Welcome, Anne Stormont.
How would you describe your writing style in only three words?
Anne: Contemporary. Character-driven. Romantic. (In my writing for children – Contemporary, timeshift-historical, magical).
If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?
Anne: I’m taking it that by ‘relationship’ you mean one of a romantic nature – with, you know, all the touchy, feely, sexy goings-on included. So, it would be a relationship with Jack from ‘Displacement’ that I’d choose. I find him fascinating – he’s had an interesting life, he’s made mistakes, he’s hurt people, but he’s also a loving father and grandfather, and he’s still got ‘it’. I think I was actually a bit in love with him while I was writing the book.
If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?
Anne: I’d like to be in all three and definitely on the sidelines. I’d like to be in ‘The Silver Locket’ (my children’s book written by my alter-ego, Anne McAlpine) just so I could see Bonnie Prince Charlie close up and see if he was as handsome as they say he was. I’d like to be a friend of Rosie’s in Change of Life just to offer her support as she faces up to all the challenges that lie ahead of her. And I’d like to go with Rachel from Displacement on her journey from the Isle of Skye to the Middle East and prepare her for how life-changing such a journey can be.
Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Anne: This was a difficult choice. There are so many authors and poets that I admire and would love to spend time with, but my house doesn’t have a banqueting hall. So I decided to pick seven as this is the number I could seat around my dining-room table and still have a space for me. And I also decided to pick (at least some) that might be less well-known. I’d have Anne Lamott who writes so well about the craft of writing in ‘Bird by Bird’; Robert Macfarlane whose non-fiction writing – reflecting on life as he walks in the natural world – I love. Macfarlane’s book, ‘The Old Ways’, being just one example; Ursula Muskus who wrote such a wonderful memoir, ‘The Long Bridge’, about her time in the Russian gulags; Raja Shehadeh whose book ‘The Palestinian Diaries’ I read during my most recent visit to Israel-Palestine. I’d also invite Carol Shields the wonderful Canadian novelist who died far too young and whose book ‘Unless’ is, for me, the nearest thing to the perfect novel. As a nod to all the authors I loved when I was growing up I’d like to invite Robert Louis Stevenson. I still have my grandmother’s childhood copy of his ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ and can still recite some of the poems, and of course I loved his ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’. And finally, I’d have to have the bard, Robert Burns. He’d be such a great before and after dinner speaker. The menu would have to be a Burns supper – so a hearty soup, followed by haggis, neeps and tatties and cranachan for dessert. And a good malt whisky, such as Skye’s own Talisker, to wash it all down. And we’d finish with a bit of a ceilidh of course.
If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?
Anne: Crime fiction – I enjoy reading this genre and would love to be able to write like Ian Rankin or Val McDermid. Writing in this genre would be out of my comfort zone, but I like a challenge.
What do you dislike the most about being an author?
Anne: I find the marketing and publicity thing tough – it doesn’t come naturally to me.
Anne: Discombobulated – it describes my state of mind most of the time.
Anne Stormont was in the chair, author of: Displacement, Change of Life, The Silver Locket.