Welcome G.L. Sheridan author of Germination
to answer some questions that we know our readers like to hear about
Q. Who are your greatest support – who believes in you?
A. My husband – no contest. He’s always been there for me.
Q. Where do you write from? e.g. Kitchen table? Study? Bedroom? Garden shed?
A. Don’t want a pretty view – too distracting. Wouldn’t notice it anyway, once I get involved with the story. I sit with my laptop in a cosy corner of my back room and just write.
Q. What motivates you to write?
A. It’s like stepping into a parallel universe. You can create your own world, the people in it, the setting, the things they do. When I’m writing I get totally lost in the story. I finished a book once and literally felt so shaken, I could hardly speak for the rest of the day.
Q. What are the biggest distractions to your writing time?
A. I have a busy social circle and belong to two writing groups – Pennine Ink and Burnley Writers. We meet regularly – every week for Pennine Ink, or once a month for Burnley Writers – and there are pieces to write in preparation for each. I’m the secretary of Pennine Ink and run the annual competition for Burnley Writers, which involves contacting judges and organising the event. I also run a local reading group, so there’s the monthly book to read, as well as the organisation side of it – ordering books and so on. I’m the editor of a small press poetry magazine (Pennine Ink Magazine) so I have literally hundreds of submissions by email to sort through. I also teach part-time at a homework centre (retired from regular teaching). Added to that, there’s cooking, cleaning, ironing and shopping etc. And I have to spend ten minutes or so to play with the cat – she needs entertaining!
Q. What part of the world do you live in?
A. England. Good old Burnley in Lancashire, in the north of the country. It rains a lot in Burnley. We’re in the rain shadow of Pendle Hill. But we do get sunny days. Our front room is opposite the park, so I can look out and see the changes of the seasons, the blossom on the trees, the autumn leaves, the snow on the branches. Our neighbours are smashing – a lovely bunch. We get together for birthdays, Christmas and the occasional street party to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee or the wedding of William and Kate.
Q. Are you from there originally?
A: I was born in Brierfield – a small town about five miles from Burnley. Back in the early Sixties, it was a lovely little community and everyone knew everyone else. There was Stuart Barnes in the grocer’s shop, Doris in the bakery and Bert who made the best ice-cream this side of the Pennines. Though I was born in England, my parents were Italian (actually, my Dad was Sicilian – like the lovely Inspector Montalbano). They came to the UK in the Fifties, along with a lot of other Italians. We all lived close by and used to go visiting every Sunday afternoon.
Q. Have you ever suffered from writers’ block?
A. Nope, my head is bursting with ideas. My problem is I don’t have enough time to write everything I want to write.
Q. Have you taken any writers’ courses and have they been worthwhile?
A. I did a correspondence course on writing for children. Can’t say it helped much. I’ve been on a few courses for creative writing and they were more useful, though we didn’t cover much in the way of content. I think the interaction and discussions helped. More useful than just a written comment.
One of the best things I ever did was send one of my novels to Cornerstones a literary consultancy. The advice I got back was immensely useful. Not only that, to be told my writing was dazzling and that I had some wonderful ideas was a fantastic boost to my confidence.
Q. Have you ever belonged to a writers’ group? And what value did you gain from it?
A. I joined Pennine Ink Writers in 1983 and after a break, rejoined in 1996. What a great bunch they are. But it’s not just about friendship – we give one another honest feedback which helps immensely, after all, you want to know where you’re going wrong. I also joined Burnley Writers about ten years ago. It definitely helps to belong to a writing group. Aside from helpful comments and social interaction, we often have a jolly good laugh. For those who need prompting, there’s something new and stimulating on the programme to get you writing.
Q. Have you ever tried to find an agent?
A. Time and time and time again. Kept getting close…but then came the inevitable rejection. One agent kept my novel for nine months before finally deciding she didn’t want it. I could have had a baby!
Q. What would you expect an agent could do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
A. Not sure any more. Now that my books are on Kindle, I feel that my fate is in my own hands. Do I really need an agent?
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. Wrote my first novel in a school exercise book when I was about 14. A friend read it. She said she enjoyed it. Didn’t write when I was at university because I had to study, but began again in my early twenties. Struggled when the kids were small, but once they left home, I had much more time. I guess that’s when I really started to write.
Q. What drew you to want to write a book?
A. Asimov. And Heinlein. And Bradbury. And Wyndham. Been reading all my life – lots of sci-fi but other genres too. We had a modern concrete and glass library in Brierfield and I joined when I was five. I can remember it so clearly – the smell of the books, the paper, the light coming in through the glass. One of the first books I borrowed was about Noah and the flood and some animals that melted in the water and didn’t survive.
Q. How did you go about developing it?
A. Lots of research – books and online. And my own imagination. If you’re carried away with a subject, you can’t help but write about it.
Q. What is your next project?
A. I have files full of ideas for books, so I’m not sure yet. I’m drawn to the idea of writing a novel about an Italian man and the various dimensions of his character seen through the eyes of people who know him.
We hope our readers enjoyed some insights in our interview with G.L. Sheridan author of Germination
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