Today on the blog, I have the lovely Jennifer Wilson speaking to me. Jen is a member of my writing groups and has proved herself to be a very talented, versatile writer. In 2014, Jen won first place in Story Tyne. Here, she talks to us about writing.
I’m a marine biologist by training, and am currently working as a marine consultant in Newcastle. I’m passionate about the marine environment, especially the coast, and love living so close to it these days, in Whitley Bay. Outside of work, as well as writing, I’m a bit of a history addict, and enjoy making my own jewellery.
Do you usually write in a particular genre?
In the last couple of years I’ve been writing a lot of poetry, which I had never even considered before, but I enjoy experimenting with different forms, subjects and styles. Beyond poetry, I enjoy writing historical-related fiction.
Tell us how you got interested in writing.
I’ve always been interested in storytelling, since my parents and grandparents used to tell me stories as a child, including those that they had made up themselves. Being an avid reader, I started to think about making up my own stories using characters I liked, then moved on to making up my own characters as well. I dabbled a bit at university, but with studying, never really managed to complete anything. When I started working and moved back to the north-east, I signed up for an evening course at the local high school, and found I still enjoyed it as much as I always had.
Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us about it?
I’ve just finished the second edit of a semi-historical novel, and am already thinking about my next, trying to find a suitable setting for it. I think it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo challenge for this November, so it’s a bit vague at the moment, but will hopefully take shape soon. I’m also working on a collection of poetry, using pieces which have come out of the PoMoSco challenge, writing a ‘found poem’ every day throughout April.
What do you like most about writing?
I enjoy the freedom of creativity, and crafting new pieces from prompts, my experiences etc. In my work, everything has to be referenced, checked and reviewed to make sure we are providing accurate information; with my writing, people may not like it, but it cannot really be ‘wrong’.
What do you like least?
The struggle to find the right word or turn of phrase. And writing synopses. Trying to condense my draft novel into 300 words for a competition nearly killed me!! I was stuck at about 304 words for days.
Do you find time to read? If so, what are you reading at the moment?
I stopped reading for a while, but have recently dug out my Kindle again, and am reading on the way to and from work. I also love a Sunday afternoon curled up with a cup of tea and an old favourite. At the moment, I’m reading ‘Heartstone‘ by CJ Sansom. It’s the second of the series I’ve read, and I know I’m out of order, but a friend leant it to me, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m also dipping out of ‘The World of Richard III‘ by Kristie Dean. The book describes most of the places in the UK and Europe with a connection to Richard, and I’m working my way through to tick off those I’ve already visited.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
Although I only started reading their books in the last couple of years, I would say Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick. Both write fantastic historical fiction, and in particularly the sort I enjoy to write myself, about strong characters, whether real or fictional, and focusing on relationships, not just gory battle details.
When you’re a famous author and you write your autobiography, what will be the title?
What a question!!! I would love to be able to come up with something instantly witty and fabulous, but that’s a really tough one. In an ideal world, it should be something with both aquatic and literary allusions, as I’m hoping my life keeps including both, but honestly, I’m lost.
What’s been your proudest moment as a writer?
I’ve just had a piece published in Peeking Cat Poetry, one of my first pieces to be accepted, and I’m really proud of that. Also, I’m proud of having finished editing my draft novel, as the last time I tried this, the results were awful – this time, I’m genuinely proud of the final outcome.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
I enjoy being creative, so I think I’d be making more jewellery. I don’t think I’d ever want to change my day-job (other than to be a full-time writer), so on that front, I don’t think anything would change.
Where can we find you online?
You can find my blog at https://inkjunkie1984.wordpress.com/, or follow me on Twitter @inkjunkie1984.