Joanna Gerrard

Jo Gerrard Photo

Joanna Gerrard

What inspired your piece?
I have several notebooks that I jot down ideas in, and this one had been sitting in there for a while. It was inspired by having a German Shepherd mongrel who has many behavioral issues. Many times I had wished he could understand me and be reasoned with. Then I considered the implications of that wish had it come true. I began listening to conversations, and how frequent people wished for things; how they took for granted the things they already had. That is what inspired the piece.

Do you have a favorite line or lines from your accepted pieces for The Ginger Collect?
I don’t have a particular favourite line. The piece had a live read through in front of an audience at a book festival this year, so it was a joy to see people laughing and really see what worked well. When Trevor chased away Mike and Jess got one of the biggest laughs as it was unexpected. A simple line, but received a roar of laughter.

What do you want readers to take away from your piece?
If someone takes time to read it, I’ll be happy with that! If they find it amusing, it would be a bonus. There is a small philosophical point in it, the universal paradox of being free to make choices, but not free of the consequences. I try and leave little messages in what I write, and it is up to the reader to find them if they want to. I am just flattered someone is willing to step into my little world for a while.

Do you find writing invigorating or exhausting?
Mostly exhausting, although it is both. I think the exhausting part is getting past the self-doubt and shutting out that negative voice. Once sat down and on a roll of just typing, really immersed into the protagonist’s head, to the point you begin to suffer any maladies he/she has is then invigorating and difficult to step back out of. That is when I find the best writing is produced.

Who is your most influential writer? Who do you always go back to for inspiration?
I’m always discovering different writers. At the moment I love Ned Bauman, especially ‘The Teleportation Incident’. His metaphors and descriptive work are inspirational for the kind of writing I do. Classics such as Dostoevsky, Kafka, Hesse, … they are always firm favourites, and I am a fan of Celtic Twilight writers such as Macleod and Yeats.

What is your ideal writing environment?
Quiet, warm, and peaceful. That is a very rare thing. I often travel to a remote island in Scotland and stay at a hostel. The last time I stayed there was at least three published writers busy finishing their books. That would be dream place to stay for a few months; only the wildlife, white sandy beaches, and the starry sky for distraction (and people like me quizzing them about their writing!)

What season do you find you write the most in?
I don’t find any season easy to write in – each have their own distractions. Autumn and Spring are the most beautiful months; the months of birth and death. There is something quite poetic about them.

Do you ever create soundtracks for the pieces you’re writing?
Almost all my writing (prose in particular) is inspired by music. This piece is the only one that was not, it was inspired by my own circumstances (then with a fantasy twist). I’m always seeking new (or old) music to inspire me and then make little playlists that transport me into the head of my protagonist. At the moment I am writing a full-length novel where the lead is French, so a lot of the soundtrack is from France to get me into that culture and language.

Do you keep any snacks around while you write? If so, what’s your favorite?
I try not to keep snacks nearby as they won’t last long. After copious amounts of coffee, I normally have a pot of mugwort tea on the go. If I were organized and had snacks, I’d probably be eating sauerkraut, liquorice, oatcakes, sultanas.

Do you have any future writing plans?
My full-length novel. My deadline to finish all edits etc is 20th April, so I am busy hammering that out. It is part historical, part fantasy/sci-fi – ish and also part written in French and Latin. So, I’ve had to do a lot of historical research and learn enough French and Latin to be authentic. I don’t like giving myself an easy life!


You can read Joanna Gerrard’s piece in Issue Four of The Ginger Collect: Wish That Foundation.

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