- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I trained as a stage manager and continue to earn a portion of my living as a stage manager for corporate events, though more of my time is spent working as a scriptwriter and VOG (voice of God) on corporate award ceremonies, and writing copy for websites and brochures. I currently live in a green corner of the world somewhere between Bristol and Bath.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I’ve been writing ’seriously’ for about ten years, though most of that has been corporate work. My words grace the sleeves of documentaries, publications and websites, have prompted the largest mailbag response ever for The Stage, and have been orated in speeches and presentations at weddings, international AGMs and product launches. Creatively, I have three children’s plays on the South African curriculum (published by Via Afrika), self-published the humorous diatribe, Permission to Rage: The Book on How to Complain Effectively and am currently working on my second novel whilst seeking representation for my first. My short/flash fiction has been shortlisted, highly commended and/or published by Storgy, Reflex Fiction, To Hull & Back, Idle Ink, 101 Words and Grindstone Literary.
I have also edited eight novels and one collection of short stories for other authors, including the Tyler May series of YA novels for author B. J. Mears
- How did you feel when you learned that you are on the Highly Recommended List of The London
Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Delighted. It prompted the biggest smile of the day. It’s always encouraging to have one’s work recognized and appreciated. I’m hugely grateful to be included in the Highly Recommended’ list. Whilst every failure inspires me to work harder at my craft, each tiny victory inspires me to strive for greater success.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
The best: The sense of achievement comes a great deal quicker than when writing a 120K word novel! The hardest: Knowing when an edit is a cut too far. Oh, and having faith in it despite criticism from others. I previously submitted this to another competition and the judge didn’t hold back on exactly how much he hated it!
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
Almost eighteen years ago, I sat beside a tramp in a park and midway through our conversation he did speak those words verbatim: I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve always wanted to be a beaver. It felt oddly profound in the way that he said it, and I’ve tucked it away. Earlier this year I felt an urge to build something brief around it, in the hope that it would would leave the reader wondering, as did I, whether there was madness, profundity, playfulness or all three in his statement. All other aspects of the story are pure fiction. No tramps were injured in the making of this flash fiction. :-)
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
Write it in full and then distill it. Edit, edit, edit. Then edit again. Be able to defend every word.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions? Having a deadline, a motivation to finish the story, the chance of winning, getting recognised by a professional organisation, communicating with other writers or a networking opportunity to meet with like-minded people?
For me, it’s a combination of the challenge to meet both criteria and deadline. FF competitions allow me to be playful, experimental, journey to dark places and, potentially, build a portfolio of work and recognition that will open the door to that elusive person who is able to say “Yes!"
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Yes! Of course. Write more, submit more, embrace and learn from the failures, celebrate the successes.