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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Interview with Avril Field-Taylor

Avril Field-Taylor, writer, singer and librarian, has written more or less since she could form words. A lover of crime fiction, she is engaged in a series of novels about her singing sleuth, Georgia Pattison: the first is published as Dearly Ransomed Soul and is a very good read. The second is currently seeking a publisher and more are on the way. But, a fan of Conan Doyle’s famous detective, she has also published a Sherlock Holmes novel, Murder at Oakwood Grange. This is a great detective story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At present, Avril is working on a Tudor detective story, set in an alternative historical background around the time of Henry VIIIA prize-winning short story writer, she lives and works on the coast of East Yorkshire, where she can take her beloved dog for a walk by the refreshing sea after a day spent bashing the keys or researching.

SA: What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?

AFT: Persistence. Determination. Belief that somebody, somewhere, sometime is going to want to publish what you’ve written. Never to be precious about your prose.

SA: What is your working method?

AFT: It’s a job. Begin at 8 or 8.30, break for lunch, knock off at 4. I do lots of research, know my last line and my first line. Write about five chapters and then write the end, go back and work towards it. The end usually gets trashed, but it gives a good sense of direction.

SA: How do you know where to begin any given story?

AFT: I don’t always. Sometimes, it will be a phrase that comes along with a mental picture of a scene. I might write it and it doesn’t gel. I keep going until there’s a sentence that is essentially in the middle of the action and the first line becomes clearer in my head.

SA: How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

AFT: Between 3 and 4 months, first draft.

SA: Do you have support either from family and friends or a writing group?

AFT: All three. My husband is a constant rock on whom I lean and, truth be told, without his encouragement, I couldn’t write. My close friends have complete belief in me and one, in particular, is my Ideal Reader – the one person I know and trust to tell me it’s rubbish if it is. The local writing group are all published authors, unfailingly supportive, but ruthlessly honest, something every writer needs.

SA: What are you writing now?

AFT: The sequel to “Duty of Evil”, my alternate history crime novel. It doesn’t have a title yet.

SA: Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?
AFT: Yep! Plotting. The more convoluted and complicated the better and then ensuring that all the twisted strands can be put in their proper place, so that the story holds together in a coherent whole.

SA: Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

AFT: In front of windows with a stunning view.

SA: Do you have a website or blog?

AFT: There is a link to the blog from there.

SA; Where do you actually write?

AFT: In my office and hopefully, soon, my writers’ cabin, The Word Shed.

You can get the books online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WH Smith, Waterstones, Book Depository, etc and to order from bookshops. Both are £6.99. Murder at Oakwood Grange - ISBN9781906558871. Dearly Ransomed Soul – ISBN9781849231336

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