Hello! Today I have an interview with Amy of Ten Penny Dreams, a twenty-something
aspiring writer and dreamer, who lives in North East England.
You're e-publishing your novel, Broken Things! That's wonderful! How's that journey going? Is there anything you wish someone had told you before you started?
At the moment I’ve stalled, partly because I’m working on a new story for NaNoWriMo. Broken Things is still in the final editing phase and I’m finding it hard as I’m a bit of a perfectionist, plus I’ve definitely got ‘The Fear’ about finally deciding that it’s finished and it’s ready for people to see. I’ll get there eventually, but I’d rather take my time to make sure I’ve produced a good book that I can be proud of.
I think because I’ve been so slow with it I’ve had plenty of time to learn about self-publishing. But I started writing the manuscript about five years ago and I wish I was a better writer at the time – editing would be a lot easier!
Are you working on your next novel? Is that the NaNoWriMo story you're currently writing?
Yes it is! It’s tentatively called The Disappeared and it’s set in a dystopian version of England, where people often ‘disappear’ into the hands of the secret police. I’ve had this story in mind for six or seven years now and this is the first time I’ve really sat down to work on it, aside from a couple of false starts. I always felt like this was a serious story and I wanted to wait until I was at a point as a writer where I could do it justice.
Do you have a favorite author? A favorite book? A least favorite book?
I love the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. He manages to blend scenes of everyday life with fantastical elements in such an understated and beautiful way.
My favourite book is probably The Crow Road, by Iain Banks. It’s a modern saga about a Scottish family whose members are prone to tragedy, yet it’s really funny and intelligent too. I first read it over 15 years ago and love coming back to it, as I get something new from the story each time. Plus it has one of the best ever opening lines with: “It was the day my grandmother exploded.”
I’m not sure I have a least favourite book, but one of Iain Banks’ other novels, The Wasp Factory, would be a contender. I read it during my A-Levels (UK exams) and it’s a difficult read as it’s the story of a disturbed boy with a troubled background and has some very grotesque moments. It’s one of those books you either love or hate intensely.
There are a few other books that stand out for me as being disappointing in some way; I once even wrote a blog post about six popular books that I didn’t like.
What did you read recently that you wish you'd gotten to sooner?
Tough one, but I think I’m going to say The Hunger Games trilogy. I only read it recently, despite the first book sitting on my shelf for over a year and I loved it.
I'm jealous that you live in North East England. (Anglophile here!) What's your favorite and least favorite thing about where you live?
Haha, well I’m jealous that you’re from New York! The worst thing is that the town I’m from has a really bad reputation nationally and was once even voted the worst place to live in the UK. It’s an industrial town so there are a lot of factories and chemical plants, and there are a lot of social issues that go along with that, such as unemployment and poverty. But the North East has improved so much over the last decade or so; it’s become much more focused on culture, regeneration and heritage and there are some amazing places to visit.
Also, a lot of people don’t realise just how amazing the countryside in the North East is; it’s very wild and striking, with a dramatic coastline. Plus the people are incredibly friendly, strangers will chat to you in the street and there’s a strong sense of community that you don’t always get in other areas of the UK.
If you ever get chance to come to the UK, make sure you come north, as most tourists don’t venture far outside London and they’re missing out.
You love sharing your dreams (and even have a manifesto for dreamers), so what are some of your life goals?
I think the main thing is that I’d love to be able to work independently, as a writer and blogger, and not have a regular 9 to 5 job. It would be amazing to have the freedom to travel more and I’d love to develop my photography skills and learn another language.
Tough question ahead: If you could only pick one of these goals to accomplish, which would it be?
Publish a book, definitely. I love all kinds of creative activities, but writing feels like my true identity.
When you're bored, what is the first thing you do to occupy your time?
Since I’ve had an iPad, it’s too easy to pick it up and flick through the internet or play a game whenever I’m bored. Really I should use the time to read or do a bit of writing, but I’m weak!
How do you stay inspired? Any tips?
It can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re busy and tired. But it helps to read a lot and be around other creative people. When I’m writing, it tends to come from an emotional place, so I’ll listen to music to create the right atmosphere and that will generally help the words to flow. And you need to remember that it’s not all about inspiration, writing is hard and you need to be disciplined too. It’s the people who write even when they’re not inspired that become most successful.
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