Tara Gould on motherhood and writing for New Writing South

Is there a writer you particularly admire, and what about their work is powerful to you?

‘I don’t have one writer who has inspired or influenced me above all others. My tastes and obsessions change with each phase of life. More recently my stand out favourites have been Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Grief is a Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong and the Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.

When I was writing The Haunting of Strawberry Water, I revisited some of my favourite scary stories – The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived at the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I’ve always enjoyed the place where the supernatural and psychological disturbance meet in literature. I wanted to write a traditional ghost story with universal themes but to update it so that it had relevance now, especially to women. I drew partly on my own experiences of childbirth and postnatal depression to explore that most sacred of bonds, the mother daughter relationship and transport it into the territory of the uncanny, to the uncomfortable margins between the paranormal and the psychopathological.’

Tara Gould is author of The Haunting of Strawberry Water. Read the full interview on the New Writing South blog.