with Sadie Maskery:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Sadie: I have always written, badly. My first favourite book was Watership Down. Its mix of children’s folktale, natural history, landscape writing and savagery definitely influenced my adult interests.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Sadie: I read only recently about Tolkien’s writing process. Having the patience and stamina to draft countless versions of a work, to have enough faith in the process and in the worth of what you are writing to labour, really labour, to create something, painstakingly working and reworking each strand, weaving the plot backwards not just to the end – that requires self belief and a faith in your writing. I am trying to find that confidence in what I write. If I draft it a long piece I read it, think it’s rubbish and delete it. I still say sorry as I submit things. Sorry, I know you have better things to do with your time than read this. Sorry. I need to orc up.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Sadie: My Dad brought me up as my mother went to South Africa with her new family. He was a … strong character. We moved home a lot; I don’t feel I am ‘from’ anywhere. Dad did his best but it was a struggle for both of us. It had an impact on me, but I was socially awkward by nature as well as nurture. Overcompensating for introversion affects my whole life, I constantly cringe at myself. Damn right it influences my writing.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you've done creatively so far?
Sadie: A collection about my childhood, funnily enough. It is not good poetry (well, it's not found a publisher) but it has been useful to put things in perspective. Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer? Sadie: No pivotal moment, I just love it. I used to sing in a jazz trio, the pure joy when what you are all creating fuses to something special, my god. The sting is needing validation from other people. I love creation, hate rejection, so choosing poetry with all the rejections that involves is fun. At least with singing it was someone else's words, mostly. Q6: Favorite activities to relax? Sadie: Reading. As I have aged I have lost interest in profound works with unresolved endings. Real life is messy and full of despair, why the hell would I read about an imaginary version of the same. I have turned during Covid to 1930s murder mysteries with neatly packaged solutions and courteous villains wearing smart suits. Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you'd like to promote? Sadie: Oh all of it. Contact me. I need to get better at in between bits, I have a tendency to apologise too much for being on a stage. But I like the time when I am in a poem or song. It's a chance to be someone else. It is transfiguring when you can feel your words connect with other people. Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others, or a favorite piece of art or photograph? Sadie: A favourite photograph is this one of Louise Brooks. It was this or a photo of Bonnie Langford. I wanted to be a lithe, troubled siren; or bubbly, unashamedly redheaded and performing nightly with Brian Blessed in the West End. Either would have done. I got the troubled and redheaded bits.
Favorite line from a song?
Is that all there is? If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball. If that’s all there is.
It’s the melody that goes with it. Peggy Lee or the PJ Harvey cover, either version stays with me on long, still nights.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Sadie: David, husband and love. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for him. He literally saved me from drowning once and he does it metaphorically most days.
Thanks to these publishers/twitter tags