…Author, Jeff Gardiner, a fellow scribbler from Crooked Cat Publishing tells it like it is for a ‘driven’ quill-scraper… resonates with this ol’ Jurassic… emb’dy else get these vibes?…
Why do I write?
Because I have to. Writing has me by the throat now and won’t let go. That creative process is the most inspiring feeling. When I’m in the middle of something I get a kind of tunnel-vision, which is difficult to break from. It could be a form of self-indulgence, but I feel I understand that old cliché of being ‘in the zone’. It’s a great place to visit…
I have books published in a number of genres, which is both good and bad. In artistic terms, I like to work in a variety of styles. I’ve written horror and slipstream stories; young adult fiction; romantic and contemporary novels, and non-fiction. The reason why this might be bad is that it makes marketing my work very complicated. Perhaps I’d do better just to stick with one genre. On the other hand, I like to try my hand at different projects.
I’ve been lucky enough to work part-time as a secondary school teacher for a few years now, so I have had two days a week to concentrate on my writing. Going part-time was like being given the gift of time. I think I used it well – although procrastination and distractions were always there to tempt me. I have six books published, one unpublished, and I’ve recently signed a three book contract with Accent Press for a YA fantasy trilogy, so I think I’m relatively prolific. Then recently I took voluntary redundancy, which has given me even more time (but less money).
I also have a young(ish) family who are my pride and joy. Balancing my time between family, freelance work and writing has been a struggle. I want to spend time with my kids, and when I don’t I feel guilty, so that’s something I’ve had to work on and improve. It means evenings and those few hours when the children are at clubs is when I steal some time to write.
A typical writing day will involve me taking the kids to school, then answering emails and doing some marketing on social network sites (something else I need to improve on). Once those admin-type tasks are done then I can settle in to the writing. If I’m in the middle of something I’ll check through what I did the day before, and then plan the next section before getting my head down. I don’t stick rigidly to word counts but 1000 words a day would be a basic minimum. Then just before 3 o’clock I walk up the road to collect my kids.
I write because my head is full of stories and images that need an outlet. If I didn’t I think I would go insane. Sometimes writing is a cathartic experience. ‘Igboland’ came out of my sentimental attachment to the country of my birth: Nigeria. ‘Myopia’ was a response to seeing the effects of bullying on sensitive students. ‘Treading On Dreams’ began as a narrative about a young man who is overly sensitive and naive: traits not usually associated with being masculine. I write horror, humour and romance because people are not just one thing, but are complex beings full of hope, anger, light and shade.
My YA novels involve a good deal of realism. As a teacher for over twenty years, I feel I can write about school and teenagers with a great deal of realism. My other novels are more adult-orientated. ‘Treading On Dreams’ is a coming of age tale about obsession and unrequited love; ‘Igboland’ is the story of Lydia, an English woman living in West Africa during the Biafran War. Her own marriage, identity and faith are beginning to crumble when she meets Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and learns a great deal about herself, and about the Igbo culture.
My fiction stretches across genre boundaries, breaking a few rules and expectations. I tend to believe in good writing whatever the genre, rather than sticking to one type of narrative or setting. My short story collection, ‘A Glimpse of the Numinous’, is a booksellers’ nightmare as it contains horror, humour and romance.
I love the creativity of writing, but I also enjoy the discipline of editing and improving my work. That’s a skill which goes hand-in-hand with the creative process. I also edit other people’s novels, which gives me greater insight into honing and polishing manuscripts into tight and disciplined prose. Precise and insightful editing is as important as the writing itself.
Now I’ve got the writing bug I’ll never stop – even if nobody reads my stuff. Imagination is the key for me. I’m interested in exploring the human condition, and in creating characters that are grappling with things readers can identify in their own lives. Books are treasures that can exhilarate, entertain, amaze and inspire. If any of my books do one of those things then it’s job done.
Jeff Gardiner is a UK author of three novels: Treading On Dreams, a tale of obsession and unrequited love (Tirgearr Publishing); Myopia, which explores bullying and prejudice; and Igboland, set in Nigeria during the Biafran War (both published by Crooked Cat Books). His work of non-fiction, The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock, has recently been published by Headpress.
He has also recently signed a three book contract with Accent Press for his ‘Gaia’ YA trilogy, which begins with Pica, a novel of transformation and ancient magic.
His acclaimed collection of short stories, A Glimpse of the Numinous, published by Eibonvale Press, contains horror, slipstream and humour. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and websites.
“Reading is a form of escapism, and in Gardiner’s fiction, we escape to places we’d never imagine journeying to.” (A.J. Kirby, ‘The New Short Review’)
Links for ‘Treading On Dreams’ (Currently only 99p/99c):
…right, go connect with Jeff on here : Website: http://www.jeffgardiner.com/treading%20on%20dreams.htm
…thanks for this, that man,… go check out his stuff, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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