Martha Haversham is an English artist and writer. She has just published an ebook entitled Haversham in your Head.
What is your name?
Where do you live?
What is your website address?
What is your latest book?
Haversham in Your Head
Where can we get it?
How long have you been writing?
A while. But I do other things too.
What are your writing hours?
That is a Jeffrey Archer question.
How has your education and life experience led into your writing?
Where to begin? I started at 21 and it was total crap. I think by 43 it should be a little better. I don’t think education has much to do with it as it just pukes out at strange times. The best thing I ever wrote was at 27 after the birth of my daughter and I was a lunatic.
What software or books do you use or refer to whilst writing?
None. But I am a very fast touch typist – it is like breathing thoughts.
When you edit are you mainly cutting or adding words?
Very strange question. You do both – many, many times over. With visual art it can be a one-off. With writing it is an edited process.
Which books should everyone have read?
Middlemarch and all the Ladybirds from 1958-1970.
What authors do you admire and why?
George Eliot (see above) and Austen. The former for the brains, the other also for the brains.
Which other arts do you follow and enjoy?
Guy Taplin. I love seeing his birds become more abstracted and balletic. Choreographers such as Anthony Tudor, Bruce, MacMillan – ‘Gloria’ presses all my buttons.
To what extent do you structure your book before you start writing?
I have a clear idea before I begin. Then it departs.
How many drafts do you tend to write?
20 or so.
How did you get your first book published?
I began by writing articles for national newspapers. Under a different name – writers loose their identities very quickly!
How do you cope with criticism?
Extremely well. You should have an ego. If not, then you do not believe in what you do.
To what extent has the Internet changed the environment for new writers?
A lot. Everybody seems to be uploading – but not necessarily writing.
Do you read ebooks?
Yes, but with some reluctance as I like children’s picture books and the smell of my old Ladybirds. I read ejournalism all the time. The Times should never have gone subscription.
Do you use social media to connect with your readers?
I am not keen on Twitter – tried it twice and it has not worked for me. I want to make things, not keep doing running scores of how well I am doing/seeing/failing /sharing/eating/shitting…I think there is a lot of pressure on creative people to prove their worth and maybe square people who have developed Twitter have re-enforced this.
Do titles come before, during or after the writing process?
I think titles are good for some framework. So before I would say – with editing of course…
How tidy is your desk?
I do not have one.
Is there a quotation you wish you had written yourself?
All of Dorothy Parker’s.
A sentence of advice for aspiring authors?
Pitch, fail, edit, pitch, drink like a fish – in a sentence.
Please finish this limerick:
There once was an artist from Bath
Who wrote just for a laugh…