Dawn O'Porter is a novelist, columnist, broadcaster and designer. Her new novel The Cows is published today, so we caught up with her to talk about books, writing and what she wants us to know about her.
Where do you write? Do you have any writing habits you could share?
It’s a bit of a mess right now. Sometimes at the dining table, sometimes in our office, sometimes on the bed, sometimes in a café. I’m quite pregnant so can’t sit in the same position for too long, so I move around a lot. My ideal space is a quiet place but with people in it, like a library. I think it’s good to have moments of solitude, but also good to get out into the world. Nothing beats writers block like people watching.
What single piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Have trust in what you want to say. Don’t aspire to be anyone else, or copy styles. Just do our own thing. The trailblazers are radical thinkers who pave their own way…just write, don’t worry about trying to be anyone or anything. Just write down what you have to say.
You're stranded on a desert island - you have 1 book with you, which book is it & why?
It would be a notebook. Because being stuck somewhere without one would be hell on earth for me.
What's the first book you remember reading?
Grimm Fairy Tales. A huge book of wild stories that my granddad used to read me and my sister at night. After he died I tried to read it but it wasn’t so fun on my own.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote & if so what was it about?
Yes. My sister read it out at my wedding. It was about Dot Cotton and how she dealt with an alien invasion in Albert Square. Maybe my finest piece of work to date,
What do you most want your readers to know about you?
I think the fact I can’t bring myself to answer this question probably says something about me. I don’t know if I want/need them to know anything about me as an author. I just want them to have an honest experience with my work. I put messages into my books, I want to encourage women to take control of their own lives. I want my readers to know that I consider their experience when I am writing. I skim over boring details and cut to the chase, I want my readers to go through something big when they read my books. I’d like to think they feel that. But that’s it really. I’m reasonably open as a person but there isn’t anything I need people to know.
What are you reading at the moment?
A non-fiction book about rebel women throughout history. I don’t read much non-fiction but I love women who kick arse. The last fiction I read was Shappi Khorsanfi Nina is not OK. I LOVED it.