A Very British Writer blog tour
I’m quite a reserved sort and it always discombobulates me to be asked to participate in various events. I’m the wallflower, standing at the side hoping no one asks me to dance. But this one intrigued me because on several occasions it has been remarked upon how much I clearly love my country and how it influences my work. So when Roz Morris nominated me, I stammered my thanks, took a deep breath and started to think about the questions.
YOu can see the previous post here: http://authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-very-british-blog-tour.html
Q: where were your born and where do you live now?
A: I was born in a small village about fifteen miles from Cambridge. I’ve lived all over Britain but about six months ago I moved to a small, quintessentially English market town in Norfolk. My family is originally a mix of Welsh and Irish, indeed my great grandmother’s cottage is in the open air National Folk Museum of Wales. Dad has traced my mum’s family back to a Norman warlord called Fulke the Rude (of Anjou), an ancestor of the Plantagenets in the late tenth century, though.
Q Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere?
A: Always, though I do go to Europe for my day job as tour guide/courier.
Q Have you highlighted or showcased any particular part of Britain in your books, a town, a city, a county, a monument, well-known place or event?
A: The English countryside is a big part of my writing, but generally I avoid naming specific places. Away With The Fairies is set in part in a landscape that is not unlike Wiltshire and the surrounding counties but I never state exactly where it is. Strangers and Pilgrims has all the characters connected by the same long river, again never named, though at the end of the book three tremendously English locations are visited: Glastonbury, Bath and Walsingham, all homes to famous springs. I very specifically refuse to reveal the location of the Wellspring that is at the core of the novel; it is a real place and one I’m never going to betray by naming it. The Bet is set partly on the North Yorkshire moors, but I choose not to name precise locations. I’ve long loved the moors and would love for others to discover them as a result of the book.
Q: There is an illusion – or myth if you wish- about British people that I would like to discuss. Many see Brits as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is this correct?
A: No. And yes. There are many like this, especially men but less so than it was when I was a child. Personally I find it very hard to show my emotions and rarely cry.
Q: Do any of the characters in your book carry the ‘stiff upper lip’ or are they all British Bulldog and unique in their own way?
A: I think most of them do, to some extent. We’re generally not terribly good at expressing strong emotions. In particular, Antony Ashurst, the hero of The Bet, struggles bitterly to express emotions, having had much of that squashed out of him as a child by his ghastly aunt who brought him up. All six of the main characters of Strangers and Pilgrims are concealing quite how desperate they are. Isobel in Away With The Fairies doesn’t know how to grieve and keeps on keeping a stiff upper lip until she cracks.
Q: Tell us about one of your recent books
A: The Bet is quite a shocking story and it shows the extent to which certain mores of sexual behaviour have changed. It’s a book that deals with the fall-out of treating people as commodities.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m working on several books. I am getting a collection of creepy short stories ready to publish, in the grand tradition of British spooky tales. I’m working on a novel that is essentially an inner journey, a very interesting project of letting my psyche tell the story without too much interference from my ego. I’m also working on a novel that touches on the influence of John Keats, and about what we believe truth to be (Beauty is Truth). This is set in a very English university city which I never name. I’ve got another novel fermenting that explores the living element of folklore in modern society, but I ran into some problems because it was set too firmly in a place I knew well. I want to aim at what T.S Eliot described as “England and nowhere.”
Q: How do you spend your leisure time?
A: I’m a bee-keeper. I also enjoy long walks across the countryside. I’m also a lazy but loving gardener. I read a lot.
Q Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
A: Global but it seems that it appeals most to a more local set of readers.
Q: Can you provide links to your works?
A: I can. Go to Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vivienne-Tuffnell/e/B00766135C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Q: Who’s next?
A: Lemme see. No pressure but: