Hello Kitty. How long have you been writing?
For years part time, but about four years more seriously.
What first got you interested in writing?
Reading what others had written and because I had to for my work.
Do you attend a writing group?
I started attending Lowestoft Library Writing Group about 3 years ago.
I know that group well. Why do you attend a writing group?
Because writing is a singular task and I wanted new inspiration, feedback and support.
I couldn't agree more. What is the most valuable thing you have taken away from your writing group?
Learning how a task can reveal a myriad of ideas and types of writing.
What genre(s) do you write? What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
Mostly crime and mysteries, mostly inspired by reading, media and what goes on in my brain - sadly!
I think everyone should be a bit worried about what goes on in their brain; I know I am! Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
War and anything else I don't understand.
What types of things do you write?
Mostly stories, but have written poetry, articles, descriptions and am willing to try any writing successfully or not.
That's the best way to be, I think. You might try something new and find out that you're really good at it or that you really enjoy it, but you wouldn't have known if you hadn't tried. Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
The media, own experiences, crime/mystery writers in general.
Do you have a writing routine?
I write in the morning mostly but need to have solitude so I try to do it when my husband is occupied! Also I often write by hand as it makes me think as I'm writing.
I'd love to be able to write by hand, but it makes me feel like I'm in a school exam! Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
No I plan first, using a variety of forms, then start and alter the plot as I go.
Do you have an editing process?
I have a writing partner and we share each other's work. Also I read out loud to see if the story sounds plausible and sometimes dictate to a recorder then play back.
A writing partner; that's a really good idea. I might have to find myself one of those. How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
I'm a watcher wherever I go. Also, if I can see the character in my mind and imagine I'm talking to them or watching them really helps. Getting to know your characters as if they really exist is important.
It's nice to meet another people watcher. That's one of my hobbies too! Have you ever had anything published?
I'd love to be published but no luck so far!
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers?
Yes, I remember the red pen marks!
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?
I think at this time there is room for all types of ways to publish writing and would consider e-publishing but I don't have enough confidence to do so at present. Self-publishing seems rather arrogant to me and it's expensive. I like both sorts of books and have to now as my bookcase collapsed so have been banned from buying any more paper books (for a while).
It's nearly Christmas, so put a few books on your list to Santa. Have you ever entered any writing competitions?
A few, but have never been successful (so far)!
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performers?
I have now!
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Very, how can you improve without positive critique?
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I like writing descriptions and letting my imagination take control. I hate editing!
What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
- Never let go an inspiration unnoticed. Make sure that you put it in black and white.
- Let not the sun go down on empty work.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Believe in yourself. When you do, anything is possible. It works for other things in life too.
Apart from writing, what are your other interests/hobbies?
Theatre, cinema, travel, gossip in history, embroidery.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your books tastes?
Crime and mystery novels (some of which are historical), classic books, articles in newspapers and magazines, which often have an influence on my writing.
Do you gave any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotations?
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain.
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." ~ Thomas Jefferson.
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened." ~ Hemingway.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Something by Dickens I suppose as his characters and settings are brilliantly described. Also his stories are unusual and tell a lot about the age in which they were written.
What are you working on at the moment?
Stebbins, my detective, has just found another body but at last put the clues to good use!
Ooh, that sounds exciting. Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
We would all like to be successful wouldn’t we but how many of us are a true success?
Frank had read a book (well most of it anyway). This may not seem like an earth-shattering event but for Frank it was the sparkle of magic that lit up his whole life, for it informed him that to be successful you have to believe in yourself!
Since he had started school Frank had always been a loner; the one who was clumsy; the one who was slowest and the least likely to succeed. At home, Frank Senior had pushed and goaded the lad till he felt (and indeed was) useless at anything that he tried to do from exams to every job or task he did.
“Useless Fool...” or “Careless Idiot...” were phrases that often could be heard when referring to Frank and even his surname – Dunderhead reflected his abilities.
Fortunately Frank had just been appointed to his latest job (the fourth in as many months) – Junior Executive (Tea boy) in the firm of ‘Castle Industries’ (run by the richest entrepreneur in town, Sir Andreas Prosperito).
“When you believe in yourself anything is possible,” Frank repeated so many times that first morning that his words became mixed up as he strode confidently to work.
“Useless Fool, he’ll be out of work in a week," his now infirmed Father moaned to their Home Help.
With trepidation Frank entered the overpowering glass building as by now his motto had been so confused that he chose to ignore it. He was sent from the foyer up to the 2nd Floor which became his place of work (or prison).
All day he worked hard running errands for the workers. Although he was surprisingly good at finding items which ranged from a pair of tights to endless reams of copying paper, no-one thanked him.
By the end of the week he was still being addressed as “Boy!” or “Hey you!” – a nameless statistic within the glass castle. By Friday Frank had totally forgotten what had been suggested in the book, after all he had no time think of anything but the endless work and his Father’s nagging. His only friend was the Office Cat, kept for his mice catching qualities. The animal had taken to following him around; Frank’s sardine sandwiches were a tempting draw to felines. They shared these enticing morsels in the service lift during the lunch hour.
During one repast however the cat did not appear!
Frank missed his companion, after all the Cat always listened to him and decided to take a trip in the lift to seek it out having a half hour of ‘sardine time’ left.
He had never elevated so high (in the lift) before. However as he went skywards each Floor showed no sign of the Cat. However on the penultimate floor he found a shifty looking group of suited men and women. Some were pacing up and down; some were sweating profusely but one suited individual was working his way through a computer saving information on a memory stick. Sneakily, he finished just as Sir Andreas Prosperito’s voice boomed on a tanoid, “Come up to the Board Room.” They exited via the main lift. It was then that Frank saw the Cat. It was pawing at the computer keyboard used by one of the suited business people as if trying to capture the computer mouse. Seeing that the screen was still on Frank realised that every penny that the Prosperito Corporation possessed was shown in the spread sheet on the screen – and the ‘Suit’ had just copied it all.
The main lift had returned empty to the floor. Stealthily the Cat moved forward its body holding open the lift door and it said (or he thought it said), “When you believe anything is possible!”
As if pulled by an invisible elastic band (or a fairy’s spell) Frank found himself attracted to the lift; into the lift and upwards speeding with the Cat rubbing itself around his legs.
He fell out of the lift his legs entangled by the Cat’s tail and found himself facing the seated backs of the shifty men and women. As he stood up brushing himself down he realised that all faces were turned to him and above them all standing from his leather chair rose the formidable shape of Sir Andreas Properito.
Frank could have run back to the lift but in that ‘future changing moment’ he believed he was in the right and shouted, “That man has stolen Company secrets Sir Andreas!”
Prosperito took a sharp look at the Junior Executive and said almost in disbelief, “You’re fired! I have never seen such disgraceful behaviour from one of my employees, drawing attention to yourself is not the way to be noticed in this Company!”
“But it is true!” slobbered the defeated Frank, “I believed I could tell you.”
“However, I cannot believe such a careless idiot. Now get out of the building and take that mangy creature with you.”
With head hung low Frank went back into the lift. He went down to the 2nd Floor to say goodbye but no-one seemed to notice him so he gathered his lunch-box from the service lift and together with the Cat exited the gigantic glass building knowing what his Father would say when he got home.
Fairy stories are supposed to have happy endings aren’t they and this one hasn’t – well not yet anyway...
You see on the way home Frank decided that no matter what his Father said he would keep the Cat so he stopped off at the ‘Corner Shop’ where he bought a large tin of sardines and a lottery ticket.
By now you must have worked out what happened next...a comfortably large lottery win that kept Frank and the Cat in sardines for the rest of their lives. As for Andreas Prosperito, the man who didn’t believe Frank, well, his empire crumbled due to a loss of business information.
© Kitty Rodgers
Thank you very much, Kitty.