Tag Archives: films

Review of 2017: Geraldine Ward

Geraldine Ward is another writer I have “known” online for many years. I haven’t yet had the opportunity of meeting her in the flesh yet but I really appreciate her taking the time to review her year. 

Please check back later today for our penultimate 2017 review. 

Vic x

My favourite memory from a professional perspective this year has to be appearing on BBC Radio Four’s Front Row on a podcast broadcast discussing NANOWRIMO. This was especially sweet because I was only one of three people picked in the whole country, in this instance for my region, Kent, out of the NANOWRIMO entrants and apparently there had been a lot of people applying to go for a slot on the show. Enough of the boasting, moving on!

A general favourite moment of 2017 is still writing related. This was reading one of my stories, The Fish With No Lips, from my book, Mark’s Magic Farmyard and Other Stories at the infants’ assembly at my son’s school. I have never read my work out to so many people so was quite nervous even though they were children. I have to say it was a great pleasure doing this and was very impressed how well the children listened and paid attention. I am also extremely grateful to the Deputy Head who gave me the opportunity to basically run the assembly!

My favourite book that I have read this year is not a contemporary one, written by Zora Neale Hurston called Their Eyes were Watching God. I loved the originality of Hurston’s voice and the heroine in it is an incredible character. Well worth reading.

I have watched very few films this year, so I am a bit light on that front I am afraid although I really enjoyed going to the cinema with my son, Sam to watch The BFG. An unexpected treat!

There have been some good songs this year. My guilty pleasure is Little Mix. However, I really enjoyed listening to Rag’n’Bone Man, Human. Love that one.

Downsides this year have to be breaking my foot twice. First time it was my right foot, then my left foot, this time my ankle. I am hoping there won’t be another injury on the cards, being a bit superstitious about things “going in threes”.

I am not making any New Year’s resolutions. There is no point as I don’t ever keep them. My only hope would be not to have another injury and survive the next year intact and in one piece.

You can find Geraldine on Twitter and Facebook

 

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Review of 2017: LJ Ross

Two years ago, I was invited a fabulous party to celebrate the release of a wonderful woman’s second book. That book was ‘Sycamore Gap‘ by LJ Ross.  

Today, the seventh book in the DCI Ryan series – ‘Dark Skies‘ – is released and I cannot wait to read it!  Louise is a prolific writer and she deserves every success, it is a pleasure to know her. 

For those of you who are based in the North East, I will be interviewing LJ Ross at Wallsend Library on Thursday, 22nd February. Tickets can be obtained from North Tyneside libraries. 

Vic x

 

Picture by Gareth Iwan Jones

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
This has been an incredible year for DCI Ryan and I’m so grateful to all my readers. It’s hard to pick any one memory in particular, but it was an incredible feeling to have two of my books (Cragside and Dark Skies) reach UK #1 whilst still on pre-order and all seven books to be in the top 100 at the same time.

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
We just got the keys for our new house in Northumberland, which is a special moment. It’s the first time in years I’ve been able to make a permanent move back to my home county, which I love, and it means I can be close to my family and my son can be near his grandparents.

Favourite book in 2017?
It isn’t a newly-released book, but I read The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson and thought it was excellent. The prose is crisp and manages to convey meaning without being unnecessarily wordy. It was also an excellent, claustrophobic study of how to write a book from the perspective of the killer.

Favourite film in 2017?
I’ve hardly found time to watch any films this year (which sounds very depressing!). However, I watched some goofy movies like Snatched with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. It wasn’t a great movie, but I’m a huge fan of Goldie so she can do no wrong in my eyes… I tend to watch old black and white movies like The 39 Steps, which I love.

Favourite song of the year?
I think my musical frame of reference stopped somewhere back in 2005 but, if we’re going by the song I’ve listened to most frequently this year, it would have to be anything from the Rocky IV soundtrack!

Any downsides for you in 2017?
I’m not sure if it is a true ‘downside’ but I’ve been incredibly busy and haven’t read as many books as I’d like – which I intend to rectify in the near future!

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
I always resolve to be the best person I can be, whether as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister or a friend. That’s always a good goal.

What are you hoping for from 2018?
I’m hoping I won’t wake up and find it was all a wonderful dream! I want to write more stories and travel.

Review of 2015: Jennifer C. Wilson

Today sees the beginning of a hat trick of 2015 Reviews by members of my writing groupsThe lovely Jennifer C Wilson starts us off and I’m thrilled that she’s on the blog today to review her rather special 2015.

Vic x

Jennifer C Wilson2015 was quite a year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

It has to be the 6th June. In August this year, I ran my first writing workshop, and had been over to Arbeia, the planned location, to scope things out, so I was already in a very ‘writerly’ place. On the Metro home, I got the email from Crooked Cat Publishing, saying that they had enjoyed the manuscript I’d sent them, and would like to sign me up for my debut novel, ‘Kindred Spirits: Tower of London. I think I’d go so far as to say that it is the best thing that has happened to me as a writer in any year so far, let alone just 2015! I’ve wanted to have a novel published since I was a child, so I was just delirious when it happened. I went straight out and bought Prosecco and pizza to celebrate…

Kindred Spirits: Tower of London

And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?

I think it has to be linked to the novel really – my whole year has been based around ‘Kindred Spirits’ since I submitted it, to be honest.

Crooked Cat held a day for their authors back in July, and as a brand new member of the team, I was invited along. It was such a fantastic day, spending the whole day in the company of my new publishing colleagues, hearing about the editing process in detail, and being given an insight into how best to use social media as a writer. It really made me feel a part of the writing world, and made me realise just how much I love that world.

Favourite book in 2015?

I really enjoyed reading ‘Macbeth: A True Story‘, but Fiona Watson, published in 2010. I bought it ages ago, but finally got around to reading it, and am so glad I did. Obviously, I’ve always known that Shakespeare’s version of ‘Macbeth bore very little similarly to the real man, but to read his biography (granted, still a bit hazy, due to the mists of time), and put him in the context of the developing notion of ‘Scotland’ was really interesting.

Favourite film of 2015?

I’m not really a film person, and am definitely not a cinema person (last film I went to see in an actual cinema was ‘Johnny English Reborn in 2011). So I’ll have to go for the same logic as above, and pick a film I’ve seen, rather than one which came out. Last Christmas, I sat down to watch ‘Skyfall, and really enjoyed it, so I think I’ll go for that one (only a couple of years late to the party!). I have to be honest and say I’ve not seen any of Daniel Craig’s other Bond films, as they seem to have taken a darker turn, and I prefer my Timothy Dalton era, but I thought it was fast-paced, not too gory, and had a great plot to it. Nice to see the Scottish highlands featuring too, albeit as the location for a very sad event.

Favourite song of the year?

Love is a Drug, by Markus Feehily. I’m a massive boyband fan, with Boyzone and Westlife being top of that list, so when Markus released his first single earlier this year, I was really chuffed to have more of his music to listen to.

Any downsides for you in 2015?

A few genuinely sad events did happen in 2015, but those who know me, know what they’ve been, so I’ll focus on a stupid sad event, from July. My friend Karen and I went up to Edinburgh for a Boyzone concert at the Castle, which was fantastic (obviously). Afterwards, we hovered around, as we always do, and suddenly, there’s Ronan Keating, literally 10 metres away from us. And we let him walk past. After 22 years of being fans, we just stood there. Happily, Shane Lynch was a few steps behind, and he was very lovely, but still. Ridiculous.

Are you making resolutions for 2016?

I am! I am going to try and finish NaPoWriMo again this year, and in general, just keep trying new things and be a bit adventurous. From a non-writing perspective, I need to cook more, as I’ve drifted into ‘heating things up’ instead, and I miss using my kitchen properly.

What are you hoping for from 2016?

An extension of 2015… I’ve had some great experiences this year, and am already planning for next year. I’m hoping to go to Swanwick Writers’ School next summer, and spend some time on my own abroad, so I’m hoping there’ll be a lot of writing taking place.

You can read more about Jennifer on her blog.

Review of 2015: Rebecca Muddiman

Talented crime writer Rebecca Muddiman is here to share her ups and downs of 2015. I read ‘Stolen’ in 2013 and absolutely loved her detectives Gardner and Freeman. 

Thanks, Rebecca, for being involved. 

Vic x

Rebecca Muddiman

2015 was another great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

My second book, Gone, coming out was exciting, as was seeing my first book – Stolen – in its German and Russian editions. And being chosen as part of WH Smith’s Fresh Talent campaign was nice.

But the best thing this year has probably been working on new things. As well as a new Gardner and Freeman book, I’ve written a standalone novel which is very different to anything I’ve written before, and I’ve finally started working on a screenplay I’ve wanted to write for about fifteen years and it’s been lovely immersing myself in the research for that.

Gone

And how about a favourite memory from 2015 generally?

Seeing Patti Smith in conversation was fantastic, especially as she brought Lenny Kaye along and they did a set which was a much welcomed bonus.

Favourite book in 2015?

I started keeping a journal of all the books I’ve read this year which is useful for remembering things but now makes it even harder to choose a favourite. I’ve read a lot of amazing crime novels this year especially The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth, Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner and Cop Town by Karin Slaughter. Then there was A God in Ruins by the always wonderful Kate Atkinson, and A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh. Shutterbabe by Deborah Copaken Kogan reignited my fascination with war reporters, as did Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Caroline Moorhead. And lastly a couple of books by two of my heroes – Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band and Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?

Favourite film of 2015?

I watch a lot of films but have a terrible memory (maybe I should make a note of these too) but I loved Suffragette and Mad Max: Fury Road. I enjoyed Slow West a lot more than I’d expected to, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was excellent – the parodies were hilarious. And Men and Chicken was bonkers in a good way.

Favourite song of 2015?

I’ve been listening to a lot of older stuff recently – a lot of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Kate Bush and Magnapop. But I also loved Ryan Adam’s cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989.

Any downsides for you in 2015?

The death of Teesside’s steel industry was depressing, and though the government’s abandonment of the area wasn’t surprising it still makes me angry. Also Hannibal was cancelled.

Are you making resolutions for 2016?

I usually make too many and then fail miserably. But I have been trying to learn Danish this year so maybe I should just focus on that. (It’s not going very well so far. Danish  is really hard.)

stolen

What are you hoping for in 2016?

I’d like to push myself a bit harder with my writing and try new things. And hopefully I’ll finish the screenplay I’m working on. Getting it made would be amazing – it would make me the happiest little writer in the world.

TellMeLies

Stolen and Gone are out now. The third Gardner and Freeman book, Tell Me Lies, is out in March 2016.

https://rebeccamuddiman.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RebeccaMuddiman

https://www.facebook.com/rebeccamuddimanwriter/

Allison Davies reviews her 2013.

Allison Davies is one of the best friends a gal can have. I met her – like Michelle – when we did our Masters together and I am so happy to see how her writing career has progressed since we graduated. Now it’s over to Alli to review her 2013.

Vic x

Allison Davies

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013’s been pretty good so it’s hard to pin down a single favourite, though seeing my debut play Weather to Fly get the full production treatment is definitely up there. OddManOut https://www.facebook.com/oddmanouttheatre?fref=ts and our actors did a brilliant job, we got some lovely reviews and it spurred me on to complete another theatre script which may well get an airing in 2014. There are rustlings in the undergrowth so watch this space. And Weather to Fly is touring again in 2014, in the north east and beyond.

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

Can I have 20? No? OK. 19 then. Over the course of the year I met some wonderful people and enjoyed a shedload of special moments, but one in particular stands out. It’s got nothing to do with celebrity twerkers or royal shoe sizes mind.  I travel to Nepal occasionally with Danusha, the ethical jewellery project that I help run along with a couple of friends. Back in April we were in Kathmandu when one of our jewellery makers brought her disabled son to the workshop – 6 year old Hitesh. He was a shy kid with huge brown eyes, and all I really wanted to do was get him to crack a smile. He had a battered old toy car and I started playing with it. It didn’t take long before Hitesh and I were legging it up and down the balcony, doing our best Ferrari engine noises, and giggling like, well, 6 year olds. It was pretty special.

As adults I think we often discount the power of play, of letting go and just being, and of seeing what comes. Hitesh is my 2013 hero for reminding me about the things that really matter – relationship, humanity, connection, finding joy in the moment.

I do need to give a special mention to Meerkat TC too. Kats, you are outstanding! Your creative company has been a source of energy and laughter throughout the year and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.

Weather

Favourite book in 2013?

It wasn’t published in 2013, but on my birthday a family member took the trouble to send me a copy of When Marnie Was There by Joan G Robinson, which has been on my wish list for years. It was a childhood favourite for reasons I won’t bore you with here. Suffice to say I have very few keepsakes from the first 20 years of my life, so when this arrived in the post I was bowled over, especially as it was the edition my Dad gave me on my 7th birthday.

Favourite film of 2013?

Hmmmm. If you’re talking about films released this year it’s a toss-up between The Invisible Lighthouse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_vGHqIvoHg  and Silver Linings Playbook. I loved the cinematography in Life of Pi too. But the best film I saw in 2013 was Lee Chang-Dong’s Poetry. A moving, powerful, thoughtful story and 100% superb!

Favourite song of the year?

If you’d asked me a couple of months ago I’d have said Take These Bones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8bJu5HEnH0   by Fran Smith. I love belting it out at full bore when I drive the Military Road to Cumbria to visit my Mum. But then November came and Pharrell Williams released this understated groove http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM which makes me grin every time I hear it. And then there’s Arcade Fire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E0fVfectDo and Alt-J and Nick Cave and London Grammar and Daughter and Thundercat and… Well, you get the picture.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Nothing major. A few health niggles, and a few people behaving like knackas at times. Grrrrr!  (knacka: Geordie term of mild abuse, meaning idiot, dipstick, plonker. Also testicle. Make of that what you will.)

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

In common with many of your reviewers I don’t really do resolutions, though I’ve come up with a few simple rules for living. Eat more cake. Don’t forget to play. Learn something new. Try not to be a knacka. When, inevitably, you behave like a knacka, apologise. Forgive other people when they behave like knackas, even if it costs you to do it, or alternatively, bop ‘em on the nose with a frozen kipper.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

It would be wonderful if people took a bit more responsibility for their consumption of resources, cared for each other and the planet and lobbied for fair working conditions for those who manufacture the stuff we wear, eat etc. (I’m looking in the mirror here.) We could all do with being more open, and less mean spirited, and I get really angry at some of the things I hear people say about their fellow human beings. Oh, don’t get me started or we’ll be hear all day.

Oh yeah, this is meant to be about writing, isn’t it? Well then, I’d like to get better at it as there’s always something new to learn. I’m interested in working collaboratively so am open to opportunities for that. The magic gets turned all the way up to 11 when there’s more than one person in the room. Otherwise it’s just me at my desk, talking to the people in my head. Cue chicken noises.

I often find it hard to concentrate on one thing at a time, so in 2014 I’d like to be a bit more focussed about life in general. I’ve been practicing meditation (mindfulness, breath) for a while now and I find it incredibly helpful.


If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

I’m spending Christmas and New Year in India which is fab, but I do miss my friends back home, not to mention long walks on bright, cold beaches. So if you’re reading this Mr Santa and if your tuk tuk does late deliveries, please deliver the sound of the North Sea at Druridge Bay when the wind’s blowing easterly and the waves tear up the beach, along with a massive hug from my friends.

I guess what I’m really asking for is a little soul warmth to end the year.

Callum Gibson reviews his 2013.

During my Masters, I met lots of great writers. One of those people was Callum Gibson. Here’s Callum to chat about his highs ‘n’ lows of 2013.

Vic x

Callum Gibson

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013’s been a funny year for me, writing-wise as my projects have flitted around all over the place. First off I published a psych-horror novel – ‘House!’ with Good Guy Publishing. It was a book that had been giving me a little trouble, and took so much longer to finish than I first thought it would, and getting it done and out there was a pretty big deal for me.

Second up, after the grueling task that writing ‘House!’ had become (don’t worry, I’m assured that reading it is a lot less miserably ponderous) I took a change of pace and wrote a novel called ‘The Rubber Spider’. It’s a kids book – first love, best holiday, witnessing the breakdown of an adult relationship, nightmares, yaddah yaddah – and it’s also the first time that I’ve ever written about my Grandma and Granddad. I’m not normally one to rap about my own scribblings, but I think it’s kind of wonderful in its own little way. It needs a polish, but that’s what 2014’s for.

And third up I rewrote the novel that got me through my MA in Creative Writing, ‘Knowin’ Jack’. When I first wrote it a couple of years ago, I thought – in all my ignorant arrogance – that it was done, but going back to it was really kind of groovy as I totally pulled it to bits, put it back together, and I think it’s all the stronger for it… and hopefully the agents, publishers, Hollywood, and everybody else in the world will agree.

Amongst all this I published a collection of all my works for Good Guy entitled ‘The Black Cover Books’, which involved reworking the previously published works and writing a new short which I totally dug doing, even though some of the older stuff was a little angrier and scrappy than I remember.

And then, after all that, to cap off the year, I’m taking part in two anthologies of shorts. One is called ‘The Tempting Providence Collection’ and I appear there with a strange little tale named ‘Dear Michelle’, and then a second one where Good Guy is reforming my graduating class and we each have a punt at telling a uni-related tale.

So my favorite moment of 2013? I’m not sure. I just got a PS4 for Christmas… that was really cool.

How about a favourite memory from 2013 in general?

This year I managed to land the lady of my dreams (stop laughing at the back), so the whole year’s been more awesome than I have the skill to say. We did go to New York City for a week which was thoroughly bitching, so yeah, I think I’ll say that. But that was only seven days in a year when the other 358 have been just as magical (Hey, I said stop laughing!).

 

Favourite book in 2013?

I’ve written a lot this year, so my reading’s taken a bit of a hit, but I’ve started wrestling with ‘Game of Thrones’ (I like it but… I don’t know), and it’s pretty cool, if not a little rambling. I loved ‘Doctor Sleep’ because it was by the master and who didn’t want to find out what happened to Danny Torrance? I got a huge kick out of ‘Spud: Exit Pursued by a Bear’, which rounds off Van De Ruit’s chronicles of a young boy’s time at a South African boarding school. But I have to say that my favourite book this year has to be ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King. I read it in two afternoons in the sun lying in my garden, and boy is it a work of art. Small and personal, hilarious and terrifying, ‘Joyland’ shows King at his best since maybe ‘From a Buick 8’, and it was a joy to sup Buds, smoke butts, and  try and hang on to the ride.

 

Favourite film of 2013?

2013’s been a funny old year for movies in that there’s been a bunch of cool looking stuff come out, but most of it’s sucked. ‘Iron Man 3’ was pretty awesome, but I was going to like that even if it was as terrible as, say, ‘Iron man 2’, because it was written and directed by Shane Black and I have the biggest dude-crush on that guy and his wittily written banter (Seriously, go watch ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’… you’re welcome). ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ achieved the impossible and was crappier than its infinitely crappy title would suggest. I liked the ‘Evil Dead’ remake (it was groovy, nooch). But you know the flick that really got me going? It was a small release called ‘Side Effects’. Not only did it blow me away, it also made me not hate Jude Law as much as I always have. No mean feat, I tells ya.

 

Favourite song of the year?

Any of y’all ever play a videogame called ‘The Last of Us?’ developed by Naughty Dog (the cats who knocked ‘Crash Bandicoot’, ‘Jak & Daxter’, and most recently ‘Uncharted’ out of the park) and released in the summer, ‘The Last of Us’ is a game like no other in that it takes great pleasure of emotionally walloping you in your heaving guts as it breaks your heart, pulls it from your yelping mouth, spits on it, and then feeds it back into your mewling maw… Anyway, the game was amazing and the soundtrack kicked ass too. So I want to say that, though I don’t know if it counts. If it doesn’t then we’ll go with that tune by AWOL Nation that played over ‘The Councilor’ (a flick so cold that even the snowman’s junk shrunk in the theatre) trailer. It didn’t come out this year, but 2013 is the year it came to my attention. And if that doesn’t count then I’ll say ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus… the chick’s all naked and such in the video. Oh, ‘True Love’ by P!nk and what’sherface. That reminds me of my lady. I like that.

 

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Yeah, I suppose. I still consider myself a struggling writer who has the same job as I did when I was at school. And I hate that. Jessica tells me not to be silly but sometimes… (I know I’m not allowed to swear hear so if you could just imagine me sighing whilst saying a word that begins with ‘fu’ and ends in ‘ck’ that would be grand). Yeah, that gets me down. But we’ll see. And, like I said, 2013 has literally been the best life of my life… and I mean that. Completely and utterly.

 

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Yeah, probably. Will I stick to them? I’m not sure. I’m a big fan of cigarettes and whisky, and I’ve thought about quitting the former a few times but… I just love ‘em so much. I don’t want to sound like a church-fete tea-towel but I also want to really go for stuff, y’know? Like, regardless if it’s out of my comfort zone and such… but, y’know, losing a little weight and firming up the moobs would be good enough.

 

What are you hoping for from 2014?

Me and my lady are buying a house and I can’t wait for that. We’re also going to Rhodes for a holiday in May. I’m also going to read ‘The Divine Comedy’… and probably ‘It’ for the hundredth time. I have the afore-mentioned uni-short to finish, and I also have an idea for a novel which, when I’m not rocking the new box of tricks from Sony, I’m hopefully going to write. I’d also like to rewrite ‘The Rubber Spider’ and sell it. I need the money (who doesn’t?) but I think it’s a good enough tale to be told, and that it has a little something to say that might be worth listening to. I’m also going to rewrite ‘Knowin’ Jack: Older! Wiser? and finally I’d like to get on the PGCE course for teaching primary school kids. So y’all keep your fingers crossed for me, y’hear?

If you’re interested in reading a few dark tales that are both horrifying and humorous then peep the link before. You’ll also see a picture of my face, which is just as horrifying and hideous as my work. I apologise for that, but Amazon like an Author Pic like you read about. Anyway, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Callum-Gibson/e/B007VBJ3VS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1388113960&sr=8-2

Or you can follow me on Twitter at @CGibsonWrites.

Or you can hit me up on Facebook (I’m the Callum Gibson with his head superimposed on a Die Hard 4.0 poster).

Angela Readman reviews her 2013.

Today I have one of my Facebook friends reviewing her very successful 2013. Here’s the lovely Angela Readman to tell you all about it.
Vic x
Angela Readman
2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
The best thing for me this year was winning the Mslexia Poetry Competition. If I’m honest, I’d just about given up my poetry ambitions (I know, I’m probably not supposed to be honest, but writing life has lows as well as highs, you get floored sometimes- cry a bit, then get back up, grab a pen.) I changed my attitude to poetry a few years ago; I didn’t have a publisher and had to ask myself why. It could only be because I wasn’t good enough. It was hard. Then I won the Mslexia Poetry Competition. It’s wasn’t just a win for me, it has challenged my whole belief system.
And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? (e.g. Royal baby, etc)
I desperately wish I could think of one, if I think of the year, I see poverty, food banks, libraries closing, people freezing, families forced out of their homes. I haven’t felt this sort of constant worry about ordinary people since I was little and worried about war. I did love the November 5th protests though. There was one photograph of a couple in Guy Fawkes masks kissing. That nails it for me, in the end, it’s all about is about people, it’s a shame our society has kind of forgotten that.
Favourite book in 2013?
This year I read a short story a day. My favourite books were Aimee Bender’s new short story collection ‘The Color Master‘, and George Saunder’s ‘The Tenth of December‘. I love all of Bender’s collections, but Saunders was new to me. I read ‘The Tenth of December’, then read all his work, ‘Pastoralia‘ blew me away too. These are the stories I know I’ll have to read again. I’m read already dipping into ‘The Tenth of December’ for the second time!
Favourite film of 2013?
The one I was most looking forward to was Kickass 2, but the one that stuck with me is Blackfish. I haven’t seen as many as I’d like yet. Every year between Christmas and New Year we hire as many films from the year as we can and just have a filmfest. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to see Violet & Daisy.
Favourite song of the year?
I’m funny with songs, sometimes I listen to one again and again, I become interested in a narrative beyond the lyrics, a secret story I must unravel. My favourite album this year was Neko Case, but my story songs are by bands I don’t know. One song I loved this year is ‘Bird in Another Tree‘ by The Good Mad. It makes me smile. Another is Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker’s ‘Fire and Fortune‘. There’s something haunting about it that scares me a little, I have to keep listening to it to try and understand what it is!
Any downsides for you in 2013?
It’s felt slow. Last year, I was doing flash fiction and getting it around, but this year I’ve had to step back. I started the year with this huge secret of being short listed in the Costa Short Story prize for my story ‘Don’t Try This at Home’. As wonderful as it was, it meant I had to step away from Twitter. I didn’t want to blurt it out or see anyone discussing the stories! I’ve missed a writing community though, and the affirmation of getting work out, but it felt like it was time to concentrate and finish a short story collection. There are times to just write. I had to accept finishing a book requires quiet time. It’s been just me, a keyboard and a cuppa.
Are you making resolutions for 2014?
Every year I make the same resolution: To just try, to keep writing, even when it’s hard, and just be better- a better person, a better writer, a better being.
What are you hoping for from 2014?
I hope to get some of my longer stories out there, and hope people will enjoy them. I hope people won’t be mean. I also hope to learn to make Rosehip jelly and fiddle about with bits of wool more.
If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?
Respect, I’d ask Santa for people to respect me as a writer, and people to have more respect for other people generally. That’s all, that and maybe a doggy.
You can read Angela’s blog at http://angelareadman.wordpress.com/