Friday, 16 December 2016

Anthology Update - Guest Post by Jacqueline Rayner

Over the coming weeks and months, in the run up to the publication of the anthologies Lost Tales and Frontier Worlds, I will be inviting all the writers who have contributed a brand new story to each of the books to write a Guest Post here on my blog, in which I will ask them to throw back the curtain and reveal to us their private writing world: see exactly what makes them tick as a writer, and asking the questions such as what inspired them growing up, and what they enjoy about other writers' works!

Up next is SF, Fantasy and Doctor Who author Jacqueline Rayner, who has written a story for Frontier Worlds...

Well, of course I read loads as a child, and always wanted to write – but I guess that’s a given, isn’t it? I doubt there are many people who just slipped into writing books by accident, 
especially in the SF or fantasy fields because you tend to be quite deep in those worlds already. Growing up, I quite often had people thinking it odd that a girl – a girl! – should love SF, with its macho men and laser guns and big spaceships and monsters, but of course (a) why should they not love those things? and (b) SF is not just those things. I was a voracious reader of comics, and many of those aimed at the girls of the late 70s and early 80s had huge doses of SF (and horror, and fantasy) alongside the traditional ballet and ponies, so I knew it wasn’t just me who liked such stuff. My favourite children’s author is Monica Hughes, a Canadian writer, whose SF books absorbed me into their worlds like no others – I vividly remember the sensation of finishing her books and coming out, blinking, into our world again, realising with a shock that you were suddenly elsewhere. As a child I also loved Nicholas Fisk, Robert Westall, Margaret Mahy, John Wyndham, all writers whose books burrow into your mind. Other books can draw you into their worlds – I desperately wanted to be a member of the Famous Five, for example – but nothing does it quite as well as SF or fantasy. 

I think my greatest literary achievement was when we had to write a book for English class in my second year at senior school, and the teacher kept hold of mine (yes, it was SF, although I can remember nothing about it except I think it might have had a dystopian setting), and years later I found out that she’d been using it as an example in lessons when some younger children came and told me they’d been reading my book in English and loved it. That felt amazing. My entire career has probably been about trying to recreate that moment – not the praise (although that was rather lovely), but the fact I’d created a world for other people to go into. One day I’ll do it again! I think my story for Frontier Worlds is creeping closer to the sort of thing I’ve always wanted to write – I loved writing it, in any case.

I think proper writers are supposed to write either at a desk or in a coffee shop, but because of health issues I actually write in (or on – depending how good a day it is) bed with a laptop, and so sadly don’t count as a proper writer, although on the plus side it’s quite comfy and I don’t have to worry about making one coffee last an entire day. Sometimes I wear long velvet dresses to write in, which either makes me feel all writerly and creative or makes me point and laugh at myself as I realise just how pretentious it is when basically I’m just doing a job of work where I press lots of keys on a computer and hope someone gives me some money at the end of it. To be honest, though, I’m pretty sure there are few jobs that couldn’t be improved just by wearing a velvet frock to do them in. Apart from deep-sea diver, when it’d really weigh you down.

Jacqueline has written numerous novels, audio plays and comic strips. Her recent releases include the Doctor Who comic book The Highgate Horror (which includes her comic strip Witch Hunt) and the anthology The Twelves Doctors of Christmas (which includes two of her short stories). She regularly writes for the Doctor Who Magazine.

Check out Jacqueline's blog HERE

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