Displaying items by tag: research

Friday, 03 February 2017 13:30

12.1.2017 - Interview in The Book Diner

Thank you to Sharon Zink for interviewing me for her blog, The Book Diner!

The blog title says it all - "History, Time Machines and Circuses: Novelist, Poet and Rock and Cabaret Star, Rosie Garland, brings her Magical World to the Book Diner"
… with some ruminations on research & how to keep going thrown in...
you can read the full text here:
http://sharonzink.com/the-book-diner-interviews/history-time-machines-and-circuses-novelist-poet-and-rock-and-cabaret-star-rosie-garland-brings-her-magical-world-to-the-book-diner/

Published in News

Thank you to Write-Track for featuring me on their blog for a second time!
Here is the text in full, with the link at the end.

On the Write Track - Adventures with writing habits
Rosie Garland – the bonus interview: channelling characters and living a creative life

In our first interview with Rosie Garland we found out how she kept going using rituals to support her writing and overcome the fear of the blank page. She spoke about having to "hack out time for writing" amongst work and grown up responsibilities. Here we find out how she took steps to adjust the balance of her working and creative life, and get an insight into how she writes such amazing characters.

The work-writing balance

Rosie made the decision to go part time in her job, not to write novels specifically, but to shift the balance of her work life and creative life, which she felt was out of kilter. She describes her life as being a process of getting off the career ladder: decreasing the amount of time given over to conventional work and increasing opportunities for creativity.

"When I was a kid I was always writing and had time to draw pictures, write poems, and create alternative universes. Then at the age of 18 'real' life happened. Time to get a sensible job and put creative self-indulgence away. It may only have been a handful of years, yet it felt like a long sojourn away from what I really wanted to do. I realised that all that creativity I had as a kid was a vital part of my existence, not an add-on. What I was doing was moving away from it and denying its importance. Since my late 20s my life has been a slow process of going back to it, partly by taking part-time jobs that gave me time to think."

Despite day jobs taking Rosie away from herself, she didn't resent it: "I got gifts from work and I am very grateful for the things it has given me. I don't think I would have been right being a full time writer back then. I needed to go and engage with the outside world and not stare at my navel."

Writing is the process not the end

Like many writers, Rosie says she writes because she has to. She describes writing as being a process and uses a Zen proverb to illustrate. "If you meet the Buddha on the road – kill him." I must admit to being rather puzzled by the idea of killing the Buddha, so Rosie explains.

"Rather than being literal, the proverb symbolises the creative 'road' I travel as a writer. The 'Buddha' could stand for some idealised faultless novel and therefore the end of needing to strive, grow, create... you get the picture. This deceptive Buddha suggests that I'll reach some magical, perfect endpoint. That a magical endpoint exists. No it doesn't. So I need to throw out that illusion and keep writing. There is no retiring from being writer."

Character: it all starts with a question

The rituals Rosie previously talked about help open her up to ideas and characters. She said "Part of the process is to find ways to put myself in the way of characters, to make it easier for them to come to talk to me." I was fascinated about this approach to developing character and asked her to tell me more.

"When I'm at the absolute beginning of developing a character it will often start as a question that niggles me. So for Abel [the central character in The Palace of Curiosities] the question in my head was – 'what would it be really be like to live forever?' I began to daydream and found that a particular character was answering. He – and his answers – developed into the voice of Abel. He's one example. It happens with the others in a similar way. Often, inconveniently, at 3am..."

"I write pages and pages of conversations with these characters in notebooks, longhand. I might fill six or seven notebooks with rabbiting, unedited scribble. When I've done that I start typing up to see what I've got, where all the gaps are, whether there is a story in the mess. And if, out of all the whatever-thousand words, I see the root of a story then I will start writing."

Right character wrong novel

Rosie says that her characters have very insistent voices and they can stay with her for a long time. Abel began in "awful novel two which was woefully in search of a plot" and couldn't tell his story. Rosie carried him around in her head until she introduced him to Eve in The Palace of Curiosities who enabled him to grow and develop. "He just needed to meet the right people at the right time."

Abel has left Rosie alone. She explains. "He has told his story now. It's like closure. He gets the last line in Palace, 'I am joy, complete, forever'. And that's it. Abel has told his story and has left me alone."

Don't get it right – get it written

Tom Clancy summed it up when he said "just tell the damn story". Rosie believes that you don't have to get it right but get it written. It's very easy to get carried away with research, especially when writing novels set in the past. Because Vixen is set in 1349, it's important the historical details were correct, but they mustn't get in the way of the story. She explains,

"I did some research about mediaeval laundry and some of the awful stuff they used to bleach it, but none of it is in the story – what's important is that Thomas makes Anne do the laundry far more often than necessary and it drives her nuts having to waste all her time. That's the important thing, the interaction between them, not about what paddle she uses. Just tell the damn story."

If you get stuck over a detail Rosie advises putting it in brackets for checking later and carrying on with the storyline. She says "No one cares whether the arrow is tipped with pigeon feather, eagle feather or goshawk feather, what's important is who the hell does he shoot with the arrow."

Read our first interview with Rosie Garland. Find out what she's been up to by following her on Twitter @rosieauthor and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rosielugosi. Or better still read her excellent novels Vixen and The Palace of Curiosities.

Click to go to Write-Track blog page

Published in News

News and Events

  • 16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland
    16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland

    Thrilled that 'Now that you are not-you' is Guardian Poem of the Week!

    "A very modern, secular kind of elegy reflects on death with a surprising lightness" - Carol Rumens

    "This week’s poem is from What Girls Do in the Dark, the latest collection by the multi-talented Rosie Garland. It stands alone, while extending the narrative of the short poem that immediately precedes it, Stargazer. The setting of Stargazer is a hospital bedside, where the dying patient’s visitor must navigate “the vertigo tilt / of old words like spread, outlook, time.” That poem ends with the metaphors that will be reconfigured in Now that you are not-you. “Doctors / murmur the names of new constellations / - astrocyte, hippocampus, glioblastoma – and calculate / the growth of nebulae; this rising tide of cells that climbs / the Milky Way of the spine to flood your head with light.”

    Read the whole article here...

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/nov/16/poem-of-the-week-now-that-you-are-not-you-by-rosie-garland

    Written on Monday, 16 November 2020 15:28
  • 12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE
    12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE

    7.30pm GMT

    Join us to celebrate the launch of What Girls Do in the Dark by Rosie Garland, with guests Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys
    About this Event
    Join Rosie Garland, plus guest writers Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys to celebrate the publication of Rosie's new poetry collection What Girls Do in the Dark.
    Thursday 12th November 7.30pm (GMT)
    This event will be streamed live & can be viewed now, through the Nine Arches Press YouTube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Z7yq1Ey_U&feature=youtu.be

     

    Written on Thursday, 05 November 2020 15:48
  • Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)
    Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)

    I thought it wasn't possible to feel any more thrilled about joining Nine Arches Press
    - then I see the stunning cover of my new poetry collection, 'What Girls Do In The Dark'.
    Out October 2020
    https://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/what-girls-do-in-the-dark.html

    Written on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 13:31
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    Manchester Confidential chooses The Night Brother as a must-read Manchester novel!

    Dystopian classics to modern crime - Nine must-read Manchester novels

    “Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, comedy…we’ve got a genre for everyone
    There’s a very good reason Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, as we highlighted before its bid to join the prestigious network in 2017. Innovative publishers, diverse bookshops and a lively events scene make it an unrivalled literary melting pot.

    Rosie Garland’s The Night Brother is our historical highlight
    Ever the entertainer, Rosie Garland sung in post-punk band The March Violets and now performs ‘twisted cabaret’ as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. But she’s also a literary maverick with an array of essays, short stories and poetry to her name (much of which she also reads at spoken words events citywide) and three acclaimed novels. Her latest, The Night Brother, navigates themes of gender and identity through two siblings in Victorian Manchester. Rich and Gothic, it’s a must for fans of Angela Carter.”

    https://confidentials.com/manchester/dystopian-classics-to-modern-crime-nine-must-read-manchester-novels

    Written on Thursday, 16 April 2020 18:18
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read
    April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read

    An unexpected & encouraging piece of news!
    Northern Soul has selected 'The Night Brother' as a Best Northern Read

    Desmond Bullen, Northern Soul writer
    “In days that can seem desolate and uncertain, there’s a lot to be said for windows into a better world and, ultimately, joyfully, that is exactly the view that The Night Brother by Rosie Garland affords. Not that its window seat is cheaply achieved. Far from it.
    Rooted with disbelief-suspending specificity in Manchester at the end of the 19th century, Garland’s novel blossoms compellingly from the exquisite simplicity of its central conceit, one which owes the tiniest debt to the 1971 horror film Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde. Edie and her brother Gnome are joined in a very particular symbiosis, so that their singular sibling rivalry threatens to be the undoing of both. Themes that could be leaden in other hands emerge from the premise with a beautiful lightness of touch, developing into a persuasive fable of inclusivity and self-acceptance. This is a book that sings a rainbow at its end.”


    https://www.northernsoul.me.uk/books-best-northern-reads-part-one/

    Written on Thursday, 09 April 2020 15:26