I don’t know when I came across the Blog of Lorna Earl, ( http://lornasvoice.com/ ) but I do know I have followed her posts for over three years now and always marvelled at the mixture of toughness and compassion she displays throughout her writing, all laced with the rich humour which is her trademark. Those who know this Blog know I never do “Interviews” so that alone is a marked indication of the regard I have for her and her writing. Those of you who are sticklers in the areas of layout and formatting may notice this post is marred by a certain lack of technical expertise. We apologise on behalf of the management who are currently in hiding and gorging on the last of the sausage rolls. Without further ado, let us begin with the questions!
- How long have you been writing?
- Here’s the long answer to your question.
- I’ve had a long and unremarkable writing career. It started with poetry I wrote for my mother when I was seven or eight—little ditties about frogs, or kittens or ghosts. In my early teen years, my poetry turned all drippy and melodramatic, as did I. Then I canned the poet in me and focused my efforts on writing academic papers to impress my teachers and college professors. When I became a proper adult with a proper job (teaching sociology) I published research papers. It was only when I retired due to illness that I retreated back to my creative writing self. I always had a dream of writing a book (my dissertation didn’t count), so I wrote and self-published my memoir, How Was I Supposed to Know? That book took me several years to write. Then I tried my hand at historical fiction to tell my grandmother’s story, using as much of her real life as she divulged to me during her lifetime and filling in the gaps with my imagination. Never Turn Back is the result of that effort, which only took about a year to write. Here’s the short answer: most of my life
- Do you have daily or weekly targets in terms of word count?
No. I write when I feel like it for as long as I feel like it. I’m a quite undisciplined writer.
- I know the novel is based on a real life but how much is it fiction and how much is it fact in rough terms?
That’s a very difficult question to answer without giving too much of the story away. The basic time line and settings are real, the her struggles are real, and the historical events are accurate. It’s all the details that are fictional: the dialogue, most of the characters, the specific scenes surrounding events that she told me happened to her. So, how much is real? I’d say about 50%.
- You are famous among your Blogging chums for your rich sense of humour but the novel is in a more serious tone. Did you find it hard to change tack between Blogging and Novelling.
Surprisingly, no. As I sat down to write it, I felt as if I was typing what I was seeing in my mind’s eye, as if watching a movie scene. All I had to do was get it down in words so that readers “saw” what I was seeing. I don’t know if other writers have this experience, but it was remarkable. I knew I had to get from one “real” event to the next, and the way to get there just appeared. Because the grandmother I know was rather humorless, the book came out that way. I think she had a lot to do with the tone of the book. I do hope, however, that my next “muse” has a better sense of humor!
- How well did you get to know your amazing Grandmother before she passed on?
Not as well as I would have liked. Although she died when I was an adult, she had dementia for many years. Growing up, she looked after my sisters and me and she was all business. I was kind of afraid of her, or more accurately, afraid of making her angry. She was a master at casting the Evil Eye and I never wanted to be on the other end of that wicked look. She became the matriarch of our family, and we all (including “Joe,” her husband) had to obey her…or else. I only learned of her past when she felt like reminiscing during afternoon tea time. And I was often too young to think that those stories were important. How was I supposed to know, right?
- Can you share a memory of your grandmother which is not in the book?
She loved to cook and she loved dogs. She made wonderful meatballs and would make extra to give to our family dog. I wanted to save them for my sisters and me, but she insisted of giving equal portions to the dog! In later years, when we were all grown and gone. I’d visit her with my dog. She invariably would pull out of her refrigerator or freezer meatballs made especially for him (the dog). And I would hear the story of “Soldat” over again.
Lastly, but certainly not least, a link to the page on her Blog where more details on the book can be found, and where links to Amazon and other places to purchase it are also available.