I wrote my first novel aged eight and my second novel aged fifty-eight
I wrote my first ‘novel’ at 8. It consisted of handwritten pieces of paper stapled together into a book. It was a story about a deer fawn in the highlands of Scotland and had an unhappy ending (Bambi was a big inspiration!) I won a national short story competition when I was 9 years old and went on to read English Lit at University determined to be a writer. But then ‘real life’ intervened (marriage, two children, a successful career in Industry and Academia) and I never wrote a word of fiction for the next fifty years. Since semi retiring from work, I have written three novels. My second novel (An Obstinate Vanity) was published in 2016. Small Change is published on May 22nd 2018. (The first one was usueful as a rehearsal but will never see the light of day!)
I am a reading monster
It’s often assumed writers are too busy writing to have time to read but for me, the opposite is true. I read a lot! As many as two books a week, sometimes more. I find reading helps keep me in the right creative mindset. I like a wide variety of genres. Here are two of my recent favourites.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is sensational. It tells the story of a Starr, a young black girl in LA and her struggle for justice for her friend who was gunned down and killed. It’s bright, funny and powerful.
As I lay Dying by William Faulkner. An American classic that I re-read recently. It’s a powerful story of a dysfunctional family burying their mother. It’s a masterclass in writing from different points of view.
I owe my daily motivation to my dog
I am the proud owner of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever called Brodie. Every morning, we go for a long walk in the beautiful countryside around my home. It’s a great way to prepare for writing – being inspired by nature clears my mind and makes me feel happy and optimistic about the day ahead.
I prefer to write rather than write about writing.
I love writing - allowing my imagination free reign, seeing and feeling the story and characters emerge is an almost magical process. The worst part is doing things like this! I feel like a hermit crab that’s been prised out my shell talking about myself and my work. I would prefer to let my writing speak for itself and for me to be allowed to stay in my shell!
Ordinary people lead extraordinary lives
All my novels so far have been about ‘ordinary’ people. In my experience, there’s no such thing as ‘ordinary’ - most people have remarkable stories to tell and most families have enough dramatic possibilities for a dozen novels!
I am never short of ideas
I am brim-full of ideas. It’s like the universe is continually offering me inspiration for my next story. I see a man on the train reading a text on his phone and he seems upset. I notice he’s bitten his fingernails to the quick. Before I know it, in my head, I’ve created a back story about him, his life and what he’s going to do next. I always carry a journal with me and I scribble down the best ideas. It’s great fun but sometimes hard to switch it off!
My Doctorate Degree gave me the confidence that I could write a novel
In my professional life, I worked with companies and their leaders to improve the culture in their companies so that people could achieve their best. I studied for a Doctoral Degree, researching the reasons why modern companies find this so difficult. Writing an academic thesis turned out to be a great confidence booster for my writing. I thought if I can write 70,000 words on an academic subject, I can write a fictional novel!
All my characters start with me
Flaubert was once asked where the character Madame Bovary came from? He replied ‘c’est moi.’ (It’s me) I understand what he means, as all my characters have a bit of me in them. Even the bad guys! Delving into the ‘dark corners’ of my mind can feel a bit scary but the character soon takes over and becomes a separate person. It feels a bit like I’m a sourdough starter – giving my characters an initial boost from my inner world, so that they can grow and develop in their own unique and often startling ways.
Scotland is my inspiration
I was born in Glasgow and lived in many parts of Scotland before moving to London in my mid thirties. The country, the people and the culture are a constant source of inspiration to me. My debut novel (An Obstinate Vanity) is based in Skye – surely one of the most beautiful places on Earth. My current novel (Small Change) is based in Glasgow. Glasgow is a fascinating city – it’s so full of contradictions. It was voted the friendliest city on the Planet by Rough Guide whilst having some of the highest levels of poverty and violent crime in Europe. Small Change tells the story of Izzy Campbell and the drama within her family is a microcosm of the wider issues within the city - alcoholism, sectarianism and political independence.
I have started writing my next novel
It is a murder mystery/ psychological thriller with a sprinkling of the supernatural.
About the author: Born and raised in Glasgow Keddie Hughes has worked for over thirty years in executive coaching, leadership development, organisation consulting and change management in global organisations such as Vodafone, Ericsson, BP, Mars and British Airways. In 2012 she completed the Faber Academy writing course and later enjoyed writing for eighteen months under the mentorship of poet and author Jill Dawson. Today Keddie lives in Buckinghamshire where she dedicates as much time as she can to writing. Her first novel, An Obstinate Vanity was published in 2016 (CreateSpace). Small Change by Keddie Hughes (published by Spiffing Covers 22nd May in paperback and ebook ) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.