Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?
I’m from London originally and currently call Belfast home. I write, look after my family’s home life and work for a charity called Fighting Words NI. We run a year-round programme of free creative writing projects for 6-18-year-olds. Cool, huh? I do the fundraising.
Where did your love of words come from?
Growing up, we had shelves filled with books in every room of our house. I remember curling up with my mum on a sofa while she painstakingly moved her finger from word to word as I worked my way through the Ladybird Early Readers. I think I had a sense that if I could just break the code of how to read, then there was a world of unlimited possibility waiting for me.
What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?
My friend, the wonderful poet and artist Thérèse Kieran, suggested I join back in 2017.
Have you been involved in any 26 projects?
I dove straight into 26 Memory Maps, then Armistice, Trees, Wildlife, Weeks, a couple of haiku for Fine Cell Work, I’m currently helping run Habitats and Pledges, and Andy twisted my arm to join Shining Light. Aren’t these projects amazing? All dreamt up, run and managed by 26 members. My life is always richer, fuller, (and busier) with a 26 writing project on the go.
What’s your ideal scenario for writing? (A coffee shop? Quiet retreat? With or without music? What do you do to get yourself in the right frame of mind?)
An hour in the morning is ideal. At my desk, feet flat on the floor, sometimes just staring at the wall. No music, definitely no music. Birdsong is perfect. Coffee is critical, just one. A Paperchase notebook. I don’t mind which pen or pencil, not too soft a pencil though.
What are you working on at the moment?
A short story. I’ve fallen in love with short stories since I started writing fiction seven years ago. I started writing them simply because two to three thousands words felt ‘complete-able’. Now I just love them for themselves, particularly those that provide glimpses into a character’s world at a moment when something critical changes and when you leave them, they’re rushing off again, energised or changed in some way, down a different path. I think my own life has been made up of many of these sorts of moments.
Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of?