How do you feel about flash versus other literary forms?
I enjoy reading all literary forms but I definitely have a soft spot for flash fiction. It’s like a bridge between short stories and poetry and writing it brings the challenges of both. Like a poem, it’s focused around a single spark, but because it’s prose, you have to unpack that spark and build on it more than you would with poetry. I definitely see flash fiction as a literary form in it’s own right. Publications like Smokelong show just how good a good piece of flash fiction can be!
Is that a brown spot on your nose? So what books and authors inspire you?
There are so many! A couple of my favourite authors are Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, Ana Castillo, Peter Carey, Kate Atkinson, Oscar Wilde (I especially love his children’s stories), Denise Chavez, Lewis Grassic Gibbon and I like a lot of contemporary Scottish authors such as Jackie Kay, Ali Smith, Alan Spence and A.L. Kennedy.
I read a lot of work by new writers in small-scale literary magazines and I also read a lot of collections of short stories, including competition anthologies because they’re great to learn from. I also read plenty of poetry – I’m reading a collection called Staying Alive at the moment. It’s a really well put together anthology, great inspiration for writers and I’d recommend it to anyone.
When the Festival hits Edinburgh, do you rent out your place for bags of money or stick around and absorb it all?
I stay, plan to go to loads of events and then fail miserably and end up doing almost nothing! I love the comedy especially and the book festival is a great resource for writers but I usually disappoint myself by how little I actually get round to doing. I always promise it’ll be different next time round – so hopefully 2004 will be the year I’ll fit it all in…
Do you prefer writing at the keyboard or by hand? Notice any difference in your writing between the two?
I do all my actual writing on keyboard. The computer lets you cut and paste, edit and swap bits around so it fits much better with my muddled writing habits! I use a notebook for jotting down ideas though and it goes everywhere with me.
If for some reason, you could no longer write, what would you do?
I’d probably spend the time daydreaming. I daydream a lot so all the images and stories would still be there, just not down on paper.