In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Monday, 25 January 2016

#Interview with #Bestselling Author Thorne Moore

I've decided to run a series of author interviews with writers I admire, so I shall be posting one a month from now on. It gives readers a chance to learn about other authors' work and maybe read a book or a genre they wouldn't otherwise try and me the excuse to delve into the minds of other people crazy enough to write.
My first guest is Thorne Moore, who has written the best-selling book, 'A Time for Silence', which is highly recommended. I genuinely couldn't put it down when I read it. Not only a page-turner, this story has a lot of depth on many levels. Ms Moore has also written a moving book about motherhood, entitled 'Motherlove', which is also a great read.

So sit back, and let me introduce you to this talented writer, one well worth discovering.

Thank you for joining me in the Plotting Shed, Thorne. Pull up a chair and I'll pour the tea.
Nothing stronger?
Fancy a biscuit or some chocolate from my secret stash?
Well, if you really haven’t got a bottle or two mulling behind the wood-burning stove.
Oh, you want something from THAT secret stash? (Uncorks whisky bottle with teeth.)
 
I'm curious about your work and would love to hear your answers to my questions.

 1.                       Writing is very hard work. Why do you do it?
There’s work and there’s work, isn’t there? Most us have to work, for a horribly large portion of our lives. What is really hard, is slaving 9 till 5 at a job you don’t really want to be doing, day after day, with no sense of ever achieving anything, just in order to receive a monthly pay cheque. I write because I want to, because it fulfils my megalomaniac propensities. I can create worlds and people, I can dictate fate, and I can share my brilliant words with the world (whether they want them or not). Sometimes it’s exhausting or frustrating, or occasionally depressing, but I never think of it as hard work.

 2.                       Does your work fit into a particular genre or do you resist categories?
I would love to resist categories, and say I write fiction. But I have surrendered gracefully, because that’s the way the publishing world works. So I’d say that I write psychological mysteries. I write about traumatic situations that turn the world upside down for my characters, and those traumatic situations are usually crimes, but I don’t write whodunits. In the same spirit, I also enjoy putting my characters in traumatic situations that are out of this world, so that would make me a science fiction writer (none published). I know that publishers and readers would probably see crime mysteries and SF as completely different genres, but as far as I’m concerned, I just write about people who are pushed out of their comfort zones, and discover things about themselves.

3.                     Do you write every day?
Virtually every day. The exception is the week, give or take, following the day I finish perfecting the last revised sentence of a book, and go into mourning for the characters I’ve got to leave behind. It’s a very exhausting experience. The urge to start rewriting the whole thing, just to put off the moment of saying goodbye, is very strong, so I try not to write at all. Dig the garden or something instead.

         4.                      Do you have a writing pattern, involving rituals, certain times of day or places?
The only ritual is switching on my laptop. I write in bed, before I get up. If I wake at 6, as I normally do, I have about 3 hours to write. Then I have to get up and head for my workshop. I seldom write later in the day, because my brain shuts down at about 2.30. I do however take a half-hour walk after dinner, and spend it thinking about what I’m going to write. It’s when the problems in a story usually resolve themselves.

         5.                     When did you start writing?
In my teens, which is decades ago. I did very well in English language at school, which was all about me writing, and very badly at English literature, which was all about other people writing. I decided that I wanted to be a writer, and nothing but a writer, so I rejected my headmaster’s advice to study law. I studied history instead, and spent most of my time at university writing instead of studying. It only took me another 35 years to find a publisher.

       6.                       Do you write full-time or are you multi-talented and make a living elsewhere?
I am self-employed, making miniature furniture (anything to avoid that 9-5 drag). I am working towards the day when I’ll be writing full time. This will probably happen when I finally cut a finger off, or accidentally drill through my arm. I’ve had a few close shaves.

        7.                       How do you get your ideas?
I don’t go looking for them. I’ll hear something, or read something that gets me thinking, and then a story gradually evolves out of it. Or I’ll see a place that I really want to write about, and eventually a story will attach itself. In my first published novel, A Time For Silence, I found a ruined cottage about 100 yards beyond the end of my garden. Then I heard a rumour, probably untrue, about another cottage in the area and while researching that, I came across a brief account of a court case from the 1950s. Cottage, rumour and court case all fermented together and produced the story that resulted. In my second book, Motherlove, I heard a mention on the news of a girl in Argentina who was taking her presumed parents to court, when she discovered the unpleasant circumstances in which she had been adopted. It left me wondering what sort of feelings would be at work to undo so profound a relationship.

8.                       Do you have a particular audience/person in mind that you feel you are                              speaking to when you write?
I write for myself. I write what I want to read. That’s the way I write in the first place. If I tried to guess what other people would like, at this stage, I’d freeze. Once I reach the editing stage, that’s different. Then I have to start thinking about what publishers or specific readers might want. I think it would be very arrogant to start defining who my readers are. But then you have to be quietly arrogant to expect anyone at all to read your words.

9.                       Do you write your first draft in one go or take time and edit as you go along?
Definitely in one go. Or mostly. I dive in, start writing, and keep going until I reach the end, by which time I realise that the whole story has shifted from its original orientation, so I have to go back to the start and rewrite the whole thing. Then, when it’s perfect, I take an after-dinner walk that makes me realise a whole new theme or twist or character should be added, and I’m off again. It does put off the inevitable moment of coming to a halt.

 10.                   What are your future projects?
I have a third book, which will be published by Honno in July this year, called The Unravelling, in which I mercilessly milk memories of my schooldays in the 1960s. A fourth book, Shadows, set in a semi-derelict Welsh mansion, is currently with an agent. And meanwhile, I’m working on another novel set in Pembrokeshire.

Thanks for your fascinating answers, Thorne. You've given me a real insight into the way you work. I particularly admire your disciplined routine. Sounds like you have a really good writing rhythm. I've really enjoyed our chat. Hic, want a top up?

Here are the links to Thorne's current books, available as paperbacks or ebooks from Amazon.
 
A Time For Silence, published by Honno. http://amzn.to/1CXHg4x 
Motherlove, published by Honno http://amzn.to/1AqrfsC

And you can reach her here:
 
Twitter: @ThorneMoore

 

 

2 comments:

  1. Brilliant interview ladies. Thank you for sharing your writing life with us, Thorne.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Judith. I really enjoyed these insights into Thorne's writing life. Love her books.

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