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Skippoo Interview

Posted on 17 September 2015. © Copyright 2004-2017 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Catherine O`Mahony about her writing and what she's learned: "I think that learning how to take feedback is possibly as important as the writing itself."

Tell us about your writing background- what youíve written, what youíre currently writing

Writing has been a key thing in my life for as long as I can remember. Itís often how I make sense of things and get back in touch with myself. Iíve kept a journal of some kind since I was fifteen. I used to rush home eagerly whenever I got creative writing homework at school. I was a music journalist for a while from my late teens to early twenties. I wrote a lot of songs when I was young too. After a degree in English, I did a part-time MA in creative writing at Lancaster University. I wrote my first novel for my MA, but in retrospect, Iím not sure what it was about! However, a few people commented I should try writing for teens, which led to my second novel. I wrote this with the help of lots of lovely WriteWords members. That got me an agent (Eve White), although we didnít manage to get a publishing deal. I wrote another teenage novel after that, which took me a stupidly long time to writeómainly because of writerís block. My agent wasnít keen, but I understood her point, really, and then started my current effort. Itís called Absent and Iím posting chapters on WriteWords for feedback now! Hereís a one sentence summary: ĎEmma is sick of boys using her, until Scott appears to see her differently Ė but Scott is not only older and married; heís also her school attendance officer.í


Other work besides writing; ie. Editing, dramaturgy, tutoring, and how it works/worked for/against your own writing

I work with young peopleóhelping them decide what to do with their lives. Obviously, thatís so useful for the teenage fiction. It helps me keep up with the issues theyíre dealing with and also (now Iím getting older and less cool), the slang theyíre using. More recently, I trained to become a yoga teacher. I think that complements the writing well too as itís great to get away from the computer and do something different and more active. Plus anything that calms the mind helps creativity

Whatís the worst thing about writing?


Lots of time at a desk/in front of a computer. The more I learn about anatomy and movement as a yoga teacher, the more I realise how bad our cultureís emphasis on sitting is! Recently, I got rid of my sitting desk from my flat altogether. Iím now alternating between writing standing up (Iím standing right now) and writing whilst sitting on a meditation cushion with a laptop tray (the cushion tilts your pelvis at a better angle, keeping the natural curves of the spine and enabling you to sit straighter naturally). Iím also experimenting with dictation software, so I can write whilst moving around. That was amusing as I let the dictation software scan my creative writing folder to familiarise itself with my vocabulary. All the new words it added were swearwords. I am a bit of a potty-mouthed writer!



And the best?

I just love shaping words. Like most artists, I love those moments where you feel really inspired and lost in what youíre doing. And also, itís great when someone tells you theyíve been moved in some way by something youíve written.



A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.






Comments by other Members



TassieDevil at 12:16 on 17 September 2015  Report this post
I shall eagerly read this in the next few days Skippoo.

Jennifer1976 at 13:01 on 17 September 2015  Report this post
Great interview, Catherine! Really interesting to hear about your background and how you get your ideas. Good luck with your current book. All the best, Jenny

Pen and Ink at 14:06 on 17 September 2015  Report this post
Lovely interview, Catherine.

TassieDevil at 22:41 on 17 September 2015  Report this post
Enjoyed finding out more about you, Skippoo. I especially like your comment about making young people feel better about themselves. You have a gift for writing the ideal stories for young adults. I was also pleased to see you had already fathomed out the secret of not forcing your writing, a fact that took me some time to come to terms with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

SusieL at 00:15 on 27 September 2015  Report this post
Lovely to read about your writing life, Catherine. Interesting to read that you like to write standing up - do you have a desk when you do this? (I'm curious as my hubby has suggested we get an adjustable desk - too much time spent sitting down!)

Skippoo at 20:14 on 27 January 2016  Report this post
Thanks for comments, all. I keep forgetting I did this and haven't checked comments much! SusieL, I bought a bookshelf that's the right size for standing and fitting my laptop on. That was a pretty cheap solution. :-) Cath


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