Alan from the Fiction Team chats to June Davies, whose new serial, The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove, begins in this week’s issue.
Q.1: The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove is the second serial you have written for us. Did you find the writing process any different from The Warmsleys Of Pedlars Down, which we published last year? Or do you tend to adopt the same approach when planning and writing serials?
Macgregor’s Cove, Pedlars and my other stories probably all come about in much the same way. Something sparks a first idea; then there’s a rough draft, a ragbag of more ideas and stuff that might happen. Once writing proper begins, however, the story takes on a life of its own; plots develop unexpected twists and turns, characters do and say whatever they choose, and I just go with the flow and write down what I see and hear.
Q.2: I think it’s safe to assume you are most at home with historical settings. Therefore, I’m wondering, do you take inspiration from where you live in the north-west of England for any of your storylines?
I’m constantly inspired by the coastline and landscapes of my surroundings in north-west England and, of course, by lots of other places, too. I walk a great deal. Travelling on foot really draws you into a place and its past. You’re following in the steps of people, times and events gone before. Those stories are all around you.
Q.3: Who is your favourite character in Macgregor’s Cove, and why?
Oh, I couldn’t possibly single out one character for fear of offending the others!
Q.4: You have written short stories, serials and novels. Do you feel writing short stories is a good discipline for the longer story formats, and which format gives you most enjoyment?
Yes, I’m sure it is. While I love writing short stories, by nature I’m a “long” writer and especially enjoy working on lengthy tales.
Q.5: Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Since early childhood, I’ve written stories and wanted to be a writer. So when I was about eight, Father Christmas brought me a toy typewriter. It was tinplate. The keys were painted on, but it had a proper carriage for paper and a red and blue ribbon. At the top was a dial with the alphabet around its edge. You turned the dial, selected a letter, pressed a lever and that letter was typed on to your page. I loved it and felt like a proper writer!
I’ve never written directly on to a typewriter or laptop, though. I’m happy with my fountain pen, a bottle of nice blue ink and a ruled notebook – or any other scrap of paper that happens to be handy.
P.S. What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?
Write every day. Even if only a few lines or jotting down an idea – just write!
Catch up with more Writer’s of The Week here