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.
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!
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.