Like many writers, Evie Wyld had an active imagination in childhood which probably has helped her immensely as a writer. It’s amazing how many of us start that way, isn’t it? Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I am from Peckham, London, but my mother is from Australia. As a child I spent a lot of time out there in the countryside, but I’m a Londoner really. I started writing when I was about 16. Back then it was mainly quite bad poetry.
Did I hear you wanted to be a painter at one time? Do you paint scenes, characters, or objects related to your books?
I don’t paint anymore, but I did want to be a painter when I was younger. I went to art school, and from then on didn’t ever paint again! I used to paint people, not particularly well. I think I was trying to tell stories through painting, so it made sense to stick to writing for me. I’ve completely lost any ability I once had and it’s far too depressing to try and re learn it.
It’s interesting how writers really get a “start” in childhood, either with the desire to write or with the memories of their early years. How did your childhood inspire or add to your writing?
I spent a lot of my childhood either on my own on my grandparents farm in Australia, playing games with farm animals and having adventures, or in English woodland, again on my own. I think I acted out so many stories as a kid, so much make believe stuff that making up stories seems like the natural thing to do.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I’ve started another novel, but I’ve got a few other projects I’m really interested in. Today I’m working with an illustrator on a graphic story, about childhood and sharks.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: The American Classic, in Words and Photographs, of Three Tenant Families in the Deep South by Walker Evans and James Agee. James Agee writes and Walker Evans photographs sharecropper families in the South of America. It was supposed to be an article, but it’s this huge thick book. They live with a family, and Agee documents, minutely, their home and their extraordinarily hard lives. Sometimes it’s so dense, it’s barely readable, but it’s just an amazing object, especially teamed with the photographs.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was about 19, I realized I couldn’t do anything else to a satisfying level. I was never going to be a seal trainer.
Tim Winton, Carrie Tiffany, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Hernandez, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Edward Lear, Raymond Carver. I find it quite hard to keep books in my head, so these are authors who tend to stay. I’m sure there are a million more I’ve left out
Book you’re currently reading?
I Could Ride All Day On My Cool Blue Train by Peter Hobbs. It’s extraordinary.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Coffee, and computer, that’s pretty much it. Though I do most of my work at the Royal Festival Hall on the South bank, for some reason getting out of the flat help. Sometimes.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
Writing is difficult, of course, and it takes time. Lots and lots of time. Sometimes you need to leave something alone for a while so that you can look at it with new eyes, but it’s very hard being a writer to justify that to yourself, or to other people. My main problem is that I’m lazy, so I find I sometimes have to trick myself into writing. Often I’ll write total rubbish for a long time, but as long as something’s coming out I don’t mind. I’m fairly new at this though. I may be pulling my hair out by the end of the year.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
Writing rather than talking too much about it.
Advice for other writers?
Write! Don’t tell people what you’re writing – slip them a dummy if you have to. Once it’s out there in some form it starts to lose its edge.
Where can we learn more about you?
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to let you know that I’ve posted some ‘deleted scenes’ from my novel on my website. I’m curious to know what people think about that.
(Photo credit: Fiona Fletcher)