50 Things to Make a Booknerd Smile this Christmas

Christmas Book Bundle GiveawayYou may have noticed that there’s a giveaway going on this month – how exciting! And I’m super excited too because not only do I get to give away a great book bundle to one lucky winner, I have also been able to chat with a couple of the authors and find out how the ‘pros’ do it.

I got the chance to speak to Marina Warner about her writing experiences

Q1. How long have you been writing? And what was the first thing you can remember writing?
Marina Warner

Credit: Dan Welldon

I started when I was about 8 or 9 and I found a story a few years ago among my mother’s paper when she died. It was called ‘The Last Cigarette’ and featured a man about to be shot whose last wish was for a smoke. I think this proves that books create reality as it must have come from something morbid I’d been reading. I was a bookworm and my father was a bookseller and they didn’t censor my reading at all.

Q2. Did you always want to be a writer?

I hankered to become a singer for a short while in my teens, but I really always wanted to write. Shelley was my first true love, and I first wanted to be a poet. I did write poetry when I was young.

Q3. How did you feel when you were writing fly away home?

Fly Away Home by Marina WarnerThis is a collection of stories, and they each need a different voice and is aiming to create a different mood for the reader or listener. I usually do some research for the setting, background etc, and this preparation brings different kinds of pleasures – sometimes walking around an area to get the details right or thinking about the character’s clothes. I often write out of feelings of sadness, and there is a lot of loss – of home, of children, of love – in the stories, and writing them is a way of charming away such states – at least I try to achieve that.

Q4. how long did it take to write?
There are 18 stories and they span a decade. They vary in length: I worked on some of the longer ones now and then over the years. One or two were written for immediate broadcast and I was given less than a day to produce them.
Q5. Do you have a special place where you got to write?
Marina Warner

Credit: Edward Park

Almost always in my study, which is the attic of my house in Kentish Town, which I am very very fortunate to have. It stands on a rise on the edge of a terrace and catches the wind so I often feel i’m in a tree house or a crow’s nest out to sea on the choppy waves.

I’m always being recommended retreats where writers can be secluded and even have meals brought to the door of their cabin so they can carry on undisturbed. But I rather like the harum scarum of London life. And I get easily lonely.

Q6. When you began writing, did you ever think you’d get to where you are now?

I had no picture in my mind of where writing woudl take me, except that the writers I longed to be like all died much younger than I am now: Camus, Rimbaud, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, etc.

Q7. Do you have any more work in the pipeline? Another project perhaps?

I am writing a novel to be called something like Flight Into Egypt or Inventory of a Life Mislaid . My last came out – The Leto Bundle in 2000 . It’s set in Cairo in the Fifties and is inspired by my parents’ lives there after the war and the bookshop my father had, which was burned down in the nationalist uprising in l952. This will be my sixth novel – my first, In a Dark Wood, came out in l977.

Wow Marina , thanks so much for sharing. It’s so inspiring to hear about your short story collection. I hope your next project is just as successful and rewarding.

If you’re interested in purchasing Marina’s new book, then you can do so by clicking here.

If you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, then head on over there now and get your entry in before the 23rd December. The winner will be emailed on the 24th and will get four amazing books, courtesy of Salt.

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