Author Name: Gail Aldwin
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Books: This Much Huxley Knows, The String Games
Brief bio: I am a British writer who has lived and worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Spain. As well as novels, short fiction and poetry, I co-write short plays and comedy sketches that are staged in my home county of Dorset. I love to appear at national and international literary festivals, including input at the Mani Lit Fest in Greece 2021.
What got you started as a writer? When I lived overseas, the letters and emails I sent home were the start of my journey to becoming a published author. When I ran out of anecdotes to share, I began making them up and developed the skills to write fiction.
What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? As a writer you need plenty of resilience. It’s a competitive field and to get published involves a lot of rejections. When I lived in Uganda, I volunteered at a refugee settlement for those fleeing conflict in South Sudan. I had such respect for the children and families who owned nothing but still found joy. My living conditions were tough with little piped water and a poor supply of electricity. I learnt how to toughen up from the refugees I worked with and I carry that experience with me today.
What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Seek beta readers to offer feedback on your work. Keep polishing your novel until it feels like you can recite every word.
What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? As the weekdays and the weekends merged during lockdown, I found it difficult to focus on writing. That’s when I joined Writers’ Hour with the London Writers’ Salon. Each weekday morning at 8am I joined a Zoom call which provided a kick start to get my writing going.
What are you reading right now? Tangled Lies by Karen E Osborne. It’s such a great book with standout characters.
Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? Laugh. It’s especially important to see the funny side during these Covid days.
Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? No, but the young narrator in This Much Huxley Knows climbs trees and gets stuck at the top. Passing friends help to talk him down.
Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? That is a criminal question. The worse thing I’ve ever done is to drop a book, see it catch the wind and chase it along the road.
Could you live in a tiny house? Oh yes! I love small spaces and used to spend hours sitting in the airing cupboard when I was a girl. To get into the mind of the young narrator in This Much Huxley Knows I recreated that experience to connect with the thoughts, worries, joys and preoccupations of a child and feed these into my novel.
What are the small things that make you happy? Sunlight turning leaves golden in autumn.
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