Daily Archives: November 18, 2011

Review: ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes.

Tony Webster was a part of a three-lad clique until the enigmatic Adrian Finn appeared at their school. From then on, their sex-starved, book-hungry group had a new member who was more intelligent and sophisticated than the rest of them. The usual banter, wit and friendly competition was a staple of their friendship and, on their departure to different universities, the foursome agree to remain lifelong friends.

Now in middle age, Tony is divorced, has had a satisfying career and believes he has never hurt anyone, even his divorce was calm. However, Tony is about to realise that memory is not as perfect as he once believed. All that Tony held true is about to be thrown into question by a surprise letter from a solicitor.

‘The Sense of an Ending’ won the Booker Prize this year and it is a very worthy winner. It’s a simply told tale, with an intelligent but fallible narrator. Tony’s narration is so matter of fact that you never have any reason to question him. I really enjoyed this unusual story.

Vic x

Get your copy of ‘The Sense of an Ending’ here: http://amzn.to/tWNWJh


Getting to know you: Graham Taylor

Today I have a very special guest on the blog. Former class-mate of mine, Graham Taylor has spared a few minutes to chat to the blog. Enjoy.

Tell us how you got into writing.

Writing has always been an interest of mine, even going back to my school days. I think I had quite an active imagination acting out stories with my toy soldiers & Star Wars figures and when I got a little older I started writing some of them down.

The poetry and song lyrics came a little later, maybe about 16 and continued for several years before I returned to writing stories in my 20’s.

Describe for our readers the genre(s) you write in and why they appeal to you as a writer.

I wouldn’t say I was any one type of author, as I like to write about different things at different times and generally try not to write two of the same type/style of story in a row.

I tend to write short, fast moving stories, very often sticking to present tense ‘as it unfolds action’ narrated in the first person, which I feel gives it that edge that short stories need, making them more exciting. Of course this is an art in itself and I’m still working very hard to achieve this.

What inspires you to write?

A combination of things I guess, including things/events I remember from my childhood, including stories I remember family members telling me.

More recently I often get ideas for stories when I’m busy doing something else, such as watching a movie or reading a book, sometimes someone will say something trying a conversation that will trigger an idea. It’s quite bizarre really and very exciting.

Do you have time to read? If so, what are you reading at the moment? Do you have a favourite all-time read?

Where possible I do try and read and am currently jumping between the second book in the Harry Potter series and ‘Post-Mortem’ by Patricia Cornwell.

A favourite all-time read? That’s a very difficult question, but I think there’s lots of books I’d certainly recommend including: ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey, ‘Something Happened’ & ‘Catch-22’ both by Joseph Heller, ‘Kane & Abel’ by Jeffery Archer and ‘The Rainmaker’ by John Grisham and if I had to pick one all-time read ‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt would have to be it.

Which author(s) would you say have most influenced your writing?

Alan Warner’s ‘Morvern Caller’ influenced me a great deal in my earlier days at MA. I adopted a similar style writing my first short story ‘Bringing Home The Baconwhich is due to be published in an anthology in January 2012.

Jeffery Archer also stands out, I referred to his collection of short stories ‘A Twist In The Tail’ quite a lot while I was writing my MA dissertation pieces.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I’m experimenting with several ideas at the moment that might see the return of several of my characters including ‘Darryl’ from ‘Ten Things I Discovered This Weekend’ and the Grim Reaper himself ‘Mr Death’ from ‘Balancing The Books’.

What are your hopes for the future?

To continue practicing my craft and hopefully become a better writer, which will in turn help to expand my collection of work.

Once I feel confident enough I would like to work with writing projects close to my heart that help, support and encourage people with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia to write.

I would also like to write a novel at some point, so that is something I will certainly be planning in 2012, perhaps starting with a novella series.

Where can you be found online?

I can currently be found on Goodreads.com and Facebook.com. I also intend to develop a website sometime.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never stop writing, read as much as you can, carry a notepad everywhere you go, so that you can write down those ideas when they come.

Don’t be afraid to let people read your work and ask for feedback.

Experiment with the different genres to find one that suits you. Don’t limit yourself to the security of writing about what you know. Do explore new ideas, set goals, bite-sized chunks.

Most importantly have fun and the magic will flow.

What do you most like about writing? What do you dislike?

I like the process/construction in general I guess. I like creating new characters and sending them out like Christopher Columbus or Captain Kirk on journeys into new worlds or situations, where I can tag along and explore vicariously and add the occasional cross road or alien invasion.

I don’t like the frustration that often accompanies the writing process and the inevitable lockdown of ideas that often tags along. I can be quite impatient at times and want to finish work quickly but I’m not as tough on myself as I used to be and find deadlines can be useful.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

Very tough question, but I think one of my strengths has to be my imagination, as without that, there really wouldn’t be anything written down on the page at all. I continue to fuel it with movies, books and songs and anything else really that has a story to tell. On the flipside of course, it can be difficult at times putting into words what I’m picturing in my mind’s eye and this is something I’m forever wrestling with to get right.

Thanks again to Graham for being involved today.

Vic x