Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eighty-third, is of Marion Grace Woolley.
Marion Grace Woolley studied at the British Record Industry Trust (BRIT) School of Performing Arts, Croydon. After obtaining an MA in Language & Communication Research from the University of Cardiff, she declared that she’d had enough of academia and decided to run away to Africa.
Balancing her creative impulses with a career in International Development, she worked and travelled across Africa, Australia, Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’. In 2009, Marion helped to oversee the publication of the first Dictionary of Amarenga y’Ikinyarwanda (Rwandan Sign Language). A project of which she was immensely proud to have been a part.
The same year, Marion was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers. She is the author of three novels and an associate member of the Society of Authors.
She now lives in Gloucester, having just taken on the role of managing the New Olympus Theatre.
And now from the author herself:
I think that I’ve always been a writer, in much the same way that I’ve always been female. It’s just something I am, rather than something I consciously set out to become. In that respect, I’ve been quite lucky. We tend to excel at the things we enjoy, and I enjoy writing immensely. Of course I have my off-days, and the occasional month of intellectual inertia – who doesn’t? But I always come back to the page. I think, in order to write good stories, you have to love stories themselves. Within every author is an inherent need to communicate: ideas, expressions, knowledge. A compelling need to get something across. To reach an ‘aha!’ moment of understanding with another person. Whether that person is reading you on a commuter train, whether they’re lying in bed or rowing single-handedly around the world. We reach out with our words and seed imaginings.
One of my favourite Latin phrases is: Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli – which basically means ‘each book has its destiny according to the capability of its reader.’ I love that as a concept. That, as writers, we breathe life into something which goes on to fulfil its own destiny in the hands of the people who read it.
I also think that authors – especially of contemporary fiction – have to be pretty fearless. You have to be willing to ‘go there’. To speak from a place of questioning and observation. Big books require big ideas, which come from testing boundaries, travelling, seeing things, talking about them – an exhausting undertaking.
I’m not just talking about travelling in a geographical sense – though that is important. I also mean travelling within oneself. Great stories almost always include some element of love, conflict and death. A straight-road story from A-Z through B, C and D is dull. People read fiction in a similar way to peering through the proscenium arch of a theatre. They want to observe a human disaster, without having to live it. That’s how we learn. We watch things happening from a safe distance, allowing us to retain enough sense of self to analyse what is happening and plot our response.
I think that’s why I find it difficult to stick to one genre. Thanks to e-publishing and flourishing small press, I don’t have to. Fiction, for me, is a constant exploration of Self, even in its most sycophantic or indulgent form. To restrict myself to one genre or style would breed frustration down the line. It might not be the best marketing technique, but it’s best for me as a writer right now.
For aspiring writers, I’d go back to that quote. Remember that every book has a soul within it. Trust in that soul to shine through.
Then invest in an editor.
Now I know why my school best friend studied Latin. Thank you, Marion. You can find more about Marion and her writing via…
Her website: http://www.authormgw.co.uk
Angorichina Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOfH_BGLhAc
Twitter: @AuthorMGW / https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorMGW
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with author Susan Spence – the three hundred and sixty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.