Blog 170: The Magic of Woven Words – Author Interview #52

Dear Readers,

Holidays are round the corner. What books are you all reading? Do you have a holiday reading list ready? I will make mine ready this weekend. Hope you make it too.

A huge Thank You and a Loud Shout out to the Author Tracy, Alnaaze & Louise –  for agreeing to participate and kind enough to send prompt response to all my questions.

Question 1:  What inspired you to start writing? When did you start writing?

Author’s Response: 

Tracy: I was a ridiculously precocious reader with a lot of words in my head from very early on, so I have been writing since I was really small. I started writing more seriously in my teens and joined a writers group as the token 13-year-old. But I never thought of trying to publish my writing until a few years ago.

Alnaaze: I used to love writing as a kid, and wrote lots of short stories and poetry in and out of school. I even illustrated a book about a little rabbit going on adventures when I was 10 (I am a terrible artist, that poor rabbit looked ridiculous). I never really thought about publishing my writing as a viable option for me until recently: as I got older it was more about “ok, what kind of training can I get to get a job to earn a living?” versus anything else. I was lucky in that in working in humanitarian aid and public health I have found work that I love to do, but I love writing too. Now I’m trying to find a way to balance both.These days, what inspires me in my writing is what I like to call activist writing – these don’t have to be angry pieces or strong opinion pieces, but stories with a focus on change: change of thinking, ideals, mindsets, focusing on representation of under represented or discriminated communities, telling their stories in a fun and interesting way.

Louise: Like the others, I guess I always enjoyed writing but didn’t really think of it as an actual thing I could get into. It wasn’t until I found myself in the company of many amazing and creative writers in my local community a few years back that I felt inspired (and encouraged) to give it a go. I have a pretty broad range of interests and that also filtered through to my writing, one minute I would have a go at writing for children, creating fictional, fun and silly pieces, the next diving into non fiction and fact based exploratory work, and then of course stretching all the way to creating an anthology of personal essays with Tracy & Alnaaze. I love the diversity available in the writing world, which seems to suit the way my brain works.

Question 2:  What in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Author’s Response: 

Tracy: I don’t feel like I’m any kind of authority on objectively judging writing. I like writers who take risks. When we were selecting essays for Keeping It Under Wraps, I was drawn to stories that were particularly courageous, that laid out their deepest unexpressed fears or thoughts. And sometimes they have to be ridiculously funny, because the topics are so heartbreaking at times.

Alnaaze: It’s hard to say, because there are some writers that people adore and think are geniuses that bore me to tears. I remember reading one book with a writing group (I won’t say which one …) but the other readers were in love with it, but it drove me so crazy I wanted to throw the book out the window.

In the end, for me, it’s all about authenticity. I want to hear an authentic voice with an interesting story. Working on Keeping Under Wraps was very much in this vein: we wanted to hear real stories coming from the heart, from lives lead, versus the usual inspo nonsense we see so much of.

Louise: Ohh this is a tricky question. Writing and anything creative can be so subjective, for instance I’m really not a fan of poetry, writing or reading it. When you are looking to advise ‘what makes a good writer’ or ‘what makes good writing’ I always say it has to be something that comes from within. Something you feel naturally inspired by and that brings you joy. First and foremost, write for you, write the things that speak to you, the stuff that intrigues and inspires you. Writing doesn’t necessarily have to be for anyone, you can still be a writer and a good writer, even if you choose never to share your stories.

Question 3:  On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? Describe your writing space.

Author’s Response: 

Tracy: I try to write a couple of times a week — I run a business, I’m studying at university, I have a family that insist on spending time together for some reason. It’s hard to balance everything but we have a great group of local writers in Zurich who meet weekly, and that’s a great chance to write.

Alnaaze: It’s really hard when you’re working full time, but what really helps me is that we have a great writing community here in Zurich, and we meet regularly to write together. It’s a way not only to be motivated and build a writing community, but also to make sure I carve out time regularly for my writing. I had set up a nice work space at home, close to the window with lots of light, but actually my best place to write is in cafés – cliché I know! But the background noise really helps my focus, strangely enough.

Louise: I write from home most days, when my brain and family allow! I try to sit down and do at least an hour a day but you can easily get distracted by life, so having a community who I can sit and write with is one of the best and most effective way of getting myself to buckle down and concentrate, I think I need accountability! My favorite place to write is in a cafe, or bookstore, I like the buzz of people around me, the background hum, and of course, enjoying a nice coffee and croissant too!

Question 4:  Who is your favorite author and why? Recommend three of your favorite books to your readers.

Author’s Response: 

Tracy: I really love Connie Willis’s very British time-travel stories. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a great homage to Edwardian satirical writing but with a science-fiction twist.

Alnaaze: I adore Colleen McCullough, an Australian writer who wrote a magnificent series of books called the Masters of Rome Series. I’m also a huge fan of Guy Gavrial Kay,  a Canadian Fantasy fiction writer – I have old, battered copies of the Lions of Al-Rassan and The Fionavar Tapestry that have a space in my suitcase in every country I’ve ever lived in.

Louise: I love a lot of nonfiction books. I am neurodivergent so I love reading biographies and books that feature other neurodivergent people like me. Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) is one of my all time favorites, her book Furiously Happy, had me laughing, crying and nodding along in agreement. I am also a fan of Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and A Half is another nonfiction, but this time a graphic novel, following her ups and downs, unfortunate situations and her slightly peculiar dog. My third recommendation would have to be The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. It’s technically a children’s book but it’s so beautiful and I think it speaks to all ages.


Lots of love,


Published by mrsswiftnib

A fellow book worm who by norms classifies as a voracious reader, books have been a key part since a toddler. Also a prolific writer, I love the craft of words. Of course, people who love to read mostly love to write too! Isn't it? I play around with colors and take absolute delight in Pencil Sketching and Mandalas. A little secret to indulge - I foster a vested interest of amassing a New Degree almost every year. It's my way to Paradise :) A Daughter, Wife, an Engineer, a Bibliophile, a Saree Lover and a varied Juggler of Artsy Interests - That's Me in a Nutshell Welcome Aboard Y'all!!

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