Gail Aldwin is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Her debut novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2020. Her first children’s picture book Pandemonium was published in 2020. Gail regularly appears at literary and fringe festivals. Prior to Covid-19, Gail volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world. Her home overlooks water meadows in Dorset.
What inspires you to write?
It's human nature to be creative. While others like to paint or garden or cook, I stay at my desk and write. I hope readers will engage with my stories and learn something about others. This is the purpose that keeps me writing.
Tell us about your writing process.
I got the idea for a children's picture book aimed at youngsters 2–7 years while teaching a module on writing for children to undergraduates at the University of South Wales. The words for the story came together quickly but as Pandemonium is a children's picture book I collaborated with illustrator Fiona Zechmeister to complete the project. It took very many drafts to enable the words and pictures to dovetail. Fiona lives in Austria and I live in England (we've never met) so we spent hours writing emails and discussing challenges by Skype. We made it in the end.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
You have to understand how characters talk or the voice isn't going to be right. For a children's picture book the characters use language that is patterned and has elements of repetition. This is important because it helps children to engage with the story and they can join in sections of the reading by saying the words. By so doing, children's early literacy skills are built and an ongoing interest in reading and books is harnessed.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are very many high quality children's picture books available so it's difficult to choose so I'll go for a few classics. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins and The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Victorina Press published by debut coming-of-age novel The String Games in 2019. I chose a traditional press because I wanted to work with a small team who could help make my novel the best it could be. Fiona Zechmeister works for Victorina Press as a cover designer and children's book illustrator. I so enjoyed working with her on the cover of The String Games that bringing Pandemonium to Victorina Press was the obvious choice.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The growth in small independent publishers is a good thing. At Victorina Press there is a commitment to bibliodiversity where small presses create a healthy publishing ecosystem by bringing work by undiscovered authors to readers.
What genres do you write?
adult fiction, children's literature, poetry.
What formats are your books in?
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All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.