Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Blog Her Award - Shoes, Stones and Triumph

Thanks very much, Rachel Fenton, for presenting me with this blog award ! Some of you will remember that I met up with Short Fiction prizewinner Rachel Fenton in Soho last November for a brilliant Wagamama lunch where we both motor-mouthed for hours. Oh and we also read our stories at the Short Fiction launch at the Plymouth Book Festival. A great time was had. Thanks Rachel!
- Where do you usually write/create?
In my music room/library downstairs which is full of bookshelves and African sculptures and a big gilded mirror and a black piano. It’s my favourite place and I don’t even like people coming in here.

- Describe your ideal writing/making day.
I drop off my son at the bus stop at 6.30am and make a big cup of green tea and shut myself off to the world. I’ll stay there as long as I can.

- What are you really enjoying working on at the moment?
I’m halfway through my second short story collection and things are heating up! I love writing stories, for me it’s a druggie thing. I need to do it. I’ve just had my first piece from the new collection accepted by a review so I’m pushing ahead.

- What, if anything, stops you from writing?
People, family, worry, work, bills to pay. Just like everybody. Sometimes the house is a tip and I really have to wade my way through, or the fridge has been empty for a week. Or I need to recharge and I run away to the Dolomites for a ski or to Venice for a rainy walk.
Blogging is time-consuming but must be done. Also book promotion falls into my hands. A writer's work is never done..

- If you could choose a writer to be your mentor (share work with, chat about the process) who would it be? 
Gosh. George Saunders. I think he would be a great teacher. Or Nam Le. Sarah Hall. Cate Kennedy. I’d probably be too daunted to say a word though.

- Do you believe in writer's block? If you get it, how do you overcome it?
Somebody once told me a story was a wheel or a merry-go-around and you just have to hop on at the right place. I think this is true for me. Sometimes I have to wait to think up the right place to begin. It can be a waiting game. But I just go away or do something else, or work on a list of other themes for stories. Beginnings are so important.

- Tell us a good thing that happened to you today.
A lovely man sent me a beautiful song.

- What's the first thing you do in the morning?
 Like everybody, I check my email. Then I let the dogs out.

- What's your most listened to song?
Mmmm. Overall, it might be ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ but Isaac Hayes or ‘All Along the Watchtower’ by Jimi Hendrix. Lately I’ve been listening to Patti Smith’s Horses in the car to empty my head. I’ve also been listening to Haydn’s piano Sonata no. 53 because I am studying it.

- Who would play you in the movie of your life? 
Isabelle Huppert. She is my queen!

- What would the title of your autobiography be?
I haven’t a clue. This needs some thought.

Apparently I have to pass this on, and the five nominees I've chosen are:

Sylvia Petter - Merc's World
Alison Lock 
Jane Telford – Indulge Divulge
Downith –Write it downith
Lisa Chiodo - Renovating Italy
Ingrid Christensen dreamlifeofmine

Nominees - if you choose to accept the award, here's what you need to do:

    Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

    Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

    Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.( I only wrote six.)

    Provide 11 random facts about yourself. (Again, I only wrote six. I don't want to bore you!)

    Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

    Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

    List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

    Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

These are my answers to Rachel Fenton’s questions and my random facts/new questions follow below:
Who or what motivates you? 
Words, a deep love of words
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you do?
A gardener. A set designer. A pianist.
You’re on a desert island, what have you taken with you?
A man! A big hat and lots of sun cream.
Describe in one sentence your work area.
My office is my nest, my warren, my theatre, my angst, my (shaky) triumph.
What are the barriers to your creativity?
Money. Time.
What’s your definition of success?
Good reviews. Okay sales. A lasting connection with others of this crazy writing tribe.


Here are six lightweight random facts about this skinny writer.
1. I live in the middle of vineyards.
2. I once fell in love with a man because of one word he said. 
3. I love to dance.
4. My first published story was called 'Elton John's Mother'
5. My shoe collection is sublime.
6. I collect stones from Corsica.

And here are my six (slightly more serious) questions for the next set of Liebster nominees:

*Do you think blogging helps or hinders your writing/creative efforts?

*Do you ever regret choosing to write?

*What had been your biggest creative triumph so far?

*Your biggest disappointment?

*Are you working hard enough?

*Who do you share you work with?

Hop to it!


  1. Falling in love because of one word - that's something! Wowzer!
    Love your facts and answers.

    Thanks for accepting the award, Catherine. I'm looking forward to reading your nominees' responses.

    1. Yes it was crazy. And to think I haven't used it in a story yet. Better that way maybe.

      Thanks to YOU darl ! Xx

  2. Thanks, Catherine, for the nomination! I look forward to posting this. Yes, I'm intrigued by the one word, too. You'll have to tell...

    1. Looking forward to reading yours too!
      Maybe I'll tell you the word next time I see you - but I promise it's not a naughty word. It just hit me out of the blue!

  3. Late to the party. THink I understand the rules??? Thanks for the nomination.