The Write Side of Life

August 21, 2007 | Interviews

ST: Good morning, everyone and welcome back. Jen, what made you decide to be a writer?
JB: I didn’t decide, not really. Most writers say they wanted to do it from childhood and I did too but it always seemed such a huge thing to want to do that I never confided in anyone. I contented myself with lists, diaries, and reading, always reading. I’m told I ruined my eyesight by reading after lights out. I said I wanted the landing light left on. My parents thought I was scared of the dark, but I used to read in the slender column of light that came through the crack between the door and the door frame. I had to keep moving the book to have the light follow the word on the page…and that way I managed to keep reading till they came to bed. By then they thought I was asleep and put the light out.

ST: How long have you been writing?
JB: I started serious attempts at writing fiction in my thirties. Finding enough time to write whilst working full time meant it took ages before I actually produced anything and even longer before I felt confident enough to start sending it out anywhere. I do wish I started sooner! There used to be a wise old saying that went something along the lines of “get a bit of life under your belt before you try to write a novel” and of course I believed everything I was told! Today people have bestsellers at 17 and their autobiographies at 22!

ST: How many books have you written?
JB: Three that are published Banners of Alba, Dark Pool and Shadows. Plus three that have yet to find their way into the big wide world. I keep editing them, leaving them a while, going back and seeing where I could tweak them just that little bit more!

ST: Which is your favorite and why?
JB: I suppose it’ll always be Banners of Alba, because it was the first one I wrote and the first to be published, and the only one so far that I own in paperback format. But in a way it will always be the book I’m working on now as that one fills my imagination.

ST: Do you find writing to be fulfilling? And in what way?
JB: Of course it’s fulfilling. I don’t suppose I’d do it if I found it to be a drag! It is amazing when the story flows and I can’t type fast enough to get it all down, when my husband asks me something and I simply grunt and carry on typing. He’s learned to leave me alone sometimes, poor man. I can create whole worlds and have characters do exactly what I want, create countryside and houses just as I like them. Sometimes I think all writers must be megalomaniacs at heart! On the whole I like my characters and it is fun to be with them most of the time.

ST: What’s a normal day like for you?
JB: Wake up, have breakfast in bed, check e-mails. Start writing by about ten at the latest. Have lunch around twelve, go back to work around two and break off again around four thirty or five. I watch Neighbours on tv; it’s my one and only soap fix. I might go back and read some blogs, or write my own in the evening, but sometimes I just veg out with hubby. That’s a normal day, but of course, not every day is like that. Like everyone else, we shop, cook, clean, visit friends, go walking – I often take pics to include on my blog and you could find that here: There are two other Jen Blacks around, so go for the one that says author!

ST: Thanks for sharing your time. It’s great having here.
JB: My pleasure and I’ll see you all in the morning.

ST: Until then…

Happy Writing!

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