Writer of Izzy's Swing
1. Other than the theme for the anthology, what was your inspiration for your short story?
I was thinking a lot about my daughter returning to school – to a new school, in fact, and about how strange and confronting and frightening it must be for so many children returning to school after lockdowns. I don’t feel like we have adequately thought about and discussed the impact this time has had on our children. I wanted to explore how it would feel for two children on their first day back at school.
2. Did you learn anything from writing your story? Is there something you hope people will learn when they read it?
It was useful for me to put myself in the shoes of a child and imagine what they must be thinking and experiencing. I often write through my feelings and worries, and this helped me to empathise with my kid on her return to school. I hope the story will make people be gentle with their own kids, as their experience fear and anxiety throughout this time.
3. How did your character/s come to you? Were they difficult, were they easy?
I always begin with a character. In this case, the older sister came to me easily, as I am an older sister myself and often helped my brother work through his childhood fears. I don’t often find it difficult to connect with child characters – I’m still a child myself, inside.
4. What kind of writing style or preferences do you have? Are they similar to your short story?
My writing style could best be described as “chaotic”. I plan very little and just let the words come out. This is true for my short stories and longer form. I edit very extensively and tweak sentences over and over, but my first drafts are just my brain clearing itself out.
5. Do you have a favourite genre that you love to read?
No, I’ll read pretty much everything! I’ll often gravitate towards writing for younger people as I feel inspired and invigorated in my own writing, when I read incredible children’s books. However, I do read books for “grown-ups” and I love a good page-turner or family saga. Something with suspense and heart.
6. Without giving too much away, could you tell us a little about your short story?
As I’ve mentioned above, it’s a story about two sisters returning to school, after an unspecified “interruption” that we can imagine to be the COVID lockdowns. They’re both scared and apprehensive, but the older sister feels a responsibility to ease her sister’s fears. It’s a story about the love and protectiveness and older sibling feels for their younger brother or sister and I drew heavily from my own childhood – even though we never experienced anything like the past couple of years!