|(c) Janey Stevens|
SNOW SISTERS, was published on 21 September, 2017 by Honno, the Welsh Women's Press. It has been chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month.
GHOSTBIRD, her first novel, was published in March 2016. The book was chosen as Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops 'Book Of The Month' for April 2016. It was longlisted for the Guardian 'Not the Booker' prize 2016 and nominated for the Guardian Readers' Book of the Year 2016.
I live in west Wales in a small flat overlooking the hills which, more often than not, are shrouded in mist. I’m a feminist and something of a flâneuse. My stories are rooted in Wales and concern the nature of family relationships, in particular those between sisters, and mothers and daughters. I lace them with birds, secrets, old houses and a touch of Welsh Gothic.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Waking up each day knowing exactly what the plan is. And being published – twice – is a lovely bonus!
There is no worst! I enjoy every aspect of writing.
Do you have a special writing place?
I’m fortunate to have a spare bedroom which I use as a study.
Which writers to you most admire and why?
I have a particular fondness for Virginia Woolf and never grow tired of reading her diaries and letters. I admire the stylishness of these writers in particular: Edna O’Brien, Daphne du Maurier, A S Byatt, Eimear McBride, Amy Sackville, Alice Hoffman and Harper Lee. So many writers to admire – far too many to list.
If you could choose a different genre to write in for just one book – what would it be?
Having found my niche as a writer, I have no inclination to write in a different genre. I’ve played with stories for children but it’s a unique discipline; I don’t think I have the patience.
What was your inspiration behind your latest novel, Snow Sisters?
Initially, a hankering to write snow scenes! One of the main protagonists in the story – the younger sister, Meredith – was a left-over character from a novel I was never meant to write. I knew I wasn’t done with her and when the notion of a Victorian ghost came (from wherever these ideas do) I knew Meredith, with her insatiable curiosity and courage, was the key to unlocking the ghost’s voice.
What three tips would you offer up-and-coming authors?
Read everything: widely, critically and insatiably. Write every day – even if it’s only a note on the back of your hand – and never, ever use the word ‘aspiring’ about yourself. If you are writing, published or not, you are a writer.
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