Friday, May 4, 2012

Interview with Linda Mitchelmore

With the Summer Party and the announcement of the 2012 winner of the Joan Hessayon Award just a couple of weeks away, a warm welcome to another contender for this year’s award, Linda Mitchelmore.

Many congratulations on your short listing, with your debut novel, To Turn Full Circle, Linda.

Please tell us about your first acceptance and how it kick-started your career as a writer.

I have much to thank my late mother-in-law for. She gave me an issue of Woman's Own that had a short story competition in it. So, I thought I'd have a go. To my amazement I was shortlisted, and published. My story was illustrated beautifully in a Picasso-ish sort of way and I thought, 'Hey! I'll have some of this.' Success breeds success, so they say, and while my publications didn't ramp up fantastically to start with, they have been a very satisfyingly steady burn.

How did you hear about the RNA, and how has the organisation been of benefit to you?

Through writing courses I took with Writing Magazine, I met Margaret James who suggested I might like to join the RNA and the New Writers' Scheme. One of my best moves ever, I'm pleased to say.

Can you work anywhere, or do you have a favourite place to hideaway and write?

 I can write short stories, by hand, anywhere. I once wrote a short story in a hospital canteen while my husband was under anaesthetic for the afternoon - a diversion tactic from what was a horribly complex operation. He came through unscathed, I'm pleased to say, and the story sold quickly, too.
Novels are a bit different in that I need to be close to my desk and my research sources. That said, I often start a scene off writing by hand in the comfort of the couch before going up to my freezing garret to type it up.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Oh, definitely a panster. I often start with a first line of dialogue that pops in my head from goodness knows where, and I think....'Who said that?' 'Why?' 'To whom?' 'Where?' And I'm off. Once the story has tumbled out of me I go back over it to make sure there is a plot. It helps to focus said plot if I ask myself 1) Whose story is this? 2) What is their problem/what do they want? 3) Who helps? 4) Who hinders? 5) How do they achieve their aim?

Have you had rejections and if so, how did you deal with them?

I've had a few! Short stories I usually manage to sell somewhere these days, even if it's at the fifth time of sending it out. Previous NWS submissions have gone to second reads and then on to top agents, and those were a bit harder to deal with - so near and yet so far. That said, I have never had a bad rejection from an agent - at least no one has told me to go and play in the traffic or take up bungee-jumping or something. All gave me positive feedback on my writing style and told me not to give up hope of publication. So thank you ladies, one and all - I took your advice.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I must have read Brownie by Amy Le Feuvre at least twenty times as a child. It was a Sunday School Prize - and very secondhand when I received it. It is very collectable today, and I still have my copy.

What would you say was the best part of an RNA conference?

The best part of a RNA conference is the friendship - it holds you up in the down times the way a good support bra does....:)

Have you trained your husband to cook for you while you write?

Well, I've tried - and failed. However, he has developed the good sense to never, ever complain if it is Sainsbury's Taste the Difference ready-mades yet again for supper.

Are you a lark or an owl?

Definitely a lark. I am irritatingly cheerful in the morning as owls who have shared rooms at The New Cavendish Club with me will testify.

What would represent a romantic gesture to you?

A romantic gesture? 'No, darling, your bum definitely doesn't look big in that.'

Thank you for talking to us, Linda. We wish you every success with 'To Turn Full Circle'. It has the most gorgeous cover which is sure to stand out on the shelves. The best of luck with the Joan Hessayon Award.

To find out more about Linda and her work follow her blog at
or on Twitter: @lindamitchelmor  (Note there is no 'e' on the end)
and on Facebook.
Contact Linda by email


Freda Lightfoot said...

Excellent interview. Well done Linda and Kate. I'm sure it will inspire all NWS members who read it.

Best, Freda

Sandra Mackness said...

I did sit with you at breakfast at the New Cav one morning, Linda, but I too am pretty much of a lark and I do recall having a lively chat! Your lovely daughter was with you. Great interview, Kate and Linda. Good luck with the book x

Scarlet Wilson said...

Great interview and looking forward to meeting you at the Summer Party.

Angela Britnell said...

Always enjoy finding out more about fellow RNA members - best of luck with the new book.I have to agree that a supportive spouse is the best asset ever!

Liz Fielding said...

Great interview, Linda. No luck on the cooking front here. :(

Chris Stovell said...

Lovely interview, Linda - I'm looking forwards to catching up with you in a couple of weeks time.

Gilli Allan said...

Fabulous interview. You really deserve your publication deal. You've worked so hard for it and always remained cheerful throughout the.

Gilli Allan said...

Somehow didn't complete my last sentence! "....down times."

See you soon, Linda. xxx

Rosie Hendry said...

I'm looking forward reading 'To Turn Full Circle' Linda. See you at the summer party.

Liz Harris said...

What an interesting interview, Linda, and what excellent questions, Freda. Many thanks to both of you.

Liz X

Evonne Wareham said...

See you at the Summer Party, Linda - it's going to be a great night.

Kate Furnivall said...

Super interview, Linda - very interesting. I'm certain that TO TURN FULL CIRCLE will be a great and well-deserved success.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

A really enjoyable interview! All the best with the book (lovely cover) and the awards.

Margaret Kaine said...

Such an uplifting interview Linda. 'To Turn Full Circle' is a lovely novel, and your success is so very deserved.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Summer Party and wishing you every success.

Margaret x

Rosie Hendry said...

Linda has been trying and trying to post a comment on the blog, but without any success. She's asked me to do it for her.

Linda says 'Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments.... wonderful feedback on my very first blog.'

Susan Bergen said...

Lovely to hear your story, Linda.

Rhoda Baxter said...

Another one to add to the TBR pile. Great interview.