Strange Alliances: Isabel Ashdown on Writing the Close Up and Personal

This month I’ve had the pleasure of chatting to Elaine Aldred over on Strange Alliances, on the intricacies of writing about people and place.  Here’s a short extract from the interview – please click the link to read on:

IA Charlie, Sept 2013 BW Bright“Isabel Ashdown is a writer who can make the ordinary extraordinary. Her perceptive stories create characters you care about, and Isabel’s attention to detail is so seamlessly applied to the narrative that the reader becomes easily immersed in their worlds. These are the skills that make Isabel’s books invaluable reads for any writer struggling with characterisation and the way to create a credible world around them.

How do you go about writing? Do you have the plot worked out ahead of time or do you just sit down and write?
My writing always begins with a seed of an idea – a what if? – and a strong sense of a character. Once I have these two things I can throw myself into getting words down, into finding and refining the voice, and it’s not until that’s firmly located and flowing that I can even start to think about plot.

IA Kite Hill, IoW, Apr 2011In Summer of ’76 my what if? was: ‘What if adults were misbehaving in a small community – and what if their teenaged kids found out? Imagine the shame. How would that unfold?’ Whether I’m reading or writing, character is king – above any amount of genius plotting and lyrical prose. I have to feel something for the character, care about them, be intrigued enough to follow them on their journey and turn the page.”  Read more …

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