My Writing

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. 




Signed scriptLast week my first radio drama, ‘The Cloistered Soul’ was recorded at the BBC in Salford. *

Without question, the experience was one of the highlights of my writing career to date.  [click to continue…]


Radio drama, redrafting and unpeeling the layers of your ideas

September 6, 2013

I’ve had the melodic tones of plainsong drifting through my writing space this week.  It has set the tone for the redraft of my new radio drama, The Cloistered Soul.  More than that, it has transported me back to the enclosed order I visited earlier this year to get an insight into the life lived […]

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Sisterwives: the latest review

July 22, 2013

I’m delighted to receive another review of Sisterwives, over on The Puffin Review.  The last paragraph in particular makes me blush with pride, so please indulge my shameless self-promotion while I quote it in full: ‘The novel is tightly plotted, carefully written and scattered with brilliant imagery. I get the sense of Rachel Connor agonising at […]

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Sisterwives, the e-book

April 30, 2013

I’m delighted to announce that Sisterwives is now available in e-book format via Kindle.  It will set you back the princely sum of £2.01 (at least, at the time of going to press). As a way of celebrating its (re)launch, I’m offering to give away 2 paperback copies of the novel, too, to two randomly selected […]

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The Next Big Thing

January 9, 2013

I’ve been tagged by two writers, Emily Midorikawa and Alison Taft, to take part in the blog meme, ‘The Next Big Thing’ – a sort of virtual chain mail interview passed from author to author, in which they give an insight into their works in progress.  I thought I’d buck the trend and talk about my radio […]

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When Dreams Come True

May 28, 2012

Today is the publication of Rebecca Emin’s novel When Dreams Come True.  It’s the story of Charlie, a tomboy who is happiest hanging out with friends, watching films and climbing trees.  When she reaches thirteen, though, things begin to change.  How will the vivid dreams she begins to experience affect her life?  How will her […]

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Lucky Seven: The Long Path to Desire

March 29, 2012

I was was tagged by Rebecca Emin for a Lucky Seven Excerpt. The rules are simple: 1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript 2. Go to line 7 3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating 4. Tag 7 other authors (Done on Facebook) So here’s the extract from my […]

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For Books’ Sake: a review of Sisterwives

February 10, 2012

It’s been tough going in the past few weeks.  I’ve been struggling with a cough since the new year, but last ten days have seen me confined to bed with a severe chest infection they thought was pneumonia (turns out it isn’t).  Now I know how all those consumptive Victorian heroines felt.  Seriously, I’ll never […]

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Scaffolds, jelly moulds and the architecture of plot

January 4, 2012

  After the stimulus, the quiet of post-publication. And after the Christmas break, the return to work.  The start of the year has sent me scurrying back to my desk in the piggery, digging out old notes, diagrams and plot plans and picking up the thread of what feels like a long-abandoned next novel. Tweet

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