Tag Archives: interview

Ordinary People – interview with Petra Kidd

Last month, I re-launched my Ordinary People interview series by catching up with retired headtacher Julia Skinner from Julia’s place.  Julia is also the founder of the the 100WC project, is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16. To read more about Julia, and find out more about the Ordinary People series, head back to last month’s interview.

This month I interviewed fellow blogger and fantastic short story writer, Petra Kidd. I first ‘met’ Petra via twitter, when she mentioned that it was possible to download a kindle app for free to your mobile rather than buying a kindle to read e-books on the go. I had no idea. I promptly downloaded said app and thanked her for the advice. She then suggested that I might enjoy her short story e-book, The Eight of Swords, which was the perfect length to read during a morning commute. Clever marketing Petra. It worked. I downloaded the Eight of Swords and read most of it on my way to work one morning, becoming so involved in Jayne’s dilemma that I almost missed my stop! When The Putsi, its sequel, came out, I immediately downloaded this too, excited to find out what happened to Jayne 18 years later. More recently, I have been hooked on Petra’s first blog novel, Before I was born onto land… I was a Fish, which she posts on her blog in weekly installments. Once again Petra has created wonderful characters in Mira, Daisy and co., who immediately draw you into their world.

Petra Kidd

Petra lives in Norfolk and when she’s not writing she is running her own small business. Her latest short story e-book, Revenge Double, which comprises two stories with the revenge theme, is out now on Amazon.

As I said, I first discovered your writing by way of the Eight of Swords, your first e-book. What was the inspiration behind this book and its sequel, The Putsi?
The Eight of Swords was very loosely based on a true story where an immigration officer came home  find gypsies had invaded her house and pretty much wrecked it. The story niggled at me for about six months before I finallyThe Eight of Swords sat down to write it, then the characters came into my head as if they really existed and it all came very naturally. I absolutely loved writing The Eight of Swords, putting Jayne in such a dilemma and watching how she reacted. Lots of people said it made them question how they would react in the same situation, which is great. To make people think more deeply than just enjoying a story, to me, is real success. Also, I think it is good to learn about other cultures and not just make assumptions about them in their entirety based on a few media reports.

I have to admit I did get a little nagged to provide a sequel. I wasn’t sure but when I started writing The Putsi, again it flowed naturally. When people say characters become like friends it’s very true and it can be hard to let them go. A bout of Pleurisy left me housebound and The Putsi became a great distraction, even if I was dying on my feet trying to get it done! It’s not often I get so much uninterrupted writing time so I made the most of it.

Fish

Credit © J. Henning Buchholz | Dreamstime.com

Before I was born onto land… I was a fish is another original idea. Do you believe in reincarnation?
I don’t believe we necessarily get reincarnated as other creatures as in Mira’s story but I do think the human spirit goes on and evolves. I can’t believe that we go through all the challenges in this life for nothing. I like Paulo Coelho’s theory or philosophy that new doors open for us and the spirit goes on towards enlightenment. 

Before I was born throws up an interesting idea, what if we could remember what went before, in such detail that it affects us in this life?  Some people experience déjà vu and under hypnosis there are those who have talked about past lives so it could be true that we have lived before in different guises. I think the leap from another creature to human might be too great a one but who knows? Reincarnation is something that fascinates me and will no doubt crop up from time to time in my stories.

What former lives do you think you might have had?
A Clairvoyant once told me I had been an Indian in the Lunape tribe, some of who apparently have blonde hair. According to her I was a man who had six children. I don’t have any in this life; perhaps I got too exhausted by them in that life!

As much as I love the idea of once having been a Lunape I did take the suggestion with a pinch of salt. Having said that, I’d love to visit Delaware one day to meet them and see if I do feel any connection…

All of your books are self-published e-books. What are your thoughts on the self-publishing versus traditional publishing debate?
I self-published my e-books because I’m impatient. I wanted feedback from readers and I knew that if I went the traditional route it would take a very long time to reach that stage.  The whole self-publishing phenomenon came just at the right time for me. Also, I think it depends on the book. I would still consider taking the traditional publishing route but I do like the freedom self-publishing offers. It’s a tricky one because both have advantages and disadvantages, you just have to decide what’s right for you.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of writing a short story e-book?
Write your story, show it to friends or acquaintances who you know will be honest with you, get it proofread/edited and make sure you have the best cover you can have, which usually means using a professional designer. I treat my short story e-books as seriously as I would a full-length novel. I published with Amazon and Smashwords because they have such a wide reach and slick systems.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Persevere.

We already know that you love to write, are there any other ways in which you like to create?
I love photography, sometimes I put my pictures on my Facebook page, and recently I started sketching again.

What is it that you like about sketching?
I sketch people and I suppose in a way it is akin to writing, seeking out the character and depicting him or her as you see them from your own unique viewpoint. People fascinate me more than almost anything else, well apart from outer-space…

Tell us a secret (or something surprising about yourself)
When I was a child I had an imaginary friend called Bert, he was a builder who also flew helicopters. He was so real to me my mum even wrote a story about him where he had to tap on the window one night to prove his existence! My family used to think it very funny when I disappeared off down the garden to ‘help Bert’ wearing my ‘Pork Pie Hat’ as they called it.  I remember very clearly the day I killed Bert off. He was on a mountain road and his car crashed. His death was as real to me as his life. I must have reached an age where I felt I couldn’t believe in him anymore. Luckily I never let go of my imagination.

 Thanks taking part Petra! I hope you enjoyed answering these questions as much as I enjoyed learning more about you.

To find out more about Petra, head over to her website and/or follow her on twitter.

Ordinary People – interview with Miriam Drori

As you may know, if you are a regular reader, I am interested in many things – particularly those of a creative nature – and this blog is where I write about writing, people and poetry. So far, you may have read about writing and perhaps you’ve read some poetry, and other random thoughts – some of which you might relate to. For the most part, these thoughts have been about me and/or from my point of view.

I’ve always been interested in people, and what motivates them to do what they do, especially when they do it well. This series of interviews I’ve called Ordinary People, as they are with ‘ordinary’ people I admire for various reasons. For the most part, these people are creative in some way. As I am interested in what motivates them to do what they do and how they do it well, I thought you might be too.

For my first interview, I caught up with Miriam Drori, writer and social anxiety sufferer, as well as the winner of my recent birthday blog competition!

 

 

I already know that you’re a great writer, as your blog and stories show… Are there any other ways in which you like to create?

Ah – no one’s ever called me a great writer before. From now on, you can ask me anything you like….

It’s strange – I never used to think of myself as a creative person. My fiction writing stopped when I didn’t have to write any more essays at school and didn’t start again until I hit upon a story as a way to explain social anxiety. The advantage of fiction, I realised, was that I could attribute feelings to a fictional character that real people wouldn’t admit to. Since then, I have created other stories and discovered that I really do have an imagination.

So, what was your question? Oh yes. I have played the piano and the violin and I have sung in a choir, but I hardly ever do those now and never really thought of them as creative. It wasn’t as if I composed music. I just performed it, not particularly well. I do like to dance and, I suppose, especially when there are no particular steps, that’s creative.

What’s your preferred creative channel?

I love writing and dancing. I also like fried eggs and ice cream. You wouldn’t expect me to choose between them, would you?

What is it about dancing/writing that you enjoy? 

With dancing, I love moving my body to fit the music. I love being watched
doing it, being admired and emulated. I love being relaxed, giving myself up to the music and the dancing, forgetting all the things I usually worry about. With writing, I love forming words to describe a scene or a mood. I love the peacefulness of being alone with my story. I love to concentrate on the story and put all worries aside. Above all, in both cases, I love doing something I know I can do well.

What or who inspires you to create?

For most of my life, I’ve suffered from a disorder I didn’t know about. Discovering the name of it made a huge difference to me. It brought not only ways of dealing with it but also the camaraderie and relief of finding a whole community of others with similar problems, the knowledge that I’m not as weird as I’d thought.

So, what inspired me to begin writing, and also inspires me to continue, is a strong belief that social anxiety must be publicised so that people who suffer from it know about it and so that the rest of the world can have more of an understanding about what it means. I’m also inspired and encouraged by the lovely members of the writing group I attend. And by Gill, whom I wrote about here.

Tell us a bit about living with social anxiety and how this feeds your creativity.

I can answer this question, and all the others, because I can think about them while alone and write down the answers. If you’d asked me this in a face-to-face interview, my mind would have been full of thoughts that would have put me off giving a coherent, sensible answer. Thoughts like; I’m going to make a mess of this, I’m not maintaining eye contact as I should, my mind is blank – I don’t know how to answer, she must think I’m stupid. And so I hum and haw and don’t give a proper answer. Only later, when I’m on my own, when it’s too late, do I think of the answer I should have given. And then I’m cross with myself for not taking the opportunity to explain properly.

That’s a bit about living with social anxiety and also shows why social anxiety is not well known despite being quite common – the very nature of it prevents those who know what it’s like from explaining it.

How does it feed my creativity? As I mentioned before, I began writing in order to explain social anxiety. Also, I write because I’m not good at talking. But I’ve never thought of it in such a positive way before.

Finally, what would you say your values are?

I’ve never had to list them before. So I found a list of 374 values and here are those that I feel apply to me:

Acceptance, Accuracy, Belonging, Confidence, Education, Empathy, Encouragement,Enjoyment, Family, Honesty, Humour, Imagination, Kindness, Making a difference, Peace, Perseverance, Respect, Sympathy and Trust.

Thank you Miriam, for taking the time out to answer my questions! I hope you enjoyed answering them as much as I’ve enjoyed reading them.

Thank you, Rachael, for having me on your blog. I did enjoy answering the questions and discovering something about myself in the process. I look forward to reading the other interviews in the series.

*****************************

If you would like to find out more about Miriam, head over to her blog An’ de walls came tumbling down.