Episode 6: Zu Dominiak


In this episode I talk to illustrator and comixator Zu Dominiak.

Zu is a talented artist who creates comic strips; she tells stories using words and pictures. We talk about how the interplay between images and narrative influences her work.

She talks us through her planning process and we discuss the challenge of ‘killing your darlings’ when this can involve carefully crafted images as well as words.

Zu is a collaborator, so we talk about the realities of working with other people on a creative enterprise. We discuss the challenges, of course, but also look at the benefits to the writer (and artist) of collaboration and how that helps you develop your own work.

And we also talk about the power of networking. Zu tells us how much she has gained from her friends at the Edinburgh League of Comics.

Like all writers and artists, Zu needs to find an audience-readership for her work. So we talk about the genuine pleasure of selling work one-to-one, the fun of meeting people who enjoy what you do and the excitement of her work going to San Diego ComicCon

I gained a lot from talking to Zu and I think she has loads of insights that are valuable to any aspiring writer – even one like me that can barely draw stick men.

Zu’s work is intelligent, funny, dark and serious all at the same time – I’d strongly recommend a visit to her website and  that you follow her weekly strip Monty & Zuzu’s WTF on Twitter or Instagram.

It is well worth keeping your eye on Monty & Zuzu as Zu tells me this will be kickstarting again very soon.

She has also made a load of her sketches and developmental work available here – so you can see her planning notes for real.

And here is her course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of Dundee University.

I hope you enjoy this episode. Please leave a comment below or a review on iTunes.



Episode 5: Andrew Okey


In this episode I talk to first-time novelist Andrew Okey.

We discuss what spurred him on to take time out to concentrate on writing and about his approach to writing the manuscript for his novel, The Alternative.

We cover Andrew’s approach to planning his work, in particular the challenge he had with The Alternative in managing three different narrative strands.

We go on to talk about what steps he’s been taking to get his novel published – and his take on self-publishing.

Andrew is a fascinating guest. In the last couple of years he has done many of the things aspiring writers dream of doing: taking a sabbatical from the day job to write, completing a full novel and getting on the merry-go-round of publishers and literary agents.

Talking to him about these very fresh experiences gave me a real insight into the joys and challenges of taking the leap to becoming a writer.

I’ve had the great privilege of reading The Alternative. It’s really good. So keep your eye on this site as, coming soon, will be exclusive access to an extract from Andrew’s first novel.

I hope you enjoy this episode – please leave a comment or post a review on iTunes.



Episode 4: Mel Woodend



Welcome to episode 4 where I talk to writer and poet Mel Woodend.

Mel’s poetry is heavily influenced by her love of nature and the outdoors. We explore the relationship between her work the inspiration she gains from the world around her in the English Midlands.

Mel is a self-published poet so we explore the work she’s had to do to gain an audience and readership for her work; in particular we talk about the things she’s done to launch her latest collection – Natural Colours – and what she learned from putting herself out there as a poet.

We also discuss Mel’s experience as someone who has committed herself to being a full time writer. We talk about her expectations of what the life of professional writer would be like and how that has compared to the reality.

And we talk about the hidden pleasures and challenges of making writing your main purpose every day.

Mel is someone who has taken the leap from aspiring writer to full time writer. I learned a lot as she shared her thoughts on what the job of a writer entails over and above simply writing.

You can find out more about Mel and her poetry from her website and you can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Mel also has an Amazon author page here.

I hope you enjoy this episode – please leave me a comment here or put a review on iTunes.


Episode 3: John McKinstry


In episode 3 I talk to John McKinstry.

John is a writer of non-fiction and also published his first novel, Life and Other Contact Sports, in 2016.

We talk about what he learned in writing his business self-help books – about what he calls the “bad stuff” like redundancy, bullying and dealing with anger – and how that that helped him when he set out to write fiction.

John tells us about his approach to planning and how that compares when writing fiction and non-fiction.

John’s novel is set in the world of ice hockey, so we look at the challenges of writing about sport; about making the action come alive and the reaction of passionate sports fans to fictional depictions of their sport.

We also talk about how John has got his books out there and available for readers. He’s taken both the self-publishing route and has worked with a publisher too, so he has a good insight into the benefits and challenges of each approach.

John is very good company and one of life’s enthusiasts; with so much experience he is definitely someone aspiring writers can learn from.

If you want to find out more about John, you can access John’s Amazon author page here

I hope you enjoy this episode. If so: please leave a comment below or – even better – a review on iTunes.

These are the things that make a podcaster happy and it tells me I’m creating episodes you want to hear.

Happy listening – and happy writing.


Episode 2: Lucy McCarraher


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In this episode I have the great pleasure of speaking to Lucy McCarraher.

Lucy has a huge amount of experience in writing and publishing, starting her first publishing company whilst at university. She has been a book and magazine editor, a print journalist, a TV journalist, a writers’ agent, an editor for Methuen and has developed, written and edited TV and video series.

In 2011, Lucy co-founded Rethink Press with her business partner Joe Gregory. As Managing Editor, Lucy works with entrepreneurs and business leaders and helps get them into print. She also coaches and mentors writers and had a postgraduate diploma in teaching creative writing and literacy.

She is the author of ten books including (with Joe Gregory)  How to Write Your Book Without The Fuss and How to Write Fiction Without The Fuss. Lucy has also written three novels, Her first  – Blood and Water – was followed by Kindred Spirits and Mr Mikey’s Ladies.

Lucy has great experience and insight as both a publisher and a writer; with both fiction and non-fiction. We talk about the publisher versus self-publishing debate, how her experience as publisher influences her writing and how writers and publishers can best work together.

You can find out more about Rethink Press here and find Lucy’s Amazon author page here.

I hope you enjoy listening to Lucy as much as I enjoyed talking to her . Please let me know in the comments below or via Twitter and Facebook.

** NB: I sound a little bit watery in this recording as my audio equipment supplier gave me a mic that didn’t work so I had to use my basic laptop mic – but Lucy is so interesting and insightful it would have been a crime not to share this with you. So please bear with me: it’s a one-off in terms of sound quality **

Thanks for listening.


Episode 1: Martin Cathcart Froden


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In this episode I have the privilege of speaking to Martin Cathcart Froden.

Martin is a novelist and poet.  Originally from Sweden, he has lived in Canada, Israel, Argentina, almost Finland and London. He’s worked as a drummer, avocado picker, magazine editor and prison teacher.

In 2015 he won the Dundee International Book Prize with Devil take the
Hindmost (now published by Freight Books), and his story The Underwater Cathedral won the 2013 BBC Opening Lines competition and has been broadcast on Radio 4.

He is currently Poet in Residence at the National Trust Scotland and is in the middle of a doctorate in Creative Writing / Criminology / Architecture in Glasgow, where he lives with his wife and three young children.

Martin and I discuss his experiences as a first time novelist and of working with a publisher. We also talk about his approach to working with others when leading creative writing sessions and the role of the writer in taking creative writing out into the community.

Martin also tells me about his experiences as poet in residence and how he approaches his role.

You can find out more about Martin from his homepage where you can also hear The Underwater Cathedral.

You can also follow him on Twitter and can find Devil Take the Hindmost here.

I hope you enjoy this episode. Please let me know in the comments or via Twitter and Facebook.