does the word "story"
mean to you?
VJ: Comfort. A very
emotional concept. Reading stories was my childhood focus and retreat.
I remember clearly in my teenage years first encountering an unhappy
ending and realizing that the possibilities of story were endless.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
The very opposite. I’m trying to wire into humanity – the
things we have in common. As a writer I’m most interested in the small
rebellions that we stage in our increasingly controlled lives in order
to be ourselves – that’s my ideal reader, everyone.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
VJ: I’d like to ask the men among my
readers if they felt alienated by the title, the cover or the stories –
there were some quite sparky discussions about the cover design amongst
my friends, some feeling that it was off-putting to men, though the men
who read it declared it a warm and funny collection, not at all
threatening. I’m shortly to talk with my local library’s reading group
about Perfect 10 so I’ll have the opportunity to ask them then.
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
VJ: That’s the affirmation that all
writers need when people you don’t know buy your book – great when they
talk to you at readings or write to you afterwards. Your first single
author book removes that fear that it’s all pointless and self-centred,
that you’re never going to get anywhere and so on. Small
presses like Pewter Rose are vital to those among us who write in the
byways of subject matter or style.
What are you working on now?
VJ: A collection of memoir pieces (not
the crusty old general type) – my writing group is engaged on a memoirs
project this year which I’m guiding towards a performance piece and a
publication. A couple of years back I was part of a memoirs group and I
produced half a dozen lightly fictionalized accounts of my
childhood as part of a naval family in Malta in the 1950s. Several of
these found publication in various places, one broadcast as an
afternoon story on Radio 4 – and I hope there’s either a collection of
discreet pieces or a whole memoir ready for development.