Writer Q&A

The lovely Marje has tagged me to join in a writer Q&A – https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/the-writer-q-a-tag/ . Thought I’d give it a go!

1. If you met a sexy vampire what would you do? Hook up, get the garlic and crosses out or run a mile?
Reader, I married her.

2. What’s your favourite genre of book and why?
I read a lot of non-fiction at the moment… rather boringly, most are “how to be an awesome writer” type of books, matching my personal writing ambitions… Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a recent favourite.

Other than that, I read lots of poetry books, in different styles. I just finished Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems, and Tim Key’s “Incomplete Tim Key” (the “Incomplete” moniker seems to refer to the fact that it’s not funny, despite intentions… and I had been looking forward to it immensely…) I’ve just picked up Ginsberg’s Howl collection too, and keep dipping into anything by Billy Collins or Shel Silverstein for inspiration. I like studying a range of poetry, even the stuff that doesn’t connect with me, to improve my own limited skillset.

I dip into fiction, but it tends to be author-led, rather than genre. I buy almost everything with Neil Gaiman’s name on it, for example.

3. Who is/are your favourite author (s) , poet (s)? What is it about them that inspires you?
Neil Gaiman is a huge inspiration. He gives great interviews too that are always worth checking out. His slogan of “Make Great Art” is one that I’ve taken to heart.

Billy Collins is an inspiration in a more practical sense. Almost every poem of his that I read has a phrase or an idea in it that sparks something in me, and I have to go away and scribble my own poem to capture it. He has a remarkable way of using humour in his poetry, which obviously fits with my own personal style too.

4. If you had to control a classroom of year 6 kids would you bale, or enjoy the challenge? Would you be (a.) too undisciplined to do so, you’d just join in the general mayhem, (b.) enjoy bossing them around, or (c.) pray in a corner for the bell to sound.
I taught for a year after leaving university, from Year 1 up to Year 12’s… I got on fine with the older ones (they were quite close to my age at the time), but I did find the younger ones more of a challenge. I remember one 6 year old boy who seemed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of dinosaurs, and being amazed by that… and now, in time, my eldest has become that child!

To answer the question, I did try (b), and probably would again, but didn’t always find the right level. I remember one of the games teachers having “a quiet word” with me about inappropriate language that I’d used. (I told one of the boys on the rugby pitch to “stop twatting about!”… not my finest moment)

5. What made you become a writer/blogger? Do your family support you or do they think you’re crazy, bored, attention seeking, or all of these? Tell us a bit about your current WIP and/or books…
I started writing children’s stories after our eldest was born, and started blogging children’s poems on the back of that. It’s all ballooned from there. Now, I am polishing a book of zombie survival haiku for self-publishing, and planning a host of other releases, poems and stories. My wife is amazingly supportive… she’s even taken the kids out today so I can spend time writing!

6. What is the most awful job and/or experience you’ve ever done/had?
I’ve just had to leave my job, but don’t want to share the details of that. Between the ages of 17 and 21, I worked in a bingo hall. (Yes, I was a bingo caller.) The job wasn’t too bad most of the time, but that was before the days of the smoking ban, and every session in that room would leave you coated in other people’s smoke. Yuck. Plus, there would be occasional live entertainment on a Saturday night… some of the locals would overdo it on the cheap booze at the bar. I may not be able to throw a punch worth a damn, but I know I can take one. Happy days!

7. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Does this spill out onto other parts of your life? Are you generally organised/disorganised?
I’m a total pantser. I just made a to-do list to try and catch up on everything that needs doing, and instead of working through it in any sensible order I’ve started this post instead, which logically would be the very last thing on the list! My wife is the total opposite (she’d probably say that she needs to be). I think we smooth the edges off each other 🙂

8. Do you believe in Ghosts? Fate? Love at First Sight? Fairies? Psychic happenings? Numerology, Mermaids, The Loch Ness Monster, Demons…etc…Make your own observations …. and let me know..
Nope. Not a one of them. But I do believe in love. Is that not mystical power enough?

9. What is the worst haircut/clothes/hats you’ve ever had/worn? Photos please, or describe in vivid detail…
I lost most of the hair on top of my head in my early twenties, but as it was thinning at uni I did make the mistake of trying to dye it red, even though it was really short (like Renton in Trainspotting)… it just looked like I’d dipped my scalp in some ink! Mercifully it washed off pretty quickly.

10. Please finish this sentence with more than three extra words: Life is one foot in and one foot out, you ….
In haiku, naturally:

Life is one foot in
And one foot out, you never
Know which one is which



32 thoughts on “Writer Q&A

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, he gives a while new meaning to the phrase, ‘red head’ . I’d most likely do the cow-cow boogie on the kiddoes myself. They tell me it’s the eldest child syndrome, eh? No, I say it’s a gang of rowdies that need some order! (did that sound convincing?)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great interview, Marje and Al. I like the fresh questions – they always lead to little insights, like the reveal that Al is married to a vampire…and the zombie haiku survival book! Love the answer to number 8, and the haiku at the end tops the interview off perfectly 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A fascinating read Al, to see you on the other side was revealing and what an exacting interviewer Marje is. I hope you sort out your working options soon . Maybe if you had carried a large bag of lollies in your pocket you may still be teaching, believe me there are worse tasks out there , for instance wig toasters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ironically, I tend to carry lollies everywhere with me at the moment (to stop my three year old falling asleep in the pushchair!)… Must check out “wig toasters” now


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