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The Blog Tour

by Jeff Phelps on February 24th, 2014

In The Blog Tour the writer responds on their blog to three questions about their writing – then links to three other writers who do the same the following week.  I was introduced to this idea by Jean Atkin.  She’s an amazing poet and children’s writer who lives in the heart of Ludlow in Shropshire.  Jean’s answers to these questions is on her blog and are full of practical wisdom and great poetry.  Her take on a sense of place and on bike rides is worth a blog on its own!    

Here are mine:

What are you working on?  I’m about a third of the way through writing a novel about a community that’s set up in a country house.  In the novel the house belongs to the son of a rich businessman who’s spoilt and gullible.  He’s pulled in different directions and has almost given up trying to make the place work until Flora arrives.  It takes her, a boy called Oliver and one or two disasters before they remember why they came there in the first place – and why it’s important to keep on trying.

I’m working on putting a collection of poetry together.  My poems have been published in magazines for about thirty years – but I’ve never had a collection, so I’m sending my best ones round to the publishers.  (Fellow bloggers – advice welcome!)  I’ve also taken another slight detour to write a couple of radio short stories – purely speculatively.  I’m doing some readings in Spring in connection with the Wenlock Poetry Festival, some teaching/ mentoring including with the wonderfully talented Shropshire Young Poet Laureate, Mia Cunningham and I judge one or two competitions.  So – pretty busy and enjoying myself a lot.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?  My writing has my own experience in it.  Nobody else has the same mix of background, family, experience, education and so on – and that makes it different.  But, yes, I agree with Jean Atkin – this is a difficult question.  Really I’ve no idea how my work differs from others of its genres.  I’m not even sure which genre it fits into.  I only hope people will read or listen to it and decide for themselves.

Why do you write what you do?  I wrote my first novel, Painter Man, because I was fascinated by the way artists see the world.  I wanted to write as if through an artist’s eye.  I was also interested by how creative people can become obsessed with their work and become isolated.  In the second novel, Box of Tricks, I wanted to write a good story with humour and interesting characters based on my own experiences in a northern seaside town.  I write about what I find intriguing or fascinating.  For a novel it has to have enough substance to keep me and the reader involved for 300 pages.  In a poem it can be a single image or idea that insists on being written about.  I like places and situations that are at a point of change.  I’m interested in facades – the mental ones that people put up and physical ones that hide something behind.  I was an architect for 35 years.  I think that has irreparably affected my perception.

How does your writing process work?  I do a lot of handwritten stuff, even in fiction.  It’s time consuming but I still find it more immediate than cut and paste on the computer.  I think it’s a physical thing – my brain works at the speed of a biro!  I also do a lot of rewriting and editing – trying to get closer to what I really want to say.

Being an all rounder (poems, novels, short stories) is lovely.  When ideas come it’s good to be able to say: that sounds like a short story (or maybe a poem).  I’ve got an upstairs room where I write most mornings.  If I look out of the window (I do occasionally) I can see across the gardens towards the Clee Hills and up the Severn Valley where the steam trains chug into the distance .

Clee Hills & Severn Valley

Clee Hills & Severn Valley

 I use a laptop with no internet connection.  It stops me idly browsing.  I know lots of writers and I attend writers’ groups including one in Bridgnorth which I set up more than twenty years ago – and is still going strong.  I’d never send a piece off until at least one other person has had a look at it.  I read widely.

Please send comments by Facebook, Twitter or on the link below.  I’d really like to hear from you!

The next blogs on the Blog Tour will appear on Monday 3rd March and will be from three good friends who’ve agreed to pick up the baton and run to the next changeover point.  Here they are:  

Paul Francis lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire and has always been a prolific and versatile writer. He was runner up in the Wolverhampton Love Slam in February 2013, and came second in the Guernsey competition for Poems on the Buses.  He is involved in two writing groups, and reads at a range of local venues. His website includes a blog, which covers writing and reading, films and TV, and comments on the news.

Paul 3 field 03






Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn  is a novelist and short story writer. Her second novel ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was published by Cinnamon Press in September 2013, after winning their novel writing award. Her first novel ‘Unravelling’, published in 2010, has also won awards. Lindsay’s short stories have been published and/or successful in competitions. She has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University and is a creative writing tutor.

View photo in message

William Gallagher is a writer, dramatist and lecturer. He writes Doctor Who audio dramas, stage plays and has appeared extensively in Radio Times and BBC News Online. He’s also the author of the British Film Institute book BFI TV Classics: The Beiderbecke Affair, B7 Media’s Blake’s 7: The Ultimate Guide and co-author of Radio Times Cover Story. He once had afternoon tea on a Russian nuclear submarine and regrets calling the place a dive. 


Enjoy the blog tour!   



  1. Johne60 permalink

    Really informative article post.Thanks Again. Awesome. befededkfaae

  2. Jeff Phelps permalink

    Many thanks for your comment, John. Good wishes, Jeff Phelps

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