Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Writer Wednesday: Victoria Watson
Letting Go is a collection of eight short stories. Each of these tales has a twist that the reader won’t be expecting. Regret and how just one moment or snap decision can change your life forever are key themes in each of these stories.
Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o' paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.
I always carry a notepad and paper around just in case inspiration strikes when I’m away from my laptop but I prefer to type directly onto my laptop. I also use my mobile phone as a way of making notes – if you’re in public, it’s easier than pulling your notebook out of you battered handbag and scribbling. Next time I upgrade my laptop, I’m looking forward to getting a really tiny one so it’ll fit in my handbag – along with my Kindle and god knows what other detritus.
Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?
I listen to music, I listen to the radio, and I watch TV. I’m a big Radio 4 fan so I find that I listen to a range of things while writing – it could be news, drama or something educational. I’m a multi-tasker. If I could read and write at the same time, I would! I think listening to Radio 4 sometimes gives me new ideas though, which is great. I don’t think the other stuff I do when I’m writing influences what I write although if I need to get into a certain mood to write a particular scene, I sometimes listen to a certain song or album. When I need a hit of energy, I like to listen to Beyoncé or Lady Gaga. I’m not well-known for my musical tastes!
Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?
I write while I can so some days could be a full day’s writing and other days it might just be a snatched 15 minutes. Other days, I must confess, I don’t write at all. It’s not as much of a habit as I’d like it to be. But my life isn’t very routine at the moment which is guess is why I don’t have a strict schedule. When I’m lucky enough to have a lot of ideas, I write as much as I can to make the most of it. Also, if I’m thinking about ideas, I find they keep me awake at night so if I have to write to get a decent night’s sleep!
Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?
I’d love for Alan Bennett to give them a read and say he liked them. If Roald Dahl was alive, I’d love for his opinion but sadly that is not longer possible. I respect a lot of authors so I wouldn’t be picky about who read them! I also respect the opinions of the readers so any positive feedback is always a big boost.
Q: On the days where the writing doesn't go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?
I never describe myself as artistic which people often disagree with because they say writing is a form of art. Other arts don’t come easy to me – I always have great ideas but can never put them into practice. I often fantasize about being a TV or radio presenter. I’d love a job like Mariella Frostrup’s – she gets to read books and interview authors and she gets paid for it. How lucky is she?!
Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?
The only books I’ve ever re-read are Talking Heads by Alan Bennett, Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I find that there are so many amazing writers out there that I like to read new books all the time. There are other books, like A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Mark Haddon’s books that I intend to re-read at some point. I get sent a lot of review copies of books by publishers, writers and book stores so I generally end up reading things I don’t necessarily choose but that’s nice in a way as it means I read more books that I wouldn’t choose myself. Often, the only time I read books I choose is when I’m on holiday. I love writers like Roddy Doyle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche as well as Tony Parsons and I really like to read books about cultures I haven’t experienced.
Q: Where did the idea for ‘Letting Go’ come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration?
Letting Go is a collection of my short stories. The common thread through each of the stories is that they hinge on how one moment or choice can change everything. I’m now working on a follow-up collection. I don’t have one way that’s guaranteed to inspire me but if I’m stuck for ideas, I listen to the radio and read the news. Generally, I don’t find issue with getting initial ideas; it’s more like padding out the story that takes a lot of time and effort. What I often do in that circumstance, is spend a lot of time thinking about it before I start typing. They’re the nights that keep me awake.
You can find Victoria on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Visit her blog or check out her author page on Amazon.