I’m putting my pencil aside this week and doing some scribbling instead of doodling. So, here are some writers I highly recommend, plus my answers to some scribbly/doodly questions:
I was very kindly asked by Shelley Sackier to take part in this blog hop, and it’s an honour to have been invited. I’ve been drawing the doodles (and doodling the drawings) on Shelley’s “Peak Perspective” blog for a year and a half and it’s always fun to illustrate her verbal wit and wily wisdom. And here’s the strangest thing – we’ve never met!
Shelley Sackier is a bone-tired woman who faces a daily insurmountable amount of laundering and cleaning of crockery. These tasks are generated mostly by her faithful hound who is an unusual mixed breed of part highland cow and part wooly mammoth. She owns two children who also tax her with the insatiable need for full bellies and clean underwear. And she accomplishes these undertakings with nothing more than the assistance of her teeth.
With her hands, she is free to idle away her hours writing middle grade and young adult contemporary and historical fiction. June 2015 is the date her publishers have set as the unleashing of her book Dear Opl, a humorous look at grief, obesity, and diabetes; a tagline her editors refuse to acknowledge as marketable.
To learn more about Shelley, visit Peakperspective.com where she blogs weekly about living on a small farm atop a mountain in the Blue Ridge and how it’s easiest to handle most of it with home grown food, a breathless adoration for tractors, and a large dose of single malt scotch.
And now here are my answers to the interview part of the blog hop:
1. What are you working on?
Right now I’m doing illustrations for Shelley Sackier’s “Peak Perspective” blog. This is an ongoing project and it’s tremendous fun to read Shelley’s texts and then sit at the kitchen table and let my imagination run riot. Shelley’s words seem to carve a short cut through my brain to my “inner loony” and I often find I’m giggling while I’m drawing. I don’t know if it’s a surefire litmus test, but I hope that if a drawing makes me laugh then it’ll make others laugh. It doesn’t always work, but more often than not it does.
I’m not working on any specific writing project right now, although in the past I’ve written screenplays, stage plays, short stories and songs. I have an itch to write something. I haven’t found out what that something is yet and the itch is driving me slightly crazy. I recently attended a workshop held by the English children’s author David Almond and his advice to anyone who’s stuck or not sure where to begin was “Just start! Dare to be daft!” Excellent advice, but I haven’t dared to put it into practice yet.
2. How does your work differ from others of this genre?
Well, I don’t really have a genre, although when it comes to reading I love crime stories. Top of the list at the moment is Andrea Camilleri’s “Montalbano” series, which are so evocative and laced with wonderfully grotesque Sicillian humour. My own creative work is inspired by Ronald Searle, Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, David Almond, Saul Steinberg, Ian Fleming, James Thurber, Woody Allen, Charles Adams, Tolkien, Picasso, Tom Waits, Charles Shultz, William Shakespeare, John Lennon (drawings and songs), Spike Milligan, my childhood in North London, and my own kids. This is my creative DNA. What comes out when this DNA is channeled through a pencil, pen, or whatever, is hopefully different from anything else.
3. Why do you write/draw what you do?
First the “why” part of the question – being creative is akin to play. I write/draw to entertain myself and hopefully entertain others. As for the “what” part of why I write/draw – No idea! It just comes out the way it does.
4. How does your writing/drawing process work?
If I’ve got a deadline breathing down my neck then I can be fairly disciplined. This is probably a bi-product of my English public school education and my years of working in commercial animation, where we had daily/weekly targets to reach.
My drawing/writing process involves sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of paper, some pens and pencils and a mug or glass of something to sip or quaff. I’m not a planner by nature and I’m not a “dip-a-toe-in-the-water” kind of person. I like to just dive in and see what happens. I much prefer the raw quality of those first impulsive, untamed doodles/scribbles to anything that’s been wrestled to the ground, scrubbed and polished. My process is wasteful for sure, and there are usually far more screwed up balls of paper tossed across the room (not in anger I hasten to add) than there are finished pieces of work. I haven’t really found a way to marry this “dive in” approach to writing screenplays or longer fiction. Anybody got any advice?
Okay, now it’s time to tune-in to three writers I really REALLY think you should check out:
Ladies first – Here’s Linnet Moss, who is wise, with a wonderfully wicked sense of humor:
After earning her Ph.D., she found remunerative employment teaching ancient Greek and Classical mythology to mildly interested students at a large state university. She lives in Ohio with her Long-Suffering Husband and a colony of small, be-whiskered cheese thieves.
Linnet did not begin writing fiction until the age of 46, but in the three years since then she has penned eight short volumes of humorous romance fiction, most of which involve brainy women falling for men who look like Ciarán Hinds.
And may I now introduce Jadi Campbell. Like me, she’s emigrated from her home country and I can really relate to her writing:
As I describe in my blog, I live between cultures. I grew up in little New England/upstate NY villages with summers spent in a cabin in the woods. I earned a B.A. in English Literature from the Honors College of the University of Oregon. I minored in Women’s Studies.
After working in corporate America I changed tracks to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. For a decade I wrote as freelance European Correspondent (great title, little dough) for bodywork publications. For the past twenty years I’ve lived in southern Germany.
I published my first novel, Broken In: A Novel in Stories, in September 2012. It’s gotten great reviews and slow but steady sales. Interested readers can find it and the reviews on Amazon.com.
I’m about 3/4s finished with my second novel. In it you’ll meet a psychotherapist who is afraid to fly, a man with dangerous fantasies, cult members, and a woman with strange dreams. This book should be done by the end of the year.
I belong to two writers’ groups (one weekly, one monthly) and can’t imagine a better life. I’m writing steadily and don’t plan to stop!
Last but by no means least is Tony – a gentleman who stands out in the jungle of blogs about health and well-being for writing a very sane, readable and informative blog about diet and exercise:
I have been interested in eating healthy for more than 35 years. Unfortunately, my actions haven’t always matched my aims. As Mae West said, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”
I drifted too, for a long time, but after writing posts for this blog for over four years, I have gotten good at it.
Graduated from college in the early 60’s with a degree in Finance. I retired 12 years ago. I spent 20 years as a Reuter Correspondent and Editor after starting my career in men’s magazines.
I spend my days riding my bike along Chicago’s lakefront, walking my dog, driving my MINI Cooper down Lakeshore Drive.
Enjoy flirting with the goddess of fortune. Like backgammon a lot. Go to the local riverboats and Las Vegas for video poker.
Began the blog in March 2010. Focus was primarly weight loss. It has morphed into eating and living healthy and aging with body and mind intact.
And finally – I’m pleased to announce the winner of May’s “Gotta Have A Gott”. “Catrobatics” won hands down (or should it be paws down?!)