I was born and raised in a small town called Ormskirk in Lancashire. My childhood was slightly backwards compared to a lot of my school-friends, as my dad lost his eyesight when I was around seven-years-old. This meant that my brother and I spent more time taking care of him than he did taking care of us. It wasn’t bad though. Due to the fact that my mum often spending long evenings at work, and my dad was unable to do very much as he adjusted to his new condition, I was left with plenty of time to sink into reading and writing. I’ve essentially been living with my head in the clouds ever since, and seeing as I’m about to start my MA in Writing this autumn at Warwick University, I have no plans to join the real world any time soon.
What inspired you to write ‘Eiko’?
I suppose I have to admit to myself that in many ways, Eiko is about my experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s an experience I’d love to forget, but undoubtedly one that will haunt me and many fellow writers for the rest of our lives. But then came the image of a woman standing on a cliff-edge staring out to sea, a bird flying across the horizon. From the beginning, I knew the woman wasn’t human, and I knew the bird was an unusual sight in the world she inhabited. And thus, I had the setting for a story; a world where humans had gone extinct and there was nothing left but the machines they had built to serve them. This sci-fi setting seemed like the perfect place to wrestle with the idea of identity and purpose being entirely robbed by circumstance, a phenomena I still find myself reconciling with despite the pandemic now becoming a thing of the past.
Could you give us an insight into your writing process?
My writing process is incredibly sporadic and very un-glamorous. Most of it takes place in bed, still in my pyjamas, feet tucked under the quilt and my back supported by what is probably an unhealthy amount of pillows. I’m in the very fortunate position of having creative writing be my studies, so for the past three years, my working day has consisted of either brainstorming something new or desperately trying to finish an ongoing project. I am, however, about to start part-time work, so it seems that I will have to start implementing some dreaded structure into my writing life (though I doubt I will ever leave the bed).
What do you consider to be the most enjoyable or important aspect of science fiction or fantasy, and why?
As somebody who has spent most of their life consuming science-fiction and fantasy, the highlights of the genre are difficult to narrow down. There’s just so many! I firmly believe that SFF has the power to provide pretty much anything one could want from a story. One moment you’re escaping into fantastical worlds hidden inside household furniture, the next you’re contemplating the existential fear of the passage of time. I think this is my favourite aspect of science fiction and fantasy; the fact that it’s layered, and that a reader can stop at any layer they choose. If they wish to look no further than the magic and the alien creatures, and simply wish to be somewhere else for a while, that’s absolutely fine, they’ll get a great story out of it. But if they wish to look deeper, if they wish to be challenged and face somebody else’s truth of the world, that’s also possible.