Tuesday, 26 February 2019

An interview with Rebecca Lloyd

We were lucky enough to have Rebecca Lloyd open Volume Two with her story 'Hagbound'.  Rebecca's books include two collections of short stories published by Tartarus Press, one of which 'Mercy' was nominated for a World Fantasy Award.  Her latest work is the novella The Bellboy, published by Zagava.

Q: What are your working methods?  Do you sit down every day to write?  Do you have a designated place to work?
A: I certainly have a designated place to write and it is my small writing room with a big window overlooking my garden, just a strip of a room, too small for a bedroom and fairly roughly painted. And there was a time when I would’ve been writing every day when I had to work for a living in the outside world and so by necessity, I wrote in the early mornings every day. These days, I tend to write novellas and novels that need extensive research, and so I make a list of research topics around the story I am hoping to conjure up, and address them systematically before I begin to write. There comes a point in time when I feel that I’ve read enough and that writing should start, then I launch off.

Q: Tell us about one of your favourite short stories and why you like it (not one of your own).
A: I have always liked ‘Puddle’ by Arthur Porges because it is written in a very unpretentious manner and yet the story idea is so terrific that after reading it, I felt slightly jealous that I hadn’t thought of it myself because it was very much up my street.

Q: Tell us about one of your favourite short stories (done by you).
A: ‘Shuck’ is a story I hold dear, and it’s probably one of my most chilling stories. But as the writer, I’m not sure that having a favourite story really fits in with how it is to be a writer. Some stories are moving for different reasons, The River has a lot of resonance, for example, and some stories are more accomplished than others, but the trickier stories if pulled off feel good to acknowledge. So, you can see that I can’t honestly answer the question, and really after so very many years of writing, and not going back to read them, I’m a bit stuck with remembering tone, mood and detail anyway.

Q: Where do your ideas come from?  Do you go looking for ideas – for example by brainstorming, or do you wait for inspiration?
A: I guess if a writer did know where her ideas were coming from, she could catch them in a pan and keep them on the go. I think a writer might well know what he or she is moved by, but even then, not be able to know why a particular incident was captivating enough to produce an idea for a story. In general, I think that I become interested in some human oddity I stumble across and, I am anyway very interested in superstition, and so there is a wealth of ideas arounds that… so I’m not sure that that is either brainstorming or inspiration.

Q: Are you a full-time writer? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time writer if you could?
A: Not sure what ‘full-time writer’ actually means, does it mean someone who writes from 9 to 5, or does it mean someone who lives of the proceeds of her writing? I now longer work in the outside world for money, but even when I did, I wrote for three or four hours a day, and so would consider that full-time anyway. I’m probably being deliberately obtuse, but that’s what writers are like sometimes. I would say though, that it’s mentally healthier not to just write all day, it’s much better to have a working job and write as well.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your creative process?
A: That depends upon the story that I’m tackling. As each story is different, the part of the creative process that is difficult might also be different.

Q: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming a writer?
A: Just go on exactly as you are, be generous in your support for other writers, and be true to what really excites you to write irrespective of how the industry attempts to mould you into a writing shape that better suits them and brings them profit.

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