Victoria Watson was awarded ‘Young Reviewer of the Year’ in 2009 and completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing in 2010. Victoria has contributed to publications including True Faith (Newcastle United fanzine), NCJ Media’s north-east titles The Journal, Evening Chronicle and Sunday Sun. She has also reviewed for Amazon, Waterstones and Closer Magazine. Victoria had a story published in the Home Tomorrow anthology published by 6th Edition Publishing in 2011. Her work is also featured Off the Record. Her collection Letting Go has been in the Kindle Top 100 free downloads for a week. Victoria currently lives in the North-East of England and dreams of living somewhere hot and sunny, paying the bills with her writing.
Letting Go is a collection of eight short stories. Each of these tales has a twist that the reader won’t be expecting. Regret and how just one moment or snap decision can change your life forever are key themes in each of these stories.
Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o’ paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.
I always carry a notepad and paper around just in case inspiration strikes when I’m away from my laptop but I prefer to type directly onto my laptop. I also use my mobile phone as a way of making notes – if you’re in public, it’s easier than pulling your notebook out of you battered handbag and scribbling. Next time I upgrade my laptop, I’m looking forward to getting a really tiny one so it’ll fit in my handbag – along with my Kindle and god knows what other detritus.
Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?
I listen to music, I listen to the radio, and I watch TV. I’m a big Radio 4 fan so I find that I listen to a range of things while writing – it could be news, drama or something educational. I’m a multi-tasker. If I could read and write at the same time, I would! I think listening to Radio 4 sometimes gives me new ideas though, which is great. I don’t think the other stuff I do when I’m writing influences what I write although if I need to get into a certain mood to write a particular scene, I sometimes listen to a certain song or album. When I need a hit of energy, I like to listen to Beyoncé or Lady Gaga. I’m not well-known for my musical tastes!
Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?
I write while I can so some days could be a full day’s writing and other days it might just be a snatched 15 minutes. Other days, I must confess, I don’t write at all. It’s not as much of a habit as I’d like it to be. But my life isn’t very routine at the moment which is guess is why I don’t have a strict schedule. When I’m lucky enough to have a lot of ideas, I write as much as I can to make the most of it. Also, if I’m thinking about ideas, I find they keep me awake at night so if I have to write to get a decent night’s sleep!
Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?
I’d love for Alan Bennett to give them a read and say he liked them. If Roald Dahl was alive, I’d love for his opinion but sadly that is not longer possible. I respect a lot of authors so I wouldn’t be picky about who read them! I also respect the opinions of the readers so any positive feedback is always a big boost.
Q: On the days where the writing doesn’t go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?
I never describe myself as artistic which people often disagree with because they say writing is a form of art. Other arts don’t come easy to me – I always have great ideas but can never put them into practice. I often fantasize about being a TV or radio presenter. I’d love a job like Mariella Frostrup’s – she gets to read books and interview authors and she gets paid for it. How lucky is she?!
Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?
The only books I’ve ever re-read are Talking Heads by Alan Bennett, Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I find that there are so many amazing writers out there that I like to read new books all the time. There are other books, like A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Mark Haddon’s books that I intend to re-read at some point. I get sent a lot of review copies of books by publishers, writers and book stores so I generally end up reading things I don’t necessarily choose but that’s nice in a way as it means I read more books that I wouldn’t choose myself. Often, the only time I read books I choose is when I’m on holiday. I love writers like Roddy Doyle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche as well as Tony Parsons and I really like to read books about cultures I haven’t experienced.
Q: Where did the idea for ‘Letting Go’ come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration?
Letting Go is a collection of my short stories. The common thread through each of the stories is that they hinge on how one moment or choice can change everything. I’m now working on a follow-up collection. I don’t have one way that’s guaranteed to inspire me but if I’m stuck for ideas, I listen to the radio and read the news. Generally, I don’t find issue with getting initial ideas; it’s more like padding out the story that takes a lot of time and effort. What I often do in that circumstance, is spend a lot of time thinking about it before I start typing. They’re the nights that keep me awake.