Well, after much hooing and haaing (are they words? Must look them up in Sprouty's Everyday Dictionary) i am interviewing The Writer.
I am doing this live, so i will write the answers as they are given to me.
Imagine the scene-
I'm in the kitchen, at the laptop- he's in the sitting room, at his altar, with David Attenborough telling us both, rather loudly about a salmons journey.
That actually may be more interesting...we'll have to see how this pans out.
S0, Sy- when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
'I started writing when i was a kid. my dad had quite a lot of books around the place and i found them rather interesting. The Ian Fleming stuff seemed much more interesting than real life.'
What was the first thing that you wrote about?
'My dad insists he found this little Ian Fleming pastiche that i had written when i was very young, but i've no idea how old i was- i got into films and moving making when i was 11 or 12, so it must have been prior to that.'
What was your first commisioned piece and who was it for?
'That would have been for Opera North-for a Danish Opera that had never been performed professionally in Britain and they needed an English Language libretto, and it was the Director who asked me to do it- she thought it was my sort of thing (laughs.)
What has been the most obscure thing you have written?
Open University stuff and a piece for the Dundee Industrial Heritage Centre, about Scott's first trip to the Antartic.
And your favourite, to date?
Darkside- a four part thriller written for the BBC, that so nearly got to see the light of day.
I've read it- it's bloody brilliant, and i'm not just saying that because i'm the wife-It scared the shit out of me.
How do you get in the right frame of mind to write?
You just have to start and do it. You can't sit and wait for inspiration. (more laughter.) He's in a good mood tonight.
You've written everything from television, through to plays, and now books. Which do you prefer?
Each one is very different. I like how disciplined writing for telly is, but i really got to hate all the re-writing crap. Theatre's great because you get to feel the audience reaction to what you have written really quickly. Books...haven't decided yet.
Ok...on to books. 'Commanding Youth' (the Arthur book) is going well- what is the most interesting and unusual piece of information that you have found out about him?
Where his grave is. Without a doubt. That piece of information is going to blow peoples minds Hopefully.
And Shakespeare is hot on his heels- the same question.
Probably, that he was murdered, from the evidence i've uncovered.
So, do you think that people will be more interested in reading about their deaths than their lives?
No. There are lots of big surprises, about both men.
How do you keep so focussed writing such detailed hisory?
It's like being a detective, getting and sorting all the facts and then putting them together, in the right order. There is more information than you could dream, about these men. It's just knowing where to look for it. Nobody has looked in the right places before.
What's your dream?
To be able to write what i want, and for that to be able to pay for the lifestyle i want.
( i do my best, you know...!)
Do you think writers who drink make better writers?
No. I don't drink when i'm writing. But that doesn't mean i'm not under the influence of something when i write....
Red Shift by Alan Garner.
Alan Garner again. He's very precise.
If you hadn't become a writer, what would you have done instead?
Apart from staying with acting, either war reporting or forensic psychiatry.
And finally ( for the time being, because i might do this again at some point)....how does your wife support you through the writing process. Details please, as this is her blog.
She keeps me fed and watered. She offers advice and suggestions. She asks very pertinant questions. And she believes in me. I think.
And on that note, Sy tells me he is off down the garage to get some ciggy papers, and so here endeth the first lesson.
Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx
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