I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Jan Moran Neil. Enjoy.
Jan Moran Neil
Hello Jan. Can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Jan Moran Neil – based in
, Bucks. Beaconsfield
How long have you been writing?
All my life but seriously since 1988.
What first got you interested in writing?
I trained as an actress and voice teacher. Words are my tools.
Do you attend a writing group?
I have run Creative Ink for Writers’ classes – my own courses for adults since 2000.
Why did you start running this group?
I teach. I edit. I’m passionate about helping writers to place words on the laptop or page in the best way they can to communicate with themselves and others.
What is the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
You only take out what you put in – to anything.
What genre(s) do you write?
I have just written a novel and published – for young adults. It started as a short young adult novel, transpired to a play – which was performed on the London Fringe to great reviews and then mutated to a longer novel which can be read by fully grown people but teenagers too.
Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
Um – no. But it would be good to have nine lives and try out every one.
What types of things do you write?
Probably the only thing I haven’t written is song lyrics. Oh, to have Bob Gaudio’s talent. (The Four Seasons)
You mentioned earlier about your YA novel; have you had anything else published?
Three plays – Blackberry Promises, Brave Hearts & Baggage and The Deadly Factor by New Theatre Publications.
Serving Bluebird Pie – Creative Ink Publishing and available on Amazon Kindle.
Hundreds of features – for national and local magazines including Company, Mother, Reader’s Digest, Chic Chat, Chiltern Living and most recently for Writing Magazine – monthly contributor.
Have you ever sent your writing to agents/publishers?
Loads and I’ve had two major literary agents but no-one works for you like yourself.
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?
I run Creative Ink Publishing so have published others words and also run Creative Ink for Actors which has recently produced a film – using finalists’ work from an international writing competition.
Do you have a writing routine?
I write to projects – create my own deadlines and work to commissions. There's nothing that hones the thoughts like a deadline.
I agree. The adrenalin surge forces words out of my body! Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
Writing pulls down writing.
Do you have an editing process?
I edit – yes – I have a reader – but sometimes the policewoman on my shoulder is too noisy.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Readingand connecting my own thoughts.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Writing pulls down writing – John Mortimer.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Write. Write. Re-write. Eventually abandon it and move on. It will never be perfect.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Isolation and omnipotence
Worst – rejections.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Publication is very important to me.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?
BBC Writers’ News Comp – 1995 – won with my short story – ‘Death by Pythagoras’ – broadcast on Radio 4 and commendations in many comps for poems and other short stories.
Have you ever been to an open mic event for spoken word performers?
Yes – I come from the performance stable – was trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Reading, acting, directing, editing, teaching producing, travel and swimming.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Anything by Kazuo Ishiguro, Audrey Niffenegger, Lionel Shriver or Joanne Harris.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotations?
Writing pulls down writing – John Mortimer and ‘This writing business – pencils and whatnot. Over-rated if you ask me.’ Winnie the Pooh.
What are you working on at the moment?
My novel for young adults – Blackberry Promises is about to be published, and the film ‘Dear John ‘ out next month.
Do you have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook dedicated to your writing?
Creative Ink for Actors on Facebook.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for the exposure.
You're more than welcome. Thank you for participating. Would you be able to provide a short piece of your writing?
It’s August 1959 and it’s blackberry picking time. ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Living Doll’ blare out from the juke box: boys wear natty suits, their hair slicked back in Elvis quiffs; girls are dressed in puffed out skirts - all of them with one thing on their minds ...
How far do we go to keep a promise? A back street stabbing changes the lives of five young people forever and promises prove difficult to keep. Blackberry Promises is an evocative exploration of teenage sexuality set in an era which invented the teenager.
© Jan Moran Neil
Thank you very much Jan.