As writers, we admire, respect and proudly salute anyone who can skillfully take words and turn them into powerful, thought provoking prose (for the past five years, we’ve been trying to do just that). The moment we came across the work of acclaimed author Louise Beech, we were inclined to get in touch.
Of the many honoured guests we’ve invited into Anglophile Studios, over the years, Ms. Beech proved to be of the exceptional type. She not only complimented us, effusively, about our studio’s patriotic décor, she actually brought some treats to add to the afternoon tea that we treat all of our guests to. Needless to say, we were highly impressed 🙂
Many thanks, to Ms. Beech, for the delightful chin wag that you’re about to read…
1. Describe your writing process; do you prefer longhand or a laptop? Do you need peace and quiet or is there background noise?
I scribble notes in a notebook when and as the ideas come. I then transfer them to my computer, at my desk. This is where I do the ‘proper’ writing. As in, sit down, with a deadline, very strictly, and get those words down. When writing I like music. It inspires me. But when editing – as in reading back, twiddling, perfecting etc – I need quiet.
2. In your bio, on your web site, the opening line reads, “Louise has always been haunted by the sea.” That’s a very curious, ambiguous and intriguing beginning. What exactly do you mean?
I suppose it is, yes. Really it refers to my eternal love of water. The sea. Rivers. But then also – more deeply I suppose – my fear of it. We flooded in 2007, had our house, belongings, and car destroyed. I also nearly drowned when I was three. And of course there’s my sea-faring ancestry, which haunts me most of all.
3. Where you do look for inspiration? Is it a combination of reading other books, hearing stories from family and friends, living in Hull or is it what you experience in everyday life?
Ah, I’m inspired by everything. The past, both my own and others’. What’s going on around me. Things I hear on the bus, odd phrases and curious words. What friends tell me, what family say. My surroundings, yes, they too inspire. Music does. Books I read, films I watch. Everything makes me think, makes me imagine, makes me want to write.
4. Who are your top five favourite British authors?
Oh, a difficult one to narrow this down. It will change tomorrow, but here we go. Charlotte Bronte, as a classic, timeless writer. Matt Haig for the issues he explores currently. I adore Julian Barnes’ writing style. I love modern writer Amanda Jennings’ style too. And I admire JK Rowling’s tenacity and perseverance.
5. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty Young has asked you to choose a book and a luxury before she casts you away to your island. What do you select and why?
I would take John Irving’s The World According to Garp because it’s the book I read years ago that utterly cemented my desire to be a writer. Also, I can read it again, anytime, and see something new. My luxury would be a good bed.
6. What makes you proudest to be British?
Our incredible history, the beauty of our rolling hills, and the (mostly) welcoming and wonderful people.
7. What author would you love to have lunch, afternoon tea or dinner with?
Definitely with Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone with the Wind. One of my all-time favourites, that I devour every few years.
8. What makes you proudest to be from Hull?
I love how proud the city is. I love how no matter what stick (and there’s been plenty!) it gets, it fights back. Of course, I’m proud of our maritime history, and love the marina, the docks. I live just outside the city, so really I’m an East Yorkshire lass, and this I’m proudest of all.
9. You’ve written, on your web site, that you love words and that you always have a story in your head. Are you constantly writing or do you need step away, for a bit, throughout the day, to switch off?
It’s very difficult for me to step away. It’s not something I can easily switch off, which makes it quite tiring at times. Since I also work (in a theatre) and have a family, my husband always tells me to pick one day in the week and make it my day off. But it’s hard.
10. If you had to go one day without writing, how would you fill the hours of that day?
I’d read, go to the theatre, see my friends, go to the cinema, enjoy some nice food, travel.
11. What does writing mean to you?
Absolutely everything. It’s therapy. It’s escape. It’s adventure. It’s just magic.
12. When all is said and done, what do you hope your legacy will be?
Wow, good question. I hope I leave behind books that inspire people, that take them away from the real world for just a few hours. I hope the fact that I’ve little education really (I got pregnant at Sixth Form College) and had to struggle for many years but still made my dream come true makes others believe it possible too.
Oooh, more of the same definitely. I’ve just finished a recent edit of book three – Maria in the Moon – and am working now on my fourth book, The Lion Tamer Who Lost. I recently submitted a play to a competition, and who knows, I may even write some poetry!
To discover more about Ms. Beech/purchase her novels, please visit louisebeech.co.uk