The Cloistered Soul – BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama, Monday 19 May

p01yqjpwNext week my first drama for radio, ‘The Cloistered Soul’ airs on BBC Radio 4 (Monday 19 May at 2.15pm).  It’s part of a two-week series of ‘Original British Dramatists’ – fresh voices, new to radio.  You can find out more about the play, and how I came to write it, here.

Each of the dramatists involved in the series was asked to provide answers to some quirky questions.  My short ones are on the R4 site, but I thought it was worth sharing the longer version too.  So, here they are…

Where do you write?
When I first started writing it had to be in complete silence, at my own desk, when the rest of the household was out. Over the years, though, I’ve got used to writing pretty much anywhere: snatching half an hour on a train; writing in cafes or libraries, as well as at my own desk or the kitchen table.  I still prefer my own desk (and silence) for a first draft. But I find low-level background noise actually quite conducive to the editing process. 
Early bird or a night owl?
Early bird.  No question.  I like to start before I’ve properly woken up, to steal a couple of hours before my inner critic has had time for her first espresso.
When are you happiest?
When I’m most connected – with myself and/or with others – which is another way of saying when I’m most engaged in the present moment.  It might be when the writing is flowing; it might be when my feet are flying on a dance floor, or when I’m singing in harmony in a choir.  The times when I feel a strong connection with my body, soul or creative self are the times that make me feel most alive.    
What’s the anthem of your life?
I think it would have to be ‘Rip It Up’ by Orange Juice.  It was one of my favourite tracks when I was a student in the 80s and I still love dancing to it now: I’m instantly transported to an era when my standard ‘uniform’ consisted of men’s shirts, second-hand black Levis 501s and Doctor Martens.  It’s also a song about process: ‘rip it up and start again’.  Of course, as a writer, I can never throw anything away – but these days I’m less afraid of letting go of things that aren’t working.  
Who is your favourite fictional character?
It’s virtually impossible to name just one!  For some reason – and I’m not sure why – the one that comes to mind is Cordelia from King Lear, because of her simplicity and her integrity.  I’m drawn to that in other people and it has certainly shaped the creation of the characters in ‘The Cloistered Soul’ which is, above all I think, a story about truth. 



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