Interview by Amy Maynard.
Photo Credit: Twitter
As a writer, what have your experiences been as part of the Writers Bloc community?
My experiences of the Writers Bloc community have been fairly limited so far as I have only joined up and posted work recently. But, already it seems a community I could fall into very easily. It was reviewing a piece of work and working through that framework of criteria that first gave me a push towards posting my own. And reading other people’s (generally fantastic) writing has helped motivate me to keep up with my fiction while studying journalism.
What are the inspirations and influences do you draw on in your written work?
Anything good I write (and there’s not much of it yet) comes from very miniature detail, from observation – the rest is just filler. So I hike and I sit in gardens and I watch the grass tangling in the train tracks. Nature is always a big part of my work.
In literary terms, my biggest influences are probably in equal parts J.K Rowling, F Scott Fitzgerald and Michael Ondaatje. But I love to read short stories as well and often it is the authors I have never heard of and never come across again that plant the deepest seeds of inspiration.
If you could invite three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party, who would you invite and why?
J. K Rowling so I could thank her for sweeping me away to Hogwarts at a time when fantasy and writing were starting to have such a hold on me. And for being funny. Ernest Hemingway, to understand just how he could write so cleanly and well but I’d probably have to tell him off pretty soundly about the hunting. And finally Jackie French so I could discuss wombats and conservation and gardening with someone loves it too. (And back up me on the whole hunting thing.)
What was one of your favourite books as a child and why?
Before Harry Potter, there was Where the Wild Things Are. I also remember a dusty little book with funny illustrations called The Witch’s Handbook, a sort of satirical go-to guide for today’s modern witch. That got me writing too. Andy Griffiths was another big part of my early reading (and shockingly rude vocab.)
Do you have any particular habits or routines when your write?
I like to be outside, if possible, and I find I write best on paper first. My happy teenage scribblings has given way to a kind of weary, paranoid adult prose now, where every word is in doubt. It’s too easy to delete things on a computer. As a kid I would write in a big blue biro on this old thick clipboard always full to the brim with lined paper. Recently I discovered my best (and freest) work came from using that same method. (Only now the clipboard is red and only seems half as big as it once did under my palm.)
Curveball Question: what is your favourite sandwich?
Meatball sub, as cheesy and saucy as they come.
Amy Louise Maynard is a freelance writer and PhD student.