By Cherry, 24-Jun-2012 20:00:00
‘A dreamer in broad daylight’ – that’s what Freud called the novelist. He went on to suggest that creative writing is wish fulfilment, and er… oh lordy, read Creative Writing and Daydreaming and see the rest for yourself. But the connection is undeniable, and I was reminded of this during a recent interview. If you spend half your life with your head elsewhere, consider whether you’ve got a novel in you!
INTERVIEW FOR THE MOANING TIMES (http://themoaningnews.moonfruit.com)
Can you firstly tell us about your childhood, and when was the first time that you knew that writing was for you?
I was a wilful, daydreamy child for whom school was a torment; I was twice expelled - at six for a John Wayne clouting of a girl who’d been chasing my best friend with a worm, and at seventeen for generally floating around the place disengaged. We had a bungalow in Cobham (Surrey) on a leafy cul de sac since plundered to make way for Chelsea-footballer mansions. My adorable half-Spanish mother took the family off to Spain for a month every year and is responsible for my hispanophilia.
I always wanted to write; I was making little sellotaped books at five years old. But in senior school I became self-conscious about it, took up the piano and started writing music instead.
How would you answer the question ‘Who is Cherry Radford?’
A novelist inspired by music, dance and all things Hispanic; a loving but neglectful partner and mother.
You have worked in music and in the medical field but compared to writing how much do they mean to you and if you could do one for the rest of your life which one would you do and why?
Writing is my life; I think about it every moment I can, and also when I shouldn’t be. Music is my buzz and my cure - and always an inspiration for my stories. My scientific research background was invaluable for MEN DANCING, but I could never go back to it; I’m piloted by the other side of my brain these days.
Can you tell me about Men Dancing and why should people read it?
MEN DANCING is the story of a married, mother-of-two scientist whose world tilts after a chance meeting with a charismatic male Royal Ballet dancer. It’s a darkly humorous romance that seems to entertain people, but it also takes an often painfully honest look at the nature of marriage, desire, parenting and the search for fulfilment.
I hear there is a second novel in the pipeline so can you tell us what that’s about and when can we expect to see it?
FLAMENCO BABY follows a musician with a ticking body-clock who asks her gay best friend to be a sperm donor. He declines but treats her to a flamenco course instead - throwing them into a world of secret passions that test their friendship and make them wonder if there’s more than one way to have a happy-ever-after.
It should be out in early 2013, hopefully coinciding with the Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London) Flamenco Festival in February.
What made you want to start writing books?
If you spend half your life daydreaming, it’s nice to have something to show for it.
Do you have special routines or processes you go through to write a book and if so what are they?
I spend several months researching – for example, I took a flamenco course in Granada for FLAMENCO BABY – and generally mulling. Then at some point I just start writing, wherever and whenever I can. I mostly use little soft-feel elasticated notebooks – I find it’s easier to let ideas flow with a pen in hand – and then sift / transfer to the laptop.
What things do you do when you are away from writing and what TV, music etc. are you into at the moment?
I’m not often really away from writing! I think up dialogue when I’m gardening, imagine scenes while listening to music (mostly flamenco fusion these days), enjoy other authors. I practise Spanish with my teacher and on Twitter, and have continued with the flamenco dance classes. Playing the piano relaxes me, and I have three lovely pupils. I watch films rather than TV, but I do like Strictly Come Dancing - and was thrilled to go to the show as a guest of Sir Bruce Forsyth last season.
For anyone reading this who would like to get into writing what advice would you give them?
After skim reading about five books on novel making, ask yourself what you really need to write about. Mull over a plot for a few months, but don’t get too bogged down with the details – and particularly the ending – as once your characters come to life they’ll do what the hell they like with it. Then just start; there’ll never be a perfect time, so why put it off?
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
I’m happy when someone tells me that they’ve got something out of my book, when they see what I was trying to do - or even things I wasn’t aware of myself.
I can’t stand it when people ask who my characters ‘are’, or assume that my female protagonist is doing something I’ve done or want to do. Listen once and for all, people: it’s MADE UP! Obviously I write about things I need to explore, but it’s like dreaming — you shouldn’t take it literally.
Can you tell me one thing about yourself that people might not already know?
I love watching international football games – such skill, such drama! And of course I adore the almost balletic Spanish team.
What are you up to at the moment and what’s next for you?
I’m researching for a madly ambitious third novel. It’s taking a long time but I’m really enjoying the ride.
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