Friday, 4 September 2015

Interview with womagwriter Della Galton

My guest today is Della Galton. I don't think she actually needs an introduction, so I'll get straight to it...

1. When I first started writing short stories, two names appeared in every magazine I looked at - yours and Teresa Ashby's. How long have you been writing womag stories and how did you get started?

I joined an evening class called Writing for Profit and Pleasure in 1987. I was inspired by a young woman – Tina Wade – who stood up in that class and announced she’d just sold her 27th short story that year. I wanted to be her! She was writing for a teenage magazine (now gone) called Loving. I studied them carefully, and a few months later they accepted a short story from me. It was the most thrilling moment of my life! (I don’t get out much!)

2. After so many acceptances do you still celebrate after a 'yes' and if so how?

If it’s a big one – say a novel – then yes. I buy myself something I can keep, an item of jewellery is good. Or something writing related. I bought my iPad, for example. Is that writing related? I do love it though.

3. You teach writing. Do you think that's made a difference to how you write?

Yes, because teaching is a learning experience. Always be both student and teacher – that’s my motto. I still attend other people’s writing courses as well as teaching my own. I think I always will.

4. Despite writing loads of short stories and non fiction you've found time for novels. Care to tell us a little about your latest release?

The Morning After TheLife Before is the sequel to my last novel, Ice and a Slice. It has the same central character, SJ, who is a very flawed, but I’m told, very lovable character with a teeny weeny drink problem.

5. I'm guessing you must be very disciplined about your writing and stick to a rigid timetable in order to get everything done?

Just work all hours – that’s another of my mottos. Mornings are my best time. I usually write before I do anything else – admin, blogs, social media, teaching etc. Once the writing is done, then I’ll do whatever else I need to do. But writing is my priority.

6. I've heard that some writers use real people and situations in stories to work off frustrations or put something right. Do you ever do that?

Yep, frequently. I can’t give you an example. I might get sued!

7. The right writing snacks are very important - what's your fuel of choice?

Coffee. Oh and Nutella Sandwiches, or if I’m feeling virtuous I stir Nutella through a 0% fat yoghurt. You can get quite a lot in if you use a big spoon! 

8. What has been your happiest or proudest writing moment so far?

Actually, this recently changed. Last month I gave a talk to 200 people at Swanwick Writers’ conference. At the end of my talk the chairman asked for questions and a lady stood up at the back. She said, “My name’s XXX and I’m an alcoholic. I want to tell you that your novel Ice and a Slice saved my life. I read it last year, and I could relate to the main character so much. It motivated me to seek help for my own drinking problem. Now I have been sober for 8 months. Thank you so much.”

I cried. Right there on stage. In fact, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. What a courageous lady. Her comments completely blew me away.

You know yourself how much blood sweat and tears go into writing. When you get feedback like that, it makes every single moment worthwhile.

9. Can you pass on a tip for other womag writers?
Write from the heart. Write the story you really want to write. Don’t follow convention. I think that readers – and editors – recognise authenticity.

Thank you so much for having me.

Coincidentally, Della and I both have novels on promotion this week. You can get Della's Ice and a Slice and my A Year and a Day for 99p each.


Della G said...

Thank you Patsy - Lovely to chat to you as always :) xxx

Shelley Wilson said...

What a lovely interview. I thoroughly enjoyed Ice and a Slice (could also relate to SJ!), and the sequel. Long may you guide us all on our writing, and reading journey.

suzy doodling said...

Amazing, I've got ice and it's great, what a brave lady, and good you wrote that book. Great interview Patsy and Della xx

Scholastica said...

I was at Swanwick and, yes, when the young lady at the back stood up, it was an absolutely electric moment - even for us in the audience! Also, as someone else mentioned at the time, your talk was so open, honest and inspiring - so thank you for speaking to us wannabes.

Maggie May said...

What a lovely interview, so inspiring. I guess perseverance also helps. If you want something badly enough, it will happen.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Fabulous interview, thank you. Your comment about writing first each day really struck home, Della, as I remember that worked best for me when I used to do that. Time to get back to being organised! And what an unforgettable comment from the person at Swanwick - makes it all worthwhile.

Jan Baynham said...

A great interview from you both. Thank you, Patsy and Della. I've read, and thoroughly enjoyed, both 'Ice and a Slice' and 'The Morning After A Life Before'. I can only imagine what courage it took for the young woman to stand up in public and how emotional it must have been for you to know your writing has had such an effect on her life.

Bea Charles said...

When I started my womag writing journey, I used two essential tools:
1. Della Galton's "How to Write and Sell Short Stories"
2. womagwriter's blog
Thank you to Della and Kath (and now Patsy) for being part of that support team.

Della G said...

Been on the road a bit lately. At woman's weekly live, Manchester atm. Hence I only just caught up with these. Thanks guys. Scholastica, I still get shivers when I think about it. ��

Della G said...

And Beatrice. Wow. Really? Brilliant x