What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a dystopian that is sucking my soul dry (as works in progress are supposed to). It resembles the set-up of Brave New World, in that someone from “outside” is taken into a new environment and experiences that environment through the lens of their own background and norms. My aim is to examine modern day cultural assumptions around gender and the ‘othering’ of cultures that are not our own.
What are your writing aspirations?
The great books I’ve read have had a lasting impact on me, and shifted how I see the world. I believe that writing can change hearts and minds. I’d love to influence people through my writing, even if it’s only for the few hours they spend with my story.
A good book should also make you cry. People who give feedback on my work tend to laugh more than they cry… it’s a little concerning…
What do you love about working at the Writers’ Cafe?
I love bringing people into the writing community. Many people starting out on their writing journey feel unable to call themselves writers, and perhaps even embarrassed to admit that they write. Writing is also a very isolating experience, as most of it happens alone, surrounded by your own doubts and insecurities. Bringing people together, reminding them why they’re writing, helping them find their writing community and grow in their abilities and confidence is incredibly rewarding. It’s why Writers’ Cafe exists.
What’s your best piece of writing advice?
Learn to seek out and love criticism. If nobody reads your work, you’re missing out on finding out how your work comes across to the reader, and you’re also missing out on opportunities to learn and grow your writing abilities. Get all the critique you can, no matter which stage your work in progress is at. Suggestions for improvement are not criticisms of you as a person, they are pieces of gold that will allow you to reach your goal of writing an un-put-downable book.
Which authors do you admire?
Barbara Kingsolver (poisonwood bible is genius), Ursula Le Guin (she is unapologetic in conveying her ideas through her fiction, and the end result is better for it), Khaled Hosseini (beautiful on all counts), Hugh Howey (the pacing, the realism, the world building… there’s a lot I’d like to emulate in my own writing), Justin Cronin (the believably of his characters as they experience the end of their world), and Suzanne Collins (because YA is better when it doesn’t follow a formula).