The Next Big Thing

Iwas recently asked by Sarah Hymas take part in a blogging project call The Next Big Thing.

It entails a whole bunch of writers answering a set of questions about a book they’ve either recently published or one they’re working on. And then asking more writers to answer the same questions. I decided to write about my recent pamphlet ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’ because – well, it’s the only one I’ve done.  And the first collection doesn’t exist in the same universe as the rest of us yet. 

I’ve been a bit disorganised with tagging my writers but so far I have got the lovely Helen Mort on board to answer these questions.  You can check out her blog here and poet Holly Hopkins here

When I find some more writers I’ll tag them in here, so keep checking back!

So here are the questions

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
There wasn’t really a specific ‘idea’ for the book.  Some of the poems in the pamphlet are about four or five years old – the poems were written over a five year period.  I guess the poems started to come together as a pamphlet when I wrote ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’.  This became a kind of ‘magnet’ poem, which drew others that I’d written towards it, and made it easier to shape them into something bigger than themselves, if that makes sense.  It was only when I looked at the final manuscript that I realised there were a lot of poems with Cumbria in them – I didn’t realise place was so important to me – but the ideas for specific poems come from all sorts of places – train journeys, spiritualist churches, teaching, arguing, walking the dogs…

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry.  Definately poetry.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There would have to be quite a fiery couple to play out the love poems.  It can only be the actors who play Buffy and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

I could only think of the title – maybe with an emphasis on the ‘could’

If we COULD speak like wolves….

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I entered the pamphlet into The Poetry Business Competition 2011/12, judged by Carol Ann Duffy and it was one of the winners, which meant the pamphlet was published by The Poetry Business in May 2012 and I won 500 pounds!  Which was very nice.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

This is a funny question, because I would count all the poems that got lost along the way as stepping stones to the manuscript.  I’ve been writing for about five years, and two of the poems are five years old – so I would probably say the first draft took three years – then I spent two years taking poems out and putting better ones in.  The final draft took five years. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Strange situations inspire me – although I will often exaggerate things or change the facts to get at the truth.  Arguments iwith my husband often end up in a revenge poem – I have a set of poems about people who are obsessive about something or who have done something extraordinary. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a poem with a rude word in.

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