How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Newland: The collection had many guises and titles. I've
effectively been writing it from the late nineties (the oldest story
was written in '98). It was called West
Side Stories, When Gods Lived, then Music For The Off-Key.
I finished the last story in 2005.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
Always! But it was difficult getting the
stories published - they are few short story collections by Black
British writers, notwithstanding Jackie Kay, and to propose a
collection where I wasn't doing my usual 'urban' thing was near enough
unthinkable for publishers. So it took a lot longer before Peepal Tree
took it on. I ended up swapping older stories for more recent, better
crafted ones. It certainly made the collection stronger!
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
I usually go by a gut instinct - the ones I
like best - when choosing what to include. One got dropped when I
talked with my editor and we realised there were flaws in the story too
great to rectify. I tried to make each one completely different from
the last so that it showed the diversity of the character's
experiences. My fiancee chose the order of the stories, as I needed an
outside eye and I think she was spot on!
TSR: Do you
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
Not in particular, just anyone who loves a good story.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
anything at all?
Am I making any sense? lol... Seriously, I'd like to know if there
seems to be an overall theme emerging; and if the books are getting
better of course!
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It is, and shall always be, one of the best feelings in the world.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
I've just finished a novel called Minx,
the screen adaptation of The
Scholar, and I'm finishing up a new collection of shorts, The Book of Blue(s).
The theme of the collection is sex, love and relationships.