I’m delighted to be welcoming Della Galton to Jera’s Jamboree today.
Della Galton is a freelance writer and tutor. She is best known for her short stories, and sells in the region of 80 short stories a year to magazines both in the UK and abroad.
She is a popular speaker at writing conventions around the UK and is also the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum.
When she is not writing she enjoys walking her dogs in the beautiful Dorset countryside where she lives. Her hobby is repairing old cottages, which is lucky as hers is falling down.
In her spare time she fund raises and also does temporary fostering (and occasionally permanent fostering) for DAWG (Dorset Animal Workers Group).
I attended one of Della’s writing workshops recently (you can read about it here) so was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed on the blog!
Please summarise your latest book in 20 words or less.
Ice and a Slice is about SJ, an ordinary middle class woman, who discovers she’s an alcoholic.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
I have a lot of alcoholism in my family and I have learned that it’s an illness, not a moral failing. I feel passionately about this subject and I wanted to write a novel that had a different slant to a lot of novels out there about alcoholics. I wanted to write about a woman, who is successful and attractive and fairly normal, apart from the fact she can’t stop drinking.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in Ice and a Slice, which would you be? and why?
Well, I wouldn’t be SJ, for obvious reasons. I think I might be Dorothy, her sponsor, because she has come through so much and is so wise and kind and funny.
Did you do any research? What resources did you use?
Yes, I certainly did. I did my research how I always do it, by talking to people who know what it’s like, who have been there, got the tee shirt and who know the emotional side. It was awe inspiring talking to recovering alcoholics. I talked to one woman who went from living on the streets to running a multi million pound company. Absolutely mind blowing.
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
Yes, they do. SJ is so alive for me that she is more real than some actual people I know. She has her own facebook page and she has her own twitter account. She does her own blogs. I love her to bits. I think you have to love a character if you are going to write a novel about them.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I wish I could plot, but I can’t. I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work. I start with a theme and a character and very often an emotion. If I don’t feel emotionally engaged with the subject and the characters I find it very difficult to write anything.
Have you joined any writing groups?
I have belonged to the same writing group for 26 years. It’s on a Wednesday night in Bournemouth and is run by Ian Burton, who is a wonderful writer and tutor. He was once shortlisted for the Booker prize.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Knowing I have to make a living from it – because it’s very motivating.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
Knowing I have to make a living from it – because it’s also very scary.
What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
This is easy. Write what moves you to tears; write what you are passionate about and let your heart guide you and be as honest as you can. This can be painful but for me it’s the reason for writing. There’s a quote about this that I think sums it up. ‘writing is easy. You just sit at your desk and open a vein.’ It’s been attributed to several people, Red Smith, Hemmingway and Gene Fowler, amongst them, but I don’t think it matters who said it.
I’d like to add a bit though. After you’ve done the writing, then begins the really hard work. Craft your story until it is as good as it can be. I think we use a different part of our brains for this bit. It is the moulding and shaping and editing that can turn a great piece of raw material into something beautiful. But the emotion does have to come first.
Thank you for sharing with us today Della. Wishing you every success with Ice and a Slice and your writing projects!
She is perfectly fine, isn’t she?