Writer on a boat – Sarah Jasmon

Sarah Jasmon

 

‘I can see why people might consider writing a lonely activity, but I don’t find it that way. There’s twitter… I don’t think writers can be lonely again.’

Sarah Jasmon lives on a boat in the Liverpool canal and writes novels. She always wanted to be an author. By obtaining an MA in Creative Writing and opening her blog she got fully involved in the literary world and found an agent and a publisher… She’s a fresh, positive writer always approachable via Twitter. Do you want to listen to the inspiring story of her debut novel?

 

 

What can you find in this interview?

-Pursuing a career in writing – no matter your age!

-Blogging as a writer.

-Finding agents ad publishers.

-Being part of a writing community.

-Doing an MA in Creative Writing.

-Writing and parenting.

 

Texts Read:

– Extract from The summer of secrets (novel).

 

Do you want to know more about Sarah Jasmon?

-Check out her website.

-Check out her twitter.

 

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder and sponsor of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Sarah Jasmon, who shared with us her inspiring story about publishing her debut novel… we hope you publish many more!

The multifaced writer – Jerry White

Jerry White

‘I’m one of these sick people who likes to get up at 4.30 to write.’

Jerry White started watching his panda wallpaper and imagining stories when he was a child… Now he’s a successful writer who has just finished his first collection of dark fantasy YA novels – The Thickety – but he also teaches in school and has a filming company… There’s always time for your passions – specially if you wake up as 4.30 like Jerry!

What can you find in this interview?

-How to publish your first novel.

-How to contact an agent.

-Experiences doing book launches at bookshops and libraries.

-Balancing writing with your daily job and other hobbies.

-Waking up early to write.

 

Texts Read:

The Thickety: A Path Begins (YA novel).

 

Do you want to know more about Jerry White?

-Check out his website.

-Check out his twitter.

-Check out his FB page.

-And check the amazing trailer of his first book.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Jerry White, who spent his break at the school making an interview with us. We love The Thickety and we hope you write more successful books!

 

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 31st of January in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with the poet Gary Boswell!

Writing the Weird – Tim J Jarvis

Tim Jarvis

 

‘Getting used to London and becoming a Londoner went hand in hand with my writing,’ Tim Jarvis confesses. He likes to observe the city from Parliament Hill, one of the places he finds more inspiring in the metropolis.

Tim‘s first novel, The Wanderer, belongs to Werid Fiction, a genre that some might have never heard about before. ‘Weird fiction is a secular, post First World War ghost story telling,’ Tim explains, and then he adds ‘it is a paralel pulp form of Modernism.’ He recommends some authors, from H P Lovecraft to Mark Z Danielewski and Caitlín R Kiernan, and finally states, ‘Writing Weird Fiction allows me to articulate what I really want to express.’

Tim didn’t start writing until he was in his final year of undergraduate, and back then he was trying ‘to emulate the strange tales of Borges.’ Now he has completed a PhD, published several short stories and a novel, and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Bedfordshire. He firmly believes that the craft of writingf can be taught: ‘You can inculcate an exploratory way of thinking through teaching Creative Writing.’

What can you find in this interview?

-Weird Fiction, what to read and how to publish it.

-Inspiration from London.

-Teaching Creative Writing.

Texts Read:

The Wanderer (novel).

Literary recommendations:

Melmoth The Wanderer, by Charles Maturin.

The Red Tree, by Caitlín Kiernan.

House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski.

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pymp, by Edgar Alan Poe.

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, by Angela Carter.

Do you want to know more about Timothy J Jarvis?

-Check out his website.

-Check out his twitter.

Many thanks to our meticulous editor, Terry Garanhel, and the founder of the programme, Yvonne Battle-Felton. And, of course, to Tim J Jarvis, who has been so kind and friendly with us. We loved to interview you and we hope you write many more Weird Fiction novels!

Don’t forget to check our next interview on Sunday 24th of January in 87.7 Bailrigg FM at 6pm with best-selling author J A White!

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!