Barbara Haworth-Attard

It has been a while since I posted here! Bad me! Anyway, I thought this might interest some folks. I had an email from a student today asking questions that I frequently get asked. I thought others might be interested in the answers. Sooo Here are a few of the questions and my answers. I will post more tomorrow.

What does the author say about his or her purpose for writing? Is it to tell story or to entertain an audience?

I can’t speak for other authors, but it writing for me is a compulsive urge. I need to write. It helps me make sense of the world around me. I think some people see the world in terms of painting, artwork, others with music. I make sense of my world with words. Or I try to make sense of it. The world is very puzzling.

What does the author say about the writing process? Does it flow easily or is it the result of a lot of research and pre-writing?

Writing is not easy. Sometimes the words flow and it is like hearing music. Other times it is a slog. Each of my books requires at least a year of research, be it an historical novel or a contemporary novel.

Where does the author get ideas?

Ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes I find an idea is something I have read…ie. my book Home Child came from a brochure from the Children’s Aid Society that I picked up at the library. It was the historical roots of CAS and there was a mention of needing to do something for home children. I had never heard the term before and began to research. What a journey! I also listen to people talk…watch what you say in coffee shops, what I see, what I read in newspapers, etc.

What kind of environment facilitates good writing habits?

Personally I need quiet. Since my husband retired six years ago…there has not been much quiet! He plays electric and acoustic guitar. I love him dearly – 45 years married – but I need quiet!

How does the author handle criticism of his or her writing?

Well I cry a bit, curse, vent to my friends, and then really look at the criticism and see if there is truth there and if I can use the remarks to improve my writing. On the other hand…I take everything my agent, editor says about my work and gladly embrace their comments. If they are willing to help me, I will accept all the help I can get to make myself a stronger writer.