Throughout these last two months I ’ve be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair: http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.
There are forty authors, so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire. Location.
And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.
And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: competition . Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –
BOOKS AND READING.
Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.
Although, five years ago, I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2 and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ .
Our last author to be interviewed got the Narberth Book Fair is children’s writer, Angela Fish
Tell us, please,Angela, have you always wanted to be an author?
I’ve always wanted to write, but for a long time there was no specific genre that I wanted to pursue. I guess I haven’t changed much, although I find myself drawn to fiction writing more and more these days.
What do you love most about the writing process?
I love the freedom of the imagination in creating magical characters (for the children’s work), settings or plot lines. That moment, when a niggling thought becomes a semi-formed idea, which then morphs into a plot, is fabulous.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not specifically. I don’t write every day, but I do try to engage with the story/ characters/plot line. For example, I often talk to my characters, or even role-play, so that I can develop them a little more – get into their skin, if you like. It also helps with dialogue.
Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Probably a mix of the two. I don’t consciously think that I’ll base a character on someone I know, or have known, but there are obviously certain character traits that simply beg to be used!
What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
I have been writing for children as the ‘Ben’ series was the first that was accepted for publication (apart from individual poems), so that was the route I followed, but I love to explore all aspects of writing. I have experimented with YA/Sci/fantasy but at the moment I’m working on an adult novel, The Snow Globe, which is considerably different from my previous work!
What gives you inspiration for your books?
For the children’s books, it’s been my love of nature and the environment, plus my continued interest in mythology and magic. The starting point for the ‘Ben’ books was story cubes. I also find them useful if I’m stuck midway with a piece of writing as they can suggest which direction to take. As for other work – inspiration can strike anytime or anywhere! Overheard conversations; fellow passengers; quirky advertising or unusual sayings or phrases.Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?
I had to write a very short pitch for the adult novel recently, and came up with this:
Three generations, three decades, and six lives that criss-cross or run parallel, but all connected and affected by the welfare system, addiction, deceit, coercion, loss, betrayal, friendship or hope. They try to move on or seek answers, but no-one knows the whole truth. The snow globe is the only link that can unravel their stories.
How many books have you written. Which is your favourite?
I’ve had three books published – the ‘Ben’ series, and I’m currently negotiating the publication of two picture books. One is a pirate story and the other is a non-fiction based on the five senses. I have another completed picture book and an unfinished book of stories about a banana! I tend to go back to these works when I need a break from the two lengthier stories I’m working on (see below). I also have a part-worked adult novel based on a story from my family history research, but that’s proving difficult so is ‘shelved’ for the time being. I think that the third book in the ‘Ben’ series, Ben and the Spider Lake, is probably my favourite at the moment, as I feel I had more understanding of my characters, and the plot structure seemed to work better as well.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? What has been the best compliment?
I have feedback and letters from some of the young people that I’ve visited in schools, plus the reviews that have been posted from complete strangers!
Some examples: ‘This spellbinding tale(The Spider Prince) will captivate young children between five and eight years old … The story is a clever blend of fantasy and contemporary realism as the action moves between the two very different worlds…’ [New Welsh Reader, Issue 111, Fo Orbell, Freelance Picture Researcher and Writer. Researcher for Oxford University Press]
‘Your books are always exciting with lots of information about your characters. Ben and the Spider Prince has amazingly creative twists and turns with lots of astonishing scenes and pages.
‘I would love you to write even more and more fascinating imaginative stories.’
I was also invited to do a live interview on the Roy Noble Show, on BBC Radio Wales. Great experience and really good fun.
If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I think it would have to be Amara, the wise woman in Ben and the Spider Lake. She lives in an unusual cave in the high mountains next to Spider Lake. She can communicate with the birds and other animals and know how create spells and use magic wisely. I think I’d enjoy having her show me the ancient Rowan tree next to her cave, and I’d also like to see the peacocks and meet Hiboo, the white owl.
Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
Interesting question! I’ve been told that I have green fingers – not sure if that counts?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Not sure if it’s interesting, but as I said earlier, I like to talk to my characters. Sometimes I play the different parts and interact with them.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Reading, gardening, meeting family and friends, family history research, playing with the cat, doing crosswords.
What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing?
I was running a training course in north Wales, which meant an overnight stay. In the morning, I realised that I had packed two left shoes (similar styles) so had to wear my old boots instead. My colleague joked that if I had just packed a pair of two different shoes, then I could have worn them to see if any of the group noticed and/or commented!
Give us a random fact about yourself.
My blood is on the portcullis of Castell Coch, in Tongwynlais! I grew up in the village and we often played in the castle grounds. When I was seven, I ran up the drawbridge and fell. My head connected with the gate with subsequent blood-letting.