writer, editor & phd candidate

Category: Site

An Update: In More Ways Than One

Welcome to the new site. My old Blogspot site was beginning to look decidedly dated, so I’ve moved to a self-hosted WordPress site that hopefully looks a little better! Everything from the old site and my even older review site should now be available here, and I’ll be adding in some further (backdated) stuff over time.

I guess the biggest news is that I have officially graduated from my degree, so I’m now Tara Calaby M.Litt M.A. I was very pleased with my marks and am now investigating PhD programs, because I just really love study. In case it wasn’t blindingly obvious.

I’ve also had a story accepted into Solarwyrm Press’s upcoming anthology, Marked By Scorn, edited by Dominica Malcolm. Malcolm’s last anthology, the Aurealis Award finalist Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction was excellent, so I’m pleased to be a part of her next project.

I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. That counts, right? No?

Author Interview: Sue Lawson

Sue Lawson

Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting an interview with Sue Lawson, as part of the blog tour marking the publication of her latest book for young readers: Forget Me Not, a historical novel set aboard the Titanic.

Hi Tara and thank you so much for asking me to visit your blog. It’s always terrific to chat about books and writing.

Thank you for joining me! Do you have a set writing regime? Has this changed over the years?

My writing routine has changed quite a bit since I first started writing. I used to write a paragraph and edit it into shape, write another one and edit that and so it would go on. Talk about a laborious process!

Now I try to write the first draft without editing until I am done. Sometimes that works, other times not so much. I have been know to chant – ‘just write it fix it later’ if I am really struggling with not tidying up before moving on.

The other thing that has changed is my notebooks. I started off just keeping one indexed notebook that had everything in it – editing notes, planning, goals, ideas and snippets of information. Now I keep a separate notebook for each book I write, a notebook for my bag and a general notebook. I feel about the amount of paper I use, so often my notebooks are unused out of date diaries – that reduces my guilt!

The research for Forget Me Not was so complex I had two books on the go! One for planning and one for research notes.

Author Interview: Nicola Moriarty

Nicola Moriarty

Today, I’m very lucky to be hosting an interview with Nicola Moriarty, in celebration of the release of her debut novel, Free-Falling, the story of two women dealing with the loss of their son and fiancé.

Your depiction of grief in Free-Falling was so real as to be quite difficult to read at times. Did you find that the writing of such an emotional novel took a toll on you at all?

I actually experienced the opposite effect. Rather than the exploration of grief taking its toll on me, it actually proved to be quite a cathartic experience, a wonderful emotional outlet. I found in particular that if I was feeling down or upset about something, I would take it as an opportunity and sit down and write while I was in that head-space. I often found that afterwards I felt much better for having released some of my feelings onto the page!

The dual leads in Free-Falling allow you to explore grief from two different perspectives. Was this your plan from the beginning, or did one of your characters take on a greater role during the writing process?

My original intention was to write only from Belinda’s point of view. But when I finished the first chapter, I felt the need to leave her be for the moment and the natural choice then was to start the day over from someone else’s perspective. Then, as I continued to develop Evelyn, the more I grew to like her and the more important she became to me and to the story.

You are the third Moriarty sister to make it into print. Was yours a particularly creative upbringing?

I don’t know that our upbringing was particularly creative, however, our parents have always been wonderful when it comes to supporting our interests. I always loved art, acting and writing – basically anything creative. Although then again, we did used to have ‘family assemblies’ (when we were very young) where we were encouraged to do something creative – sing a song, dance, act something out – so perhaps it was a rather creative upbringing!

What is your writing process like? Has it changed at all over the years?

My writing process has definitely changed now that I have deadlines to meet! Previously I wrote only when I felt like it (and sometimes would leave my writing for months at a time). Now I make sure I get out of the house three days a week (when my children are at childcare) and go somewhere specifically to write – if I stay at home, I get distractedly too easily by other things that need to be done. However, when it comes to the actual writing, I guess that hasn’t changed much. I still prefer to just start writing and see where my characters lead me. I will do some planning – but I prefer to stay flexible and go with what feels right at the time, rather than stick to a rigid plan, that way, the writing can sometimes surprise me!

Do you have any exciting new writing projects in the works?

Absolutely! I’m very close to the end of my second novel and it’s at that exciting stage where I can see the conclusion up ahead and all I want to do is write. I haven’t given it a name yet, but it’s about two women meeting in London and becoming friends, however, each is hiding something significant about their past and about how they came to be there. I’m hoping it will take readers on another emotional journey (as Free-Falling hopefully has done!).

Thank you for your time and insight, Nicola. The new book sounds great, although I’m glad we readers will have a little time to recover emotionally from Free-Falling before you destroy us all over again!

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