I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Jane Wilson-Howarth. Enjoy.
Hello Jane, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Jane Wilson aka Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth based in the city of Cambridge.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing LETTERS since I first started writing – when was that? When I was 5 maybe. My first publication was a scientific paper on dung-eating cave-swelling creatures, in 1975, and my first book was launched in 1990. This was Lemurs of the Lost World.
What first got you interested in writing?
Wanting to share my enthusiasms.
Do you attend a writing group?
I've attended Cambridge Writers since 1999; Walden Writers since 2008 or so.
Why do you attend a writing group?
Intelligent feedback and support; it makes me write.
What's the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
Responses from a no-specialist audience.
What genre(s) do you write?
Travel narratives; travel health guides; also working on a novel for adults mostly set in Nepal and two eco-adventures.
Are there any genres that you don't enjoy writing?
You mentioned earlier that your first book was published in 1990; have you had anything else published?
Five books, some of which have come out in multiple editions; 133 features for Wanderlust magazine; lots more.
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers? Have you received any rejections?
Yes. Yes, who hasn't?
Are you interested in eBooks, or do you prefer the old fashioned paper-made books?
Yes; I like books but e-publishing is good for backlists.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere – especially exotic places.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
From meeting people.
Do you have a writing routine?
No routine – grab moments when I can.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
Do you have an editing process?
I edit multiple times. I read out. I get others to read.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
It is an escape. It is hard work.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Quite. It depends what it is that I’ve written.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions? Have you ever won?
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performers?
No but I do author talks / lectures, etc.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
Show don't tell.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Find critics and listen carefully to them.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
I work full time, cycle, row, help manage a home, etc.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
Very little time to read but I like well-written novels. I admire brevity and succinct writing. And no, not at all.
Do you have a website/blog/Twitter/Facbook dedicated to your writing?
tweet as @longdropdocand
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
The opening of A Glimpse of Eternal Snows Bradt 2012
‘You’re carrying your baby like a monkey!’ an ancient woman shouted as we ducked into the small, smoky shack. We sat down on a couple of benches; Simon ordered tea as I extracted David from the baby-carrier and suckled him. The woman wandered inside; I now saw that she was prematurely wrinkly and actually about my own age. She watched me for a few minutes, then said, ‘Why were you out in the sun with one so young? Your milk will get too hot!’ I was growing used to unwanted advice, but this came with a smile; it wasn’t like the criticism of the doctors we’d fled from a couple of weeks before.
‘The baby is beautiful, sister,’ she said. Then, when David burped and regurgitated a little, ‘See! He’s vomiting! You’ve curdled your milk!’ Pouting her lips towards Simon, she then turned on him. ‘Is this the father of the children? Why haven’t you bought her any gold? Aren’t you embarrassed for your wife to be seen walking in the bazaar without gold?’ Simon just chuckled, but I wanted to defend him. I showed her my engagement and wedding rings. ‘The colour of this gold is poor, and you need earrings, bahini!’ Then to Simon again, her eyes twinkling, ‘She has been a good wife: she has made two fine sons. Why do you dishonour her so?’
Simon’s eyes sparkled too. ‘But my wife is Tibetan,’ he lied. ‘Surely you know that they never wear gold?’
‘Ah mai — you eaters of cows, you are all the same.’
A scrawny cockerel with delusions of grandeur chased one of his harem noisily past us. Silhouetted in the low doorway, blocking out the light, was a whispering, watching huddle of young women. They didn’t dare venture inside, but it was obvious who they were discussing. As I smiled at them, they started to giggle. Two fled with their hands over their mouths. We downed our glasses of thick, sweet tea and left while the young women pleaded with us to let them keep David.
© Jane Wilson-Howarth
Thank you Jane.