A Pankhearst Interview
Where are you?
West Yorkshire, England.
And how the hell are you doing?
I’m fine, thanks.
Tell us about your new book.
It’s a crime novel, Deadly Nevergreen, published by Endaxi Press. It’s set in London and on The Isle of Wight and introduces Inspector Chaudhuri, whom I hope to use in successive books. I believe it’s both dark and funny. And I hope socially realistic.
Why are you publishing independently?
To publish independently wasn’t a conscious decision. Andrew and Michele Brenton at Endaxi Press made me an offer and when I read Michele’s poetry I knew they were the right ones.
How is publishing independently working for you?
It’s a partnership. And when a new and small publishing house wants your book you know they really like it. They have to be discerning to build up a reputation.
Within your writing, what are you the most passionate about? What is it that keeps you doing this?
To be truthful. To try to say what I think and feel even if it takes weeks to get right. It’s no easier to write what you’re thinking than it is to paint what you see. But if you’re a writer you must strive to do it and not compromise. And never be hackneyed.
When did know that you were born to be a writer?
From a very young age. I used to have what I thought were original thoughts and think, ‘When I’m a writer, I’ll write about that.’
What are you working on now?
I’m in the closing stages of my second crime novel with the same detective but this time set in North Yorkshire.
Are your stories plot or character driven?
As a crime writer the plot is vital but for me it’s driven by the characters: what sort of person would do this sort of thing? And why? I don’t believe everyone is capable of murder, no matter what the circumstances.
Favorite author, and why?
My favourite author is Charles Dickens. For breadth of character, imagination and humanity few come near him. And the plots are unsurpassable. For me, the greatest writer after Shakespeare.
Define a great book.
A great book is one which is read by generation after generation and needs no advertising hype to sell it. 25. My favourite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s a delightful world to lose oneself in. I must have read it a dozen times. Now I have to ration myself to once a year.
Who, in your opinion, was the best written character of all time, and why?
The best-written character of all time is in my opinion Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He remains from start to finish a mystery; is given no direct representation but seen only through the eyes of the other characters. In the hands of a lesser writer than Emily Bronte he would be a melodramatic joke-villain. Yet his villainy is so believable that some readers detest him. As a lover, though, he’s one of the greatest in literature. And I think that’s the secret: no matter how many people he destroys, who wouldn’t want to be loved the way he loves Catherine Earnshaw? He’s come to epitomise the most powerful of all emotions.
Do you enjoy writing?
Once I get going, yes. Then it’s difficult to stop. Getting started is the thing. I used to put it off for any excuse, even scrubbing a floor. Now I bite the bullet and write for five hours every day, then go for a three-mile walk to think about the next day’s writing.
Why do you write?
As an antidote to mortality. Those words you’ve written garnered into a book are physical proof that you’ve lived and felt and thought, even if you never sell a copy.