We (Chapeltown Books) have just published Alyson's Badlands. In celebration of this event I've invited Alyson to my blog.
What do you write? Why this?
I write in a range of genres and lengths. I began writing poetry and children’s books, because I tutored children I would read my stories to them. In the last few years I have turned to writing Flash Fiction, (stories under 1000 words), much of them are dark in tone. But I also write 3000 word stories, often supernatural; I love M R James, time slip novels and films like ‘The Innocents.’
What got you writing in the first place?
I was a bookish child; who visited the library a lot. When I was recovering from a serious illness in the mid 1990’s I started to write poetry to help myself heal. Telling stories is exciting, engrossing and wonderful escapism. It is life without the boring bits!
Do you have a particular routine?
I am an owl- so much of my writing is done later in the day or into the early hours of the morning. I write/edit/blog/ most days if only for half an hour or so, but sometimes if I am gripped by a particular story I want to tell I will keep going for hours at a time. I like to work to deadlines, they prompt me to finalize a piece.
Do you have a dedicated working space?
I write in the 3rd room in our bungalow, which is more of a nook really. I keyboard my fiction on a p.c. my husband has rehabbed for me, facing a wall covered in pictures and postcards and drawings which are a self made collage representing my interests and overlap with my projects.
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
Interesting question. I think of myself as a writer since my fiction has been published increasingly over the last two years or so and I have given more time to it. I am growing into the title and since I started teaching creative writing classes last year I am identifying myself to the outside world more as a writer.
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you’re doing?
My husband is very supportive. He is my tech. go to guy. He’s delighted I have rediscovered my writing mojo. My son is a typical teenager, but he listens to me maunder on and says ‘Well done mum.’ A couple of my friends are so supportive they signed up to my writing classes! Which is amazing of them. Most are a bit interested and will ask what I’m working on.
What are you most proud of in your writing?
Tough one this- that I have stuck at it for the last few years, of the projects I have completed, that I have improved as an editor of my own work, that I still want to do more. I love my work being published too. I get such a buzz from that.
How do you get on with editing and research?
I have worked hard at improving my proofreading and editing skills, read books, gone online, used editing tools. It is an ongoing journey of learning. I enjoy researching any facts or historical info I need but I was a history teacher in a former life.
Do you have any goals for the future?
Yes I do. I have a blog and I have listed there my goals for 2018! I have short term goals like keeping on writing and getting published. I have long term goals like putting a collection of my ghost stories together and perhaps finding a publisher for my YA time slip novel.
Which writers have inspired you?
Many- from my youth, Penelope Lively and Susan Cooper, Robert Westall; reading at O level poet Wilfred Owen, Liza Cody, Sara Paretsky, Harper Lee, Carol Goodman, Sarah Rayne, latterly Alison Littlewood for her horror /supernatural novels. I think I probably read more women authors than men!!
Click on the picture below to find out more about Badlands.