What do you look for as a reader when choosing a book?
- I like to be totally absorbed as early as possible. I don’t have a genre that I especially stick to, just a style of writing I particularly enjoy. It’s great to start a book and have questions in your mind about what happens next within the first few pages. If I’m not invested in the character or captured by some unique and curious detail, then I feel less inclined to read.
The perfect book is one which makes you forget your surroundings – total emersion.
When you were first becoming interested in reading, which author did you particularly enjoy and why?
- I adored Jacqueline Wilson. Her stories often felt really accessible and relatable to me as a youngster. I used to read every night before sleep. I remember being moved, sometimes to tears and others to laughter. I think that is the sign of a true literary artist – to move their readers in some way.
What surprised you about writing your first fiction?
- How the characters take over. It might make me seem a little odd perhaps but, when I get a sense for my characters and for scenes, the whole reel plays out like a movie. Almost like it happens within and I’m just reporting an elaborate unfolding, hoping to catch every relevant detail.
I found that I cried with my character. The consequence of having that experience was that, I absorbed and conceptualised my thoughts more clearly and more deeply. I recognised the true weight and potential implications of creating work on such a human topic. I think this strengthened my compassion and understandings but also created a sense of, ‘what if I don’t do people justice?’
Share a secret about the inner life of your main character, Ellie?
- Interesting question.
She only exists as a reflection of the other.
Her ‘self’ was lost in her earlier trauma. Ricky was her mirror, as well as her partner. While he was alive, she was able to follow his rhythm but once he was gone, there was no one to provide her a ‘healthy’ reflection, a healthy role-model/support while she found her new, shifted identity.
What would be the highest praise you could receive for this story?
- I’d like to find that what I’ve written reads truthful and is relatable. While there are hyper-real thoughts and interpretations made by characters, the core of each represents something within society: an idea, threat, or notion, which plays out in our social worlds and is actually counter productive to healthy restoration from a state of intense grief.
What will you take from this experience of writing into your forthcoming writing?
- I will let my characters tell their story. I’ll cling to the importance of raising awareness and shifting perspectives in relation to societal struggles. I think it is also important to learn from people who know. When doing research, I’ll continue to check out blogs, vlogs, forums etc for first hand accounts of how the topics i write have affected them and hopefully my outputs will add more power to help raise those voices so in need of being heard.
What question or perspective do you most hope stays with readers after reading Wrapped Up?
- Have I been intolerant or insensitive to another persons loss/grief? If so how do I do better by my fellow human? Mostly I’d just like people to acknowledge how differently grief can affect each person. Grief looks different and can be triggered by different causes. Lost ideas, lost contact, lost hope.
Wrapped up in loss, Ellie experiences showers of guilt, harsh realities and moments of desolate beauty. Others expect her to ‘get over it’ or to distract herself with parties and drink.When Ellie meets an unusual stranger, she is stirred from her grief by someone else who remains in the tangible world. Her cloak of sadness begins to fall, supported by the comfort of another lonely soul.Their relationship transforms in ways unforeseeable when Ellie experiences the divide between love lost and love that could be.