Today is my stop on the The Last Leaf blog tour and I am pleased to welcome Gwyn Ellis Pritchard on to the blog with a quick interview! He’s come up with some fab answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
My day job is in IT, and this role restricts my creative juices from flowing. In IT, I am guided towards an outcome and I am advised on the preferred methodology I should use in order to reach the outcome.
But, when I am sat down at my writing desk with just an inkling of a plot, then ideas start buzzing around in my head. Then, I just convert my thoughts into written words, not caring whether the outcome even resembles the original plot and, more importantly, not a hint of a methodology in sight. I will write a chapter, print it off, re-read it, scribble all over it and try again. And whether the session is a brief minute or two, or an all-nighter, I am lost in unbridled creative heaven.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I think it has to be Jack. He is a young lad, unschooled and deprived of motherly love through fate. Although, he does have more knowledge about growing fruit and vegetables than most adults could gain in a lifetime. Even at a young age, he is gifted in the perception of social situations, knowing when to step forward and when to shut up, when to be completely considerate of others and when to just do what he feels is right. Is he a reflection of me? Definitely not. But, maybe a reflection of the person I would rather be.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Generally, I would say Blueberry fruit tea or water. And, for the night sessions, loads of Coffee. But too much coffee gives me headaches and too much tea makes me run back and forth to the loo.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I do not think so, unless you consider waking up at 04:00, turning the bedroom light on, and scribbling down some ideas a bad habit. Or, possibly, giggling to myself loudly in my sleep when I recall a funny situation I’d recently written about.
How do you research your books?
I do research as and when the need arises. So for example, from The Last Leaf, Lady Eloise was a highly educated lady, but I was not sure whether women were allowed go to university in Victorian times. So I did some research and confirmed my facts. I also researched why fishermen put maggots under their tongue. I asked several coarse fishermen why they do this and they all gave me different answers. Tip – don’t blindly trust the first person you ask, come to think of it you might not trust the second one either. But once you have a consensus, then validate the facts to confirm the correct answer.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
In the main I am a pantser. Although, I might claim from the outset that I do plan the story, well at least the beginning and the end. I am not troubled if the story ends up quite differently to my original plot, and in any case, other than me who would know.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I am not into science fiction or stories about super heroes. Living in a world which is dependent on technology is also a turn off for me. Instead, I would prefer to live in a bygone age where communities are skilled in self-sufficiency, and man has a close connection with animals. I would thrive best living in a place rich in folklore, mystery and intrigue. If I could be any character in any book I’ve enjoyed, then I think I would probably choose either The Grey King or The Dark is Rising, both by Susan Cooper.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Great question, so many to choose from. Possibly Winston Smith, 1984. I would love to find out from him what it was really like living in such a terrible Big Brother society. I’d scream at him to stop smoking and drinking, and I would hug him to re-assure him that his love for Julia was reciprocated, but that his public declaration of love for her was both stupid and courageous.
If I could befriend a character from The Last Leaf then I think I would like to buddy up with Uncle Ned. He had an immense knowledge of the countryside. He had been dealt blows in his life, but still managed to battle on. He had a strong sense of family values and took the responsibility of watching over Jack very seriously.
About the book
“You will have to place a small handful of the maggots under your tongue, and must hold them there for a full two minutes,” Jack instructed Isabella . . . .And boy did they wriggle! She struggled not to wretch!
Two worlds collide when a chance meeting brings together Jack and Isabella. Jack, the son of the Head Gardener of the Oakfield Estate, finds himself a friend in the lovely Isabella, the ‘little lady of Oakfield Hall’.
Set in Victorian times in the Southern Counties of England – with an intermittent welsh presence in the form of the Jones’ travelling gypsy family – much laughter, dance, music and cultural challenges lie before the two friends this summer!
How will the delicate Isabella fair among the unfamiliar countryside with its host of creatures and seasonal demands?
Will the rugged, uneducated Jack rise to the challenge of learning to read and write poetry about his beloved countryside – poaching, skinning rabbits and river fishing?
Every day is an adventure and it seems they are meant to be together, always. Or are they?
Read about their exciting adventures and discover the true meaning of friendship with them as they each discover new worlds and new challenges!
My name is Gwyn. I am 60 years old, married with two grown up children. I have worked in the IT industry for almost 40 years. Both parents were Welsh speakers preferring to keep their secret language to themselves rather than pass on this heritage to their children.
My Father was an Auditor attached to the British Forces on the Rhine, and we were constantly being moved around from town to town. My early schooling was therefore haphazard, and I struggled to achieve academically in the British Forces education system. So I was sent to Boarding school in Norfolk from the age of ten to sixteen years old. The standard of teaching there was poor and had a very high turnover of teachers as well as pupils. But it was there that I developed my passion for rugby, and at the age of 15, along with a couple of chums, I was invited to play for Diss Rugby Club. I later played for Delyn Rugby club in North Wales for a number of years but sustained too many injuries to take the sport any further.
I have always been interested in storytelling to younger children, being nicknamed “Gwynanory” by one family group who benefitted from me making up stories to fit situations such as; finding a lost teddy, being bullied at school, going to the dentist, or being over excited for Christmas.
I must confess that I am not an avid reader. I do like certain biographies, and I also enjoy crime thrillers. But I mostly enjoy reading about the history of my spiritual homeland in the mid Wales region. I am an impatient reader though. If I do not get the point of the book early enough, or if the style of writing annoys me, then I might just abandon the book and move on to the next one.
The Last Leaf is my first book and I loved writing it. I get quite emotional when I read it back, and then when I do, I wonder if I could have explained a situation better, or added another chapter or two or three. I’m looking forward to carrying on writing and have so many more stories to share.