Amazing writer/poet/word artist all kinds of wonderful Kirsten Irving tagged me as a writer to respond to an interview for an expanding blog project called The Next Big Thing. You can read her interview at http://sidekickbooks.blogspot.co.uk/.
In turn I’m tagging four selected writers to answer the questions on 9 January 2013) (see below the interview!).
Where did the idea come from for the book? These poems and pictures are based on a visit to Terre Rouge in Mauritius where I stayed with the Groodoyals family, hence the book's title The Groodoyals of Terre Rouge. So although it may be unfamiliar to many, the collection has a straightforward rather than a cryptic title.
What genre does your book fall under? Poetry and Art
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Ah, well the Groodoyals family are better than any screen family – but perhaps some of these large families that have been so popular on the screen represent something of their tight knit sensibility. I’m thinking of the Cosby Family, the Waltons, the Partridge family – hey, all my references American – which says more about my personal viewing history than anything else.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? How it feels for an adult to get a new family for a brief moment in a windswept isle in the Indian ocean.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I wrote the poems in a month. But they only became a manuscript four years later. The original prints were made over six months at Camberwell Art College.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? That marvellous family, the Groodoyals of Terre Rouge, of course. Also I was just branching out into poetry at the time, after being a songwriter for many years. I wanted to have a go at pushing my lyrics further, experimenting with working without the support of music. This was hard for me. I was breaking habits I had built up over a lifetime. I felt quite lost at the beginning but it helped me find my way into writing poetry. Focusing on a concentrated, special time period turned out to be a good way of creating a coherent body of first work. Having published my debut collection on a completely different topic (Reuters news stories in For the Messengers) I wanted to return to a personal topic, and refreshed the work for me by expanding the text with the inclusion of printmaking.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The artwork consists of photographs of the trip which contrast with the poems to add extra voyeur and voyager qualities. The experimental prints are lyrical, visual explorations. I’m fascinated by etching and monoprint techniques and like to push these as much as possible. The design is by the brilliant Nicky Otaka Zhu.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Neither. It’s going to be published by Dark Windows Press in 2013. ***
My writers to tag are: 1. My Teeside wordsmith in Malaysia, Alan Savage (I'll post his here) 2. Rather superb playwright, teacher and fun guy Sean Bruno of the Conway Collective
3. Lucy Lepchani, who is working towards a very interesting book on her Lepchar heritage
4. Er ... I haven't got a fourth yet - but I shall