Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Getting to know ... Catriona Troth

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I guess you would call them contemporary fiction.

What made you choose that genre?
I am not sure I chose exactly – I wrote the stories that demanded to be written.

How long does it take you to write a book?
A long time.  An embarrassingly long time.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m not the good at scheduling.  Once I have walked the dog in the morning, I would be quite happy to sit down and bury myself in work until it is time to cook dinner.  But real life rarely seems to let me get away with that.  So I work in snatched corners of time - all very well when I am writing non-fiction or when I’m editing; not so great for being creative.  I used to do my best creative work on my commuter train – 45 minutes of uninterrupted bliss each way!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I am often inspired by real events from recent history – I plant my characters on the fringes of those situations and let them ride the storm.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pen, or so my mother says.  I can remember trying to write something in the style of Cynthia Harnett when I was about 14.  But my first (bad) full length novel was a pretentious tome I wrote in my twenties.  I looked back at it recently and there were one or two decent ideas in it – but a lot of it made me want to give myself a good slap.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Walk the dog (as noted above).  Read (voraciously).  Avoid doing housework. I also really like research.  Probably too much, if I’m honest: it turns into a displacement activity.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Through writing, and with the help of the Internet, I have connected and made real friendships with other writers from all round the globe.  The connections I’ve made have led to work for the literary magazine Words with Jam and authors’ collective Triskele Books.  They’ve changed my life.

How many books have you written?
Two that I’d admit to in public.

Which is your favourite and why?
Ghost Town, my full length novel published on November 16th this year, is what Joni Rodgers calls ‘a soul project’.  I’d had an idea for a story and was casting about for setting, and remembered a time when I was working in a homeless shelter in Coventry. I knew there had been tensions between the Asian and skinhead communities, but as I began to research the background, I unearthed things I had had no idea about at the time.  It turned into a story I simply had to tell, and I worked and reworked it until I finally hammered it into a shape I was happy with.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A writer, no question.  I’m living my dream.

What are you working on now?
I have a couple ideas kicking around but the non-fiction work has rather taken over for the moment.

Catriona Troth was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada before coming back to the UK. She has now lived in the Chilterns longer than she has ever lived in anywhere, a fact that still comes as a surprise. After more than twenty years spent writing technical reports at work and fiction on the commuter train, Catriona made the shift into freelance writing. She now writes a regular column for Words with Jam literary magazine, researches and writes articles for Quakers in the World and tweets as @L1bCat. She is very proud to be the latest member of the Triskele Books author collective.

She is the author of two books both of which explore themes of identity and childhood memory: Gift ofthe Raven, a novella set against a backcloth of Canada from the suburbs of Montreal to the forests of the Haida Gwaii; and Ghost Town, set in Coventry, during the Two Tone era.
Twitter: @L1bCat
Words with Jam:

Critique Service for Writers

Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

1 comment:

Sandra Danby said...

Ah, I like doing research too. Sometimes ideas to research for my next novel, and the one after that, can tempt me away from my writing. SD