Interviews with Local Writers
S: When and why did you start writing?
Alan: Leg It. Published in 2011. It tells the story of a group of lads growing up in the seventies and eighties. One of them disappears when they leave school and returns fifteen years later for a school reunion. The two stories, the school years and his return are told in parallel and slowly reveal his reasons for leaving and his reasons for coming back. And, Idle Threats. Published August 2015. Whilst this is a sequel to Leg It, it does work as a stand along novel. The story revolves around three main characters. Liam works in a mobile phone call centre and hates every moment of it. Bumper is going bankrupt and has received a massive mobile phone bill. Jodie is an unemployed single mother who is desperate for a job but is hampered by a mobile phone that never works. They are all brought together in an armed siege at Phonetix Mobile. The three diverse characters, along with Security Guard Frank learn to deal with each other in extreme circumstances.
Tom: Sketches/gags with Treason Show, Newsrevue – these were the first thing I had performed after about 3 years of submitting and I continued to write for them for about two years after. Learnt a lot there. Short stories with Novel Magazine, few anthologies and play performed at South Shields library.
Stephanie: I was published in a few anthologies when I was younger, but it wasn’t until my final year of my undergraduate degree that I started to take it seriously. I’ve been published in North East Writer’s Sampler Volume 2 (2014), Material Magazine #8 (2014) and Spectral Visions: Grim Fairy Tales (2015). At the end of the year, I will also be one of twenty-five young writers published in the Electric Reads Young Writers Anthology.
Michelle: I had a poem called First Love published in a small regional magazine when I was in my twenties. I’ve had two short stories published in the first and second Spectral Visions book, first ‘Laura’s Story’ and secondly ‘Dragon’. I’ve also had ‘Thicker Than Watter’ published in another regional magazine, and most recently ‘A Wipers Tale’ was published in the recently launched The Brief.
S: Has your writing been influenced by where you live? If so, how?
Amy: I suppose where I live influences my writing in the fact that life in general is full of stories. However, it is travel that excites me most; it was on a trip to Hampstead in 2013 that I knew it was a place I had to immortalise in writing.
Blaine: I think that every facet of experience eventually feeds into my writing one way or another and place/location/home is central to experience.
Alan: Both of my novels so far have been set in Sunderland. This wasn’t a deliberate decision and they could have been set anywhere but it has given them a sense of authenticity. Leg It especially seems popular with the people of Sunderland as it brings back memories of growing up in the city.
Iain: I think it would be hard for it not to be. Although you won’t always see it on the surface, everything I ever write is influenced by the places I’ve lived in, the people I’ve met, everything I’ve ever done goes into my subconscious. Sometimes things surface in my stories many years on, and in surprising ways.
Glenda: It has certainly been influenced by my childhood in that mam and grandma were Coronation Street fans and I grew up with the show as part of my life.
Colin: Clash was very much inspired by where I live. There is a story in the Author Notes in that book about two separate events that happened when I was a kid. These came together when I was developing the story, and are the reason why a big part of the book is set along the river at Fatfield – but the word “Fatfield” was actually edited out before publication.