Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundredth, is of short story author and novelist, tutor and interviewee Della Galton.
Della Galton is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist; she is also the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum and has been writing and getting published for over twenty-five years.
When she is not writing she enjoys walking her dogs in the beautiful Dorset countryside where she lives.
Her hobby is repairing old cottages, which is lucky as hers is falling down.
And now from the author herself:
‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.’ True or false? I remember when I first read that very famous quote and I thought, surely not, I write for love, don’t I? I write because writing defines me, I can’t imagine a life without writing. If I won the lottery, I would still write. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.
Deep breath and pause for thought. Let’s get honest. I haven’t won the lottery. The only way I can write as much as I like is if I get paid for doing it. Maybe Samuel Johnson knew what he was talking about, after all!
Journalism and MalawiIf I want to write every day I have to be paid. So maybe, deep down, I am a hack. Hmmm! That doesn’t mean I can’t still write what I love though. And as I’m currently writing about me and you’re being patient enough to read it, here are some of my highlights.
Conversation with a My Weekly editor back in 2007:
Ed – Hi, Della, this is the phone call you never thought you would have.
Me – (slightly sleepily as hadn’t had enough coffee). Really?
Ed – Yes, we are doing a series of features about poverty in Malawi – we’re working with a charity called Mary’s Meals who provide free school meals for children. We are going to be raising money for Mary’s Meals so they can build a kitchen attached to a school. That way the children get an education, and they have a chance of a life.
Me – Sounds like a great idea.
Ed – Have you guessed where you come in?
Me – No! (told you I was sleepy)
Ed – We want you to go to Malawi and interview the children, the teachers, the parents, the charity workers, everyone who is involved. Your mission is to write twelve very emotional features, and help our staff journalist write weekly updates. We will of course pay all your expenses and pay you for the features.
Me – (falling off chair in shock). Wow. Thank you.
I went twice to Malawi to write those features. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Find out more about Mary’s Meal’s here.
Short stories and controversial issues
The first short story I ever sold (back in 1987) was called Second Chance, and it was published in a teenage confession magazine called Loving (I wish that magazine was still around, it was excellent).
Second Chance was set in a doctor’s surgery, and it was all about a teenager who was planning to have a termination – blimey, I don’t think I’d sell that story now – it’s quite a controversial issue, even today. But then I’ve always liked writing about controversial issues. I don’t have a copy of Second Chance any more but I can remember the last line, which went something like this.
Throughout her life she would give her baby many second chances, but none of them would be as important as the one she was giving him now…
Novels and more controversial issues
My latest novel, Ice and a Slice, also has some strong themes and focuses on a controversial issue. It’s about friendship, beating the odds, and love. It’s also about alcoholism.
The main character is called SJ, and she drinks too much, although she would argue until she was blue in the face about that! And if you don’t believe me, then do check out her Facebook page here or her Twitter account here, where she is surprisingly active!
So, why did I write about alcoholism? Well, as I said earlier I’m big on issues. I like writing about things that matter, and alcoholism is a subject very close to my heart. Many of my family suffer from it. Some of them are in recovery and some of them are not. And some have died needless premature deaths.
An alcoholic is not someone, as I once thought, who drinks meths on a park bench. Alcoholism is not a moral issue for weak minded people – it’s a disease that can affect anyone – it can strike doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers, vicars, secretaries, taxi drivers, anyone. It’s a disease of our time.
So, yes I feel passionate about alcoholism and that’s why I wrote Ice and a Slice. SJ – or Sarah-Jane Crosse to give her full name – is deeply flawed, but I love her to bits. I think she’s probably the most three-dimensional character I’ve ever created. Hence, she has her own social media pages. Do check them out.
You’ll have more luck getting a sensible answer from her when she’s sober – so mornings are good!
And if you like what you see, do take a look at Ice and a Slice too – you can read a free sample or buy it for less than a glass of Chardonnay 🙂 by clicking here.
I also write writing books, which combine my love of teaching with my love of writing. Check them out here.
And if you’ve got this far, you’re clearly made of strong stuff. Thank you very, very much for reading. And if you are a writer, writing for love and / or for money, I wish you all the success in the world.
You can find more about Della and her writing via…
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