Q: When did you start writing?
A: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I recall writing a little magazine for my trolls when I was about 7. I guess I really got the bug when I was about 12, though.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?
A: My favourite writer is Richard Brautigan, who it seems to be socially acceptable to like again. There was a while that you were looked on as some kind of hippie throwback pariah if you liked him, but I still did. His short stories are simple, luminous prose-poetry. I very recently visited San Francisco, and visited all the fanboy locations. Of current writers, I admire Katrina Porteous and Alice Oswald for their engagement with landscape, and place more generally, and I find that the direct, no-nonsense language of Helen Mort and Paul Farley resonates deeply, particularly when it flirts slightly with the fantastic.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: Whenever I’m left alone to get on with it!
Q: Why do you write?
A: Like a lot of writers, it’s a compulsion. I’ve only been publishing a lot for fifteen or so years, but I’ve been writing for well over forty – it’s just something I do. Part of it is, I suppose, that it’s the way I make some sort of sense of the world to myself and, in my tiny way, create a little bit of beauty, I hope.
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
A: There are so many, but a couple that I tend to live by are from Picasso (I know, but they’re transferrable to any creative life …): “You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea” and “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: Apart from wise ol’ Pablo’s comments above, there’s the obvious exhortation to read voraciously, but I’d also say that it’s important to be constantly pushing outside your comfort zone.
Q: Do you have any published books/chapbooks you’d like to talk about?
A: I really enjoy collaborating with artists in all media, and something of which I’m particularly proud is a chapbook called Close as Second Skins (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015), which I co-wrote with Amina Alyal. It’s a tanka sequence we wrote in a truly collaborative manner, which is builds an allusive narrative that draws in themes and tropes from both English and Japanese verse, looking both backwards and to the future. It’s been very well received. We have used it as part of a performance with a guy called Michael Graham, who plays koto and shamisen, with whom we have recorded as Sankakei. The CD’s On an Eastern Breeze (Catchment Recordings, 2014).