My thanks again to Emma for getting involved and reviewing her 2015.
2015 was a fab year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
Without a doubt, that would be having my short story “Mine” published in the American erotica anthology, “Coming Together; Strange Shifters“. I fell hard for the characters as I wrote the story, and even though it is very slice-of-life, I genuinely think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. I was thrilled when the editor contacted me to say she would be honoured to include it in the anthology. It’s a wonderful collection, with some incredible stories – and it’s all for charity! Since then, my Were-Panther protagonist, Shasta, has wormed her way into my heart, and I don’t think I’ve seen the last of her in my work…
And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?
I went to Bruges in February with a friend of mine that I don’t spend as much time with as I’d like to, and we had a lovely four-day adventure together. There is a wonderful statue in Burg Square, called “The Lovers” – it’s a metal sculpture by two local artists, of a man and woman dancing together. They’re dressed in Harlequin masks, and are just about to kiss. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I became besotted with it – much to the chagrin of my friend, who was more interested in the much older, grander architecture around it. One night, before we went for dinner, I stopped off at “The Lovers” to write. It was dusk, and as I sat down, the bells of Bruges began to chime, and the lights around the sculpture flickered into life. It was like the lovers were taking to the stage to dance. It took my breath away.
Favourite book in 2015?
The book that instantly comes to mind is “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler. I’ve always been fascinated by the very thin line between animal and human, and this book – about a family who adopted a chimpanzee and attempted to raise it as a human – takes a fascinating look at that divide through the lens of guilt, memory, love, and what really makes a family dysfunctional. Its all based on actual cases of human/chimp experiments, such as the famous Nim Chimpsky, and the chapter where the narrator lists their real-life fates is quietly heartbreaking.
Favourite film of 2015?
“Whiplash.” Wow, what a film. Both me and my boyfriend are very driven and very creative, so we were totally absorbed in the story of one man’s obsession with his craft. It’s such an intense film, we were drained by the end of it! J.K. Simmons is a force of nature, and gives an incredible performance. There’s a fine line between genius and madness, and “Whiplash” forces you to watch as someone sends themselves careening over that line – to the point where they ruin their lives in the pursuit of perfection.
Favourite song of the year?
It wasn’t released this year, but 2015 has been dominated by “Take Me To Church” by Hozier. His music is everything I aspire to in my writing – dark, sexy, strange and totally unique. “Take Me To Church” pulses with religion, lust, passionate worship…it’s just perfect. Hozier’s music is my go-to “blocking out the world so I can write” music.
Any downsides for you in 2015?
It has been a hard year for me personally. I have changed jobs twice, and lost two family members within almost exactly 12 months of each other. It has been very difficult, and I’ve had some anxiety issues because of it. But, through all of the adversity, I’ve been supported by my wonderful friends in the writing and poetry scene, and my incredible partner. I’ve never felt alone through any of it, and I want to take a moment to thank them all. Every silly night out, every message of support – I’m so thankful for all of it.
Are you making resolutions for 2016?
Keep writing! I have the beginnings of my first novel in the works, so I need to keep chipping away at that until it becomes something of substance. I’m a short story writer at heart, so writing 40,000 words on one story, while not neglecting my poetry and flash fiction urges, is a daunting task – but a rewarding one. I also really want to get back into spoken word and poetry nights properly. Something that started out as a chance to “network” and get my work out there has blossomed into my main form of socialising, and I love watching my friends try out their work and grow as creatives. I love to perform, and even if it is more of a hobby for me than for some of the poets I know, I want the scene to flourish and keep getting bigger, better and more exciting!
What are you hoping for from 2016?
I’m hoping for love, luck, hope and success. I don’t know what forms they will take, and I don’t want to. I want to let the next year take whatever form it will, and work it all out as I go.