I recently read Denise Greenwood’s engaging novel Temptation. Besides its vividness the story’s dramatic opening was, figuratively speaking, akin to the opening strains of Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain. The journey beyond this opening strain is well worth the read for the author’s evocatively descriptive writing alone. It was this that prompted me to find out more about her.
1. What kind of books did you read as a child and adolescent?
I read all usual school offerings but at aged 9 I was asked to choose a book from a table in class then write about it. I bypassed Enid Blyton (who I’d already read) and chose one that looked different. It was The Hobbit and although probably too old for me at that time, I consumed every word. After that I discovered Henry Treece and fell in love with Vikings for a while but I was given a set of 42 Bancroft Classics and in many ways they taught me more than any English class.
2. Did any of these books or authors help shape your approach to writing?
The more I read then the more I dreamed about being a writer one day but it was only a wishful thought and soon forgotten. I have since realised that what I read as a child also shaped my love of the extraordinary and given me a grasp of how to seek it out.
3. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I remember it vividly. It was 2006 and I was sat on a church pew. An idea came to me and then it haunted me for a while. It was almost an epiphany and I was driven to write.
4. Would it be right to say that your uniquely descriptive style of writing came natural to you?
Yes but I hadn’t used it for most of my adult life. My career in business required a skill for cutting through words to find what needed to be said precisely. When I began writing fiction it felt like a floodgate had been opened.
5. Do you consciously project aspects of you and your life onto characters and situations?
Yes but I think it is more complicated than that. I project what has been, what is and what could be but once I’ve created a character I step away and allow the character to evolve.
6. Do you feel that writing is a compulsion that has to be assuaged even if you find yourself in a church pew or doctor’s waiting room?
Writing is a compulsion and I take a notebook with me wherever I go. I write every day but it is also important to put down a pen and listen to what people are saying and how they are saying it then read “between the lines.”
7. Why do you write?
At first it was a personal experiment to see if I could but once I began, it released a Kraken. I realised that the “extraordinary” (I previously said I loved) is to be found in every aspect of one’s life. I am constantly amazed by people who live ordinary lives and yet have strange perspectives. During recent years I have seen people create drama in their lives as a form of compensation for being so ordinary and as a writer it is manna from heaven.
8. What next?
My new novel CRUSHED is a crime mystery and will be published later this year. I’m also writing a story each month for The Local Link magazine as well as writing another novel. I now find that I enjoy exploring the darker side of humanity and my personal challenge is to delve deeper.