On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo
I'm delighted to welcome Paul Lamb to Sunday Brunch
Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Paul. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
A plate of chewy bagels and a savoury cream cheese to spread on them. A bowl of mixed fruit salad. And as much charm and wit as I can muster.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
English breakfast tea, most certainly!
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
Around the kitchen table so we can remain informal, and where I will be perhaps even a little sleepy-eyed and dishevelled from having rising shortly before.
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
Light classical would be nice, please.
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
The incisive American writer Philip Roth and the insightful British writer Iris Murdoch. They will bring our conversation up a notch or two. And perhaps the American futurist Isaac Asimov because he would be able to chat about any subject.
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
Philip Roth’s novel The Ghost Writer. I’ve read it more than twenty times and still find something new with each read. It is the novel I press on others when they want to try Roth.
First Published 1979
When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
For writers, reading is an obligation, so I make time. I guess you could say that all of my reading is for pleasure since I don’t specifically seek works that will influence my style or craft. Nonetheless, any good writing will have some influence, whether I am aware of it or not. There are so many classics I have not read yet, and I wish I had time for all of them, but if I had to pick one, I’d say I’d like to read Don Quixote again, slowly and carefully this time.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
My first novel, One-Match Fire, was directly inspired by the little cabin I have on the edge of the Ozark Mountains in the state of Missouri. I wrote a story about a man with a cabin as a kind of instruction for what I wanted my children to do with my cabin when I was gone. That resulted in other stories about the place and the characters, which grew into a novel. I have set that novel at a cabin much like mine, and the story that transpires there is my ideal of what such a place can bring out in people.
For my short stories, I wish I could identify where the inspiration comes from. Often it is some unlikely source, such as an overheard comment or clever turn of phrase, or from shower thoughts that I must keep repeating in my head until I can finish up, dry off, and write them down. Inspiration is a mysterious thing to me, and I suppose I don’t really want to know too well how it works.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I do all of my writing in a repurposed bedroom in my house. I have my table and chair and laptop and space for my pitcher of iced tea (unsweetened, of course). I listen to brown noise to help my concentration, and then I let my fingers fly across the keyboard.
I generally have a notepad and pencil near me when I’m not writing so I can jot down little ideas that come to me in random moments. Unfortunately, I’ve found that I cannot write at my cabin – there’s too much going on in the forest! – but I have notepads there too.
My guess would be that winter writing is easier for me since I will likely don a warm pair of sweats and a soft, voluminous hoodie. Cocooned like that, I can better focus on my struggle with words.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
I have the dubious benefit of not writing to deadlines. This allows me to pick at stories when I feel inclined, which probably causes them to take much longer to finish than should be the case. I have grown disciplined when I am before my computer, and I do not allow myself too many distractions. Maybe the dog wants to be let out. Someone comes to the door. My phone rings or an urgent email arrives. But for the most part I avoid logging on to the internet or picking a book off the shelf beside me. Because I listen to brown noise when I am writing, I think I am able to keep my focus better. And when the words are flowing, there is little that will distract me.
Back in the days when I was “committing journalism” and had to write to a deadline, I always managed to do it and provide something that the editors liked. I’m not sure how well that would work with creative writing, however, when the solution to a plot problem or a key character development might take months to dawn upon me.
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
A thirst for reading; a drive to clarify and share ideas using words; the right tools, whether that be a laptop, a tablet, or quill and parchment; and enough self-confidence to stay in the chair when the words won’t come.
What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
My novel, One-Match Fire, is a love story about a grandfather, a father, and a son, and the little cabin they are about to lose where they had found peace with each other despite their squabbles and misunderstandings. It involves one-match fires, skinny dipping, clandestine acts of love, running, coming of age, coming out, mistakes, forgiveness, acceptance, and love in its many forms. It is a peek into the emotional lives of men and boys.
|Blue Cedar Press|
Paul, where can we follow you on social media?
Facebook page: Paul Lamb
More about Paul
Paul Lamb lives near Kansas City, but he escapes to his little cabin the Ozark Mountains whenever he gets the chance. He has an M.A. in English from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary journals, and his novel, One-Match Fire, was published by Blue Cedar Press in 2022. He rarely strays far from his laptop.
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