5 Questions with Gill Fyffe

14 September 2015

1. What are you most looking forward to at Wigtown this year?

I love travelling and have never been to Wigtown.so I'm really looking forward to seeing it. I usually go for a walk in the middle of the night, to avoid the sun, so it will be the first thing I do. 


2. Your story is a fascinating, wonderfully written account of what was a terrible mistake. Did you find ‘LifeBlood’ difficult to write as it was drawing on real experience and emotion, or did this actually help with your writing?

I found the first half of LifeBlood easy to write, because of course memories of our son and daughter's childhoods are precious to me. The second half was really difficult and I should thank Jenny Brown for her commitment here - she made me write it four times! In the end we took advice from the wise Sara Maitland, who saw that I was ignoring the political story in the narrative as I had deliberately ignored it in real life. Sara's advice was absolutely right, but writing about all that did pull me down. I've included the scene where our children noticed my distress and sorted me out!


3. If you could see anybody’s else life story turned into literature, who would it be and why? (this doesn’t have to be somebody well-known).

I think everyone's life story is worth telling and when people say they have a book in them, they do. The problem is getting it out and down on paper! 


4. If you could change one detail about a book somebody else has written, what would it be and why? (this can be anything at all, from a character to a plot or setting, to just a general reason why you would like to see a change in their writing).

Well, my favourite film is My House In Umbria, with Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall and Ronnie Barker. The screenplay was adapted from a novel by William Trevor and when I read it I thought the narration was brilliant: light and funny, but every line charged with meaning and character. Then I discovered Trevor's desperately sad ending, which was a bit of a shock, given the very happy one rewritten by My House In Umbria's screenwriter. So I would like someone to make films of all Trevor's brilliant sad endings, telling the screenwriter to swap them for happy ones, so we can read his novels for genius before cheering ourselves up with the films!


5. If you could step inside the mind of one author for just a day, who would it be and why?

I'm now writing a novel - you will be able to tell by my expression whether I have got it finished before Wigtown - but I read more non-fiction and there are loads of writers whose minds I'd love to spend a day in, because they know so much. Currently, Mary Beard for The Parthenon, Frank Welsh for A History of the World and John Gribbin for In Search of Schrodinger's Cat - although my plan to understand quantum mechanics is going to take longer than a day... 


Tickets are still available to Gill Fyfe's LifeBlood at 4.30pm on Sunday 27th September. To book, please call the box office on 01988 403222. Tickets £8.