My guest on my blog this month is contemporary novelist Pauline Barclay, who has flown in from warmer climes to tell me a little about herself and her approach to writing.
Do sit down and have a chocolate biscuit or several, Pauline. I’ve got some mulled wine for us, too – it keeps out the cold!
Thank you so much, Margaret, for having me here, it is wonderful, a tad chilly compared to where I live, but with your heating on high, I'm snuggly.
When and how and why did you start to write fiction?
I've been writing for most of my life. When I was younger I wrote poems and at the age of 11 I wrote a song that was sung by my class on Parents’ Day! Over the years I've written around 15 short stores and six full length novels. The first two novels are confined to the archive on my laptop! As for the short stories, one of these was dusted down, re-written and edited by my editor for Christmas. Maybe in the future I will delve back into the archives and take another peek. As for how I got into writing fiction, I can’t really remember. I have always had an over-imaginative mind. My mother often said to me when I was younger, "Pauline, you're in a world of your own!"
Do you come from a creative or artistic family or are you the odd one out?
My mum used to be creative, not writing but making things. When my sister and I were young, she made many of our dresses and knitted all our jumpers and cardigans, often from her own designs. In later years she made soft furnishings, foot stools etc. One of my brothers loves to cook and is very creative with his cooking. I am the only writer so far!
What time of day do you write - morning, afternoon, evening, any time?
I tend to write in the afternoon when I have dealt with all my other responsibilities. Otherwise all I have to do would peck away at my head and I wouldn't be able to concentrate.
What's your favourite part of the writing process - planning, writing the first draft, editing?
I enjoy it all, though I do enjoy the first draft and the editing process. Planning to me is ongoing. The main plot is there, but as my characters grow and become real they often take me down a road or into a situation I had not initially planned.
What are you working on now?
I am working on book 5, sorry no title yet, not even a working one! This book has been a challenge so far, but it is slowly moulding itself into something I am feeling more and more confident with. I'm about half way with the first draft on my laptop, but the plot is complete in my head!
What's your best advice for anyone starting to write fiction?
Oh I don’t think I am one to give advice, only to say have a go and whatever you do enjoy it. Should you want to take it to publication, then make sure you use a professional editor, not only will they help polish your book, but they will teach you a great deal on how to write your story beautifully.
Five quick questions:
Cat or dog or budgie person or no pets at all?
Dog without hesitation, we have two gorgeous doggies.
What precious possession would you save from a flood?
This is tough, and I'm assuming we are not talking people or pets, so I'm going to say my laptop.
Who is your major literary inspiration?
Mmm, not sure I can answer this! There are many, but I would like to add one lady author who has been an inspiration to me and took me under her wing a few years back and that is historical novelist Helen Hollick
What, if anything, stops you writing and thinking about writing - hobbies, R&R, sleep, nothing?
Sometimes I wish I could just switch off, but I rarely do and there is always something that triggers further thoughts on my writing. I am a sad case I think!
What are your writing ambitions?
Now this is a dream, I would love to be successful and dare to dream of having a best seller.
Thank you, Pauline – it’s been great to talk to you!http://www.pinterest.com/paulinembarclay/boards/