Thursday, 27 September 2018

Interview with Philippa Rae

It is my great pleasure to welcome Philippa Rae to my blog. We are publishing a series of Philippa's children's books and the first one will be out soon. The picture below is of Wilma the Witch.

Wilma the Witch, artist Ashleigh James

What do you write? Why this in particular?

I love to write children's stories - my background has been mainly short stories and poetry, though I have quite a few half finished bigger projects then I want to finish by this year.  Being an impatient type I enjoyed the short form because they were finished quicker and you got instant results whereas a longer piece takes a lot of effort and work and a lot of discipline.

Because I come from a radio background of short stories, I find that my natural inclination is to write short stories which can be developed into early readers and chapter books. I actually find picture books quite hard and think many people who don't understand about writing underestimate their craft.


What got you started on writing in the first place?

When I was at Primary School I used to spend lunchtimes writing trying my hand at stories inspired from the Lord of Rings.  But then as I grew up I went off in another direction with dancing and working in the media.  I started to get an interest back many years later when I was producing some children's books into audio stories and wrote a few short stories for my own programmes.  As I had always got a buzz from entering dance competitions as a child and dance teacher, I entered a few writing ones - as I enjoyed the instant buzz to inspire me.  Whereas more often than not writing is a slower process the whole way through from concept to publication and for most people takes time to build.


Do you have a particular routine?

No, but I know that the most successful writers are those that dedicate time and effort regularly however they are feeling - either personally or waiting for inspiration to strike.  Writing has been put back on the back burner for me and unlike some very inspirational individuals I can't write when I am worried - it has the reverse effect on me! 

And my personality type having worked on shows and events likes the buzz from working and connection others so strangely enough it is this which is at odds with the creative process of writing. 
Writing is at least  a solitary activity though obviously other people's  input as you develop the piece is very important.I know that to be more successful and get more published I should write more - the harder you work generally the more you would have and I don't have any worries about that - I just find that I have a personality at odds with writing's nature! I frequently berate myself for getting writers block or not just simply sitting and writing regularly - it will be a new year's resolution.

Do you have a dedicated working space?

Not really.  But for some reason I enjoy writing by hand first and then writing it up on the computer. 

When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?

 I don't really think of myself as a writer though I have been fortunate to write in different genres because I haven't dedicated enough time to it and there are so many excellent writers out there.  Writing takes many forms and I do enjoy trying them.  I still rely on the advice of others and enjoy going to classes - the publishing industry is like any other with changes in what is popular (though classics always endure) to get  input from others.

How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?

There is a lack of understanding about how the writing industry works or the processes that most writers go through.  Most people see highly successful full time writers and don't realise that for most others is a part time endeavour that people enjoy as a side line.  Lack of reviews from friends though not paramount to the success of a piece as it is impartial reviews you want, can still be a bit disappointing.

I also think they overestimate how much writers get paid!  Again most do it because they like it and enjoy sharing their ideas with people.

Also the effort so many writers have to put in visiting schools and doing promotional work.  It is highly competitive and there is an element of right desk right time as with anything - I think that's why I write short pieces - the thought of spending a year on a big work only to see someone pip you to the post with that idea!!! Again down to my nature!  Which is another reason some people don't understand why I haven't written more books - again I just haven't!

What are you most proud of in your writing?

I enjoy entering competitions and am thrilled to get recognition for different genres even if I haven't always won.  It is always a nice feeling to get some appreciation from someone who doesn't know you and it does encourage you to finish that piece that has been lurking in your files for a year!

I am always delighted when anyone likes something enough I have written to publish it in any form and have been involved in some lovely projects with some amazing writers and entrepreneurs.

How do you get on with editing and research?

With the sort of writing I have done, this hasn't always been a priority but they do say you learn more in the editing process.  I cringe at some of my earlier pieces as I came from a oral storytelling background rather than focusing on words and I have found that attending classes has helped me to understand better techniques.

Do you have any goals for the future?

I do have some bigger projects - a couple of poetry anthologies, a couple of half written longer books and some animations that I would like to finish and get out to the world.  And so many short stories that have been started and not finished!

Which writers have inspired you

Writers come from all walks of life, that is the beauty - some study writing formally, others come from the university of life.  I wouldn't like to single anyone out but overall because I am aware of the incongruency between my personality and the work ethnic needed by successful writers, I salute their dedication and ability to toil away to produce work.

Like any art or creative form you do take time to get used to rejections and it is annoying when you finally get inspired and come up with an idea only to see someone else do it!

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