Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Sue Guiney's Interview and the Great Guest Giveaway
Photograph by Andre Ainsworth
I'm pleased to bring Sue Guiney to you today. She's the author of Tangled Roots, her first novel which I enjoyed enormously not just because of the mother/son and sibling relationships it explores, but because it gave me the illusion I could actually understand and enjoy Theoretical Physics and Cosmology. That doesn't happen often.
Anyway, Sue's a bit of an inspiration to me. She's started a charity, the Curving Road to support other artists, and she's not afraid to try different forms herself. I haven't caught the performance of her poetry play, Dreams of May yet, but I liked reading it very much.
And now, I've persuaded her to answer some questions, despite the fact her book is published tomorrow and life is more than a bit hectic. More than that, she's my GIVEAWAY NO 2 - not her, but a first edition hardback copy of TANGLED ROOTS which I am buying and she has kindly agreed to sign for the winner. If you'd like to be put in the draw, then send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until FRIDAY to enter and I'll announce the winner here.
So here are Sue's answers ...
1. When did you first call yourself a writer and how did it feel?
There are really 2 parts to this answer. I first called myself a writer – to myself – when I was eight and first discovered my love of reading. I thought, “Hey, this is cool. I can do this.” From that point on I wrote short stories and plays, and kept a journal. Ah, innocence….But when I became more self-conscious, I began to say “I want to be a writer”, and that’s where I left it, regardless of whether I was writing or not, for a very long time. I then stopped writing completely sometime after Uni, suffering from what I call a “pathological respect for literature,” (ie who do I think I am to think I can do this?). I stayed like that for an even longer time. I consciously decided to start calling myself a writer to the world when I started writing “seriously” about 15 years ago, when it became the focus of my work life, and when I started studying with a tutor. But I said it very faintly so almost no one could hear. To be honest, it wasn’t until very recently that I could say it without fear and embarrassment. Now I say it with a mixture of pride and incredulity.
2. How does your love/knowledge of theatre affect your writing ie do you think in terms of scenes, dramatic tension, dialogue etc? AND 3. You write in different mediums - can you talk about advantages/disadvantages of this?
I’d like to answer these together. I do tend to “see” what I write as episodes/scenes/vignettes. I envision what I am writing as a whole and then go for it. But if I was going to say any one genre that I work in actually affects the way I write in other genres, I would have to say that poetry is what affects everything else the most. I do believe that it must ultimately all be poetry in the end. My first and main way into anything that I write is through words, then character, then theme, setting, plot, etc – but the words always come first. For me, it is the aural and emotional impact of the words that must drive everything else. If anything, this is my one frustration with writing for the theatre. There just aren’t enough words in plays these days to make it quite as satisfying for me to write. But having said that, the piece always chooses its own genre. A poem is a poem because it has to be. A novel a novel because that’s the only way to write it. A play is a play because it demands that visual form. So, I suppose that’s why I write in so many genres. The words and the concept of the piece demand a certain genre, and so that’s how I write it. Who am I to argue? It might sound a bit precious, but it’s true.
4. Top three tips for someone wanting to write?
1. Read a lot and everything
2. If you really want to write, then just do it. Keep writing regardless.
3. Find someone you trust to give you feedback.
Can I do one more?
4. Don’t let your fear paralyze you. (easy to say, eh?)
5. How do you see your future as a writer?
This is the hardest question of all. I truly have no idea how large a readership I will ever achieve or if I will ever really achieve a readership at all. But the publication of my first novel has forced me to face my own ambition, which is to be able to write what I write, get it published and have it be read even by people who don’t necessarily already know me (I still feel like I have to sell each book, each theatre ticket to one person at a time). It would also be nice to think that I might make even just a little bit of money one day. But these are goals and don’t actually answer the question. I see my future as a writer as someone who continues to write what I feel I need to write regardless of the genre, who continues to apply my creativity not only to my words but also to what I do with those words, to be someone who spends her working life writing for as long as these little fingers can hold a pencil.
And I can’t help myself….
6. if you were a desert, which one would you be?*
Gobi – I’ve always loved the way that words sounds.
(*Sue's teasing here - I'd meant to ask her what pudding she was, ie dessert, but this is a much better question so I'm claiming it as mine. What desert would you be?)
This work by Sarah Salway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.