I am delighted to welcome
|Published by Keyes Ink|
Josa ~ welcome to Jaffareadstoo and thank you for sharing your thoughts about the writing of
Thinking about what did or didn't happen in the Malabar Caves, in E M Forster's Passage to India.
What can you tell us about the story which will pique the reader's
Sex is not a straightforward thing like a game of tennis for
most women, it has consequences - although the media and much modern fiction
would have you think it is just a bit of 'naughty fun'. I beg to differ.
The women who came to visit my mind when I started writing
Sail Upon the Land had different reactions to those consequences, and not all
straightforward or rose tinted.
Having children is no more or less emotionally devastating
now than it has ever been, although physically it is less alarming due to
Whilst you are writing you must live with your characters.
How do you feel about them when the book is finished? Are they what you
expected them to be?
I never expect anything when I start writing. I have no control
over my characters. When I have finished and go back to read what I have
written, I am always startled by what they get up to. It is like opening a
cupboard and finding clothes you have forgotten about, in which you had
wonderful or dreadful experiences.
Which character in the story did you identify with
None of them, but we can only write sincerely and in a
believable way when we can emotionally understand what is happening to our
characters, however different it might be from our own reactions to life.
Are you a plotter...or ...a start writing and see where it
takes you, sort of writer?
I feel extremely uncomfortable when I read about other
writers with their flow charts, post it notes, excel spreadsheets and bits of
useful software. I do simply write, and hope a first draft is a starting point.
When concentrating, I hold the whole thing in my head - which is a leaky vessel
at the best of times. It is probably hopeless as a technique and is the reason
why I could never teach creative writing - the idea of technique is alien to
There are only a very few plots in the world so everything
one writes falls into one of them. There is nothing left remarkable beneath the
visiting moon perhaps. The only differentiating factor is the writer's 'voice'
- if a reader enjoys that, then they will be carried through that writer's
particular version of whichever plot or plots are before them.
We are all fascinated by our fellow humans, what they get up
to. A good novel should reveal fresh things about our common humanity or
reinforce things we have already thought. It should give rise to thoughts in
the reader's mind that have NOT been thought by the author.
For me, this is the most rewarding thing about writing
fiction. When I read a review where the reader has shared a startling thought
about what I have written that is absolute bliss.
Do you write the type of books you like to read and which
authors influence you?
It was when I read books by Mary Wesley and Marika Cobbold
years ago that I thought maybe I could join in. Wesley is not fashionable now -
due for a revival I think.
There are two books just coming to a simmer in my mind, not
nearly developed enough for sharing yet.
Thank you for having me on your blog!
Josa ~ It was real pleasure to host this interview with you. jaffa and I wish you continued success and look forward to reading your next book before too long.
My thoughts about Sail Upon the Land
Sail upon the Land is a multi generational family saga which, with
great perception and insight, spans over eighty years and allows the stories of
four very different women to be heard. From crumbling stately mansions in middle
England, to the neglected splendour of an abandoned Indian hill station, a
story of a family in turmoil starts to unfold. And, as the all too complex
relationship between mothers and their daughters is opened up to scrutiny, it shows
just how tragically the bonds of motherhood can be eroded by secrets and lies.
There’s heartbreak, tragedy, and despair but also a perceptive understanding of
human nature which is beautifully observed, and so realistically evoked, that I
had to remind myself, whilst reading, that this was indeed fiction and not
Seamlessly moving between past
and present, the author conjures a bygone time with ease and as the story flits
between time frames, a picture emerges of lives ruined by secrets and
overshadowed by hopelessness .There is no doubt that the author has a skill for
storytelling and is able to layer the story so logically that everything
becomes real in the imagination. I found that I had rather more sympathy for
some characters over others, and there’s one in particular who holds a special
place in my heart. I was quite sorry when the story
came to its conclusion as I could have continued reading about this
Overall, I thought this was a fascinating
story and I am so looking forward to seeing what this talented writer comes up