A Very British Blog Tour

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.

http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/a-very-british-blog-tour-post-at-authors-electric/?replytocom=17531#respond

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:

Jane Alexander.

James Everington.

Sarah Barnard.

Dan Holloway

Marc Nash

Roberta McDonnell

Suzie Grogan

Elizabeth Jackson

13 thoughts on “A Very British Blog Tour

  1. Pingback: British? Moi? | No more wriggling out of writing ……

  2. Great to get to know you a little better, Viv. I love that line about ‘England and nowhere…’ I suppose I was aiming for that in a way with the town in my own novel. But really we can’t tell now British – or otherwise – we are until readers let us know. Thanks for taking up the challenge!

    • I’ve been musing on writing a post about not being proud to be British. In the wake of last year’s orgy of patriotism (Jubilee and Olympics) I felt very irritated by countless folks saying how they felt proud to be British. I’m not. I didn’t choose to be born here so cannot take any credit for it, but I am GLAD instead.
      I never wrote it at the time because the backlash would have been shocking!!
      I’m a huge fan of Eliot and one novel on my hard drive is called Little Gidding Girl; the unfocused Englishness of the whole poem is very mystical.

  3. Lovely! And I did smile to see that you’re a tour guide – I really wouldn’t have said that was a shy person’s ideal job. I’m not shy, really, but do have a woeful sense of direction and yet I was a tour guide for a while (not without incident…) Funny isn’t it, the things we end up doing.
    Your books sound wonderful and I now feel duty bound to try to work out that location on the North York moors – a stone’s throw from me!

    • Yes, it is a funny thing how we end up doing things we’re not really suited to. I have a decent sense of direction though when I began I didn’t know that. What I do find difficult is people; close proximity to strangers for days on end. I’m just back from a 5 day stint in Germany and my nerves are rubbed raw!
      The locations are vague, partly because I think it’s better that way and partly so that it can be timeless. When someone builds a supermarket or a building burns down, readers who know an area can often end up thinking you got it wrong.
      Lovely of you to visit, Jackie.

  4. Lovely to read your thoughts on how the British landscape and social ways influences you. You also say just enough about your books to leave me wanting to know more, it is a good job they are on my to buy pile! :)

  5. Hi Viv, really enjoyed your story and getting to hear about your work. I’m keen to follow up but a bit confused as to how to go about it, sorree! Do I reblog your post onto mine, then answer the same set of questions, then nominate more bloggers to do the same? I’m assuming my nominees have to either live in Britain ( can that extend to the British Isles i.e.Ireland?) or have close links or write about Britain. Checking my list now….

    • Normally, you would do a blog post of your own, putting links to mine and nominating others at the end. british in origin is enough whether they live here now or not!
      Glad to see you participate!

  6. Reblogged this on Subliminal Spaces and commented:
    Thanks to Viv (author and blogger of the re-blogged post above) for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour. Viv’s nominator Roz is linked into her post as well and from there you can also track back to others in the chain and read their responses. So here’s my contribution – not sure if I’m going about it the right way but here goes anyway!
    Q: where were your born and where do you live now?
    I was born in Belfast and still live there with my husband and children. Being connected with both sides of the border, there is a kind of multi-layered quality to living in Northern Ireland. I personally feel enriched by both cultures and have difficulty accepting attitudes that exclude rather then include and celebrate diversity.
    Q Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere?
    Most of my working life has been based in Belfast where I trained as a mental health nurse, with a short stint working as an agency nurse in London in the eighties. As a family we spent some time living in Galway in the west of Ireland which was a fascinating experience as I was doing fieldwork research for my PhD. I spent several
    years as a mature student at Queen’s University studying psychology and social anthropology, and have been writing fiction, poetry and non-fiction for a number of years now.
    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?
    When I branched into fiction I had a short story published in The University of Ulster literary magazine Reflexion. It was called Clashed and told of a young man on the brink of suicide, loving on the edge of a housing estate in west Belfast, who is brought back from the edge by a group of friends who inspire him with tales of the punk rock music scene in London (late seventies). My interests are growing in this relationship between the centre and the periphery, Ni and London, indeed the whole of Ireland And the ongoing exchange of ideas, people and labour. This relationship between post-colonial societies and the individual lives who are negotiating the shifting identities to be found therein is a great source if inspiration for several projects on which I am currently working.
    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?
    I really don’t like to generalise about cultures and people. There are reserved people everywhere and flamboyant people too, though I do suspect that both British and Irish people treat children with a certain degree of ‘should be seen but not heard’. Needless to say this is a practice I would personally challenge.
    Q: Tell us about one of your recent books
    Up to now my work has been published only in journals- academic mental health titles and thence recently literary magazines (poems, shorts).
    Q: What are you currently working on?
    I am completing my first book based on a review of the research on the role of creativity and social support in mental health recovery for Palgrave UK to be released later this year. I also plan to complete my first novel about a mental health nurse suffering her own breakdown and the consequences of that for herself, her family and friends. At first I located her in London but changed the setting to Belfast for a number of reasons – they say write About what you know, plus Will Self’s book Umbrella was set in London and located in a mental health hospital so I was worried my story might look too familiar.
    Q: How do you spend your leisure time? Reading, painting old furniture and devising quirky uses for it ( I just created two book nooks from old drawers and used the cabinet section to create a standing table for my laptop – sitting is not good for dodgy back!). Cinema and family life, walking when I get the chance and browsing Pinterest.
    Q Do you write for a local audience or a global audience? Global. The issues I try to weave into my work are universal ones like sanity, emotional well being and the complexity of relationships.

    Q: Who’s next?
    Since I’m not sure how to operate this section of the exercise, I am hoping for volunteers so feel Free to join in if you meet the criteria- just link back to the previous bloggers through the chain in Viv’s post I have re-blogged here. Thanks in advance for looking in.

  7. Pingback: A Very British Blog Tour | Subliminal Spaces

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