Author Interview: Keddie Hughes
Today is my stop on the Small Change blog tour and I am pleased to welcome Keddie Hughes on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some intriguing answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Getting lost in my inner world and allowing my imagination to run riot. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time. The emergence of the story and the development of characters is an almost magical process.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
This is difficult question – like being asked who is your favourite child but if I had to choose, I opt for Jim Campbell, the husband of the central character, Izzy Campbell. He is a ‘man’s man’, fanatical about his football team, Glasgow Rangers, dismissing his anti- catholic insults about their arch rivals Celtic, as harmless banter. He loves his wife but has traditional values when it comes to marriage – he is the provider and Izzy is the mother and homemaker. He struggles to understand why Izzy wants to study and have a career.
It would be easy to stereo type such a character as a chauvinist and a bigot but I was keen to portray him as a person who demands our understanding. He is trapped by the expectations of his community and the limitations of his upbringing. When his life unravels, he reaches for the whisky bottle and his character gives an intimate portrait of the inner world of an alcoholic. We live the journey with him as he struggles with his demons. Although by the end of the novel, he finds a way to stay sober, he is not a transformed character. As he himself says, “I’m the same daft bugger I’ll always be”, but his strength of character, his humour, his decency and his sheer determination to do his best for his family, shine through.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Tea. Builders. Strong. Splash of milk.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
When deep in my writing bubble, my sense of time disappears. I’m often late or miss appointments altogether. As for interruptions – don’t even think about it! My husband thinks I should have a red light outside my door like a recording studio – ‘do not enter!
How do you research your books?
People often assume ‘research’ means looking up facts and references to ensure accuracy and, of course there is a lot of that. However, for me the ‘real’ research is to visit the place/ building where my story is situated and sit on a bench somewhere, empty my mind of all thoughts and soak up what I’m seeing, what I’m hearing, what I’m smelling, what I’m tasting. I can spend hours doing this and find it helps me develop a vivid sense of place so that my reader can feel as if they’ve been transported to somewhere else.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. I start with a broad framework of a plot, a couple of sub plots and a cast of characters but it’s not long before the characters take over, often developing themselves and the plot in surprising and startling ways. I never know how my novel will end until I get there, but I don’t worry about that – I have learned to trust the characters -t hey always seem to know how things should turn out without me getting involved.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I’m very happy in this world thanks although, in truth, I find ‘ordinary life’ and ‘ordinary families’ so extraordinary and fascinating, they are just as dramatic and compelling than any fantasy world that’s been made up by someone.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I have just read The Martian by Andy Weir. Science fiction isn’t my favourite genre but I thought the central character of Mark Watney carried the book. His humour, easy going nature and nerdy charm were delightful but it was his unflappability, his unremitting resourcefulness and his ‘can do’ attitude that I enjoyed the most. I know critics have dismissed him as a lightweight – preferring to crack jokes than reflect on the existential nature of his predicament, but it is that quality that I found so joyful. I think he would be great fun to have as a friend.