What are the challenges of your own life experiences, and do these present in your writing, as concerns, themes, ways of thinking about writing?
My own deafness and physical disabilities do have a practical impact on my writing – it is doubtful I would ever have been brave enough to give up the ‘day job’ in favour of writing if ill-health had not forced my hand! The enforced isolation of deafness intersects with the isolation experienced by many writers, in both positive and negative ways.
One of my first short stories was called ‘Songbird’, featuring a deaf protagonist living in Hong Kong, although this was more a metaphor for finding one’s true identity than exploring disability. My debut novel is set in a location known to attract those marginalised by society (a small island off the north-west coast of Africa).
But more than anything else, my writing comes from my unconscious, and I would not class myself as a writer setting out to discuss issues of disability per se. I see myself as being on the outside looking in, an observer of all life, and I believe this is an essential quality for successful writers, deaf and hearing.
I have always been a writer – aged 3 (well before my disabilities kicked in) my mother discovered me scribbling nonsense on her best writing paper: What are you doing? She exclaimed. I’m writing a book, was the reply.
Read the full interview HERE.