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Greg McQueen Interview

Posted on 11 February 2010. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Greg McQueen, creator of 100 Stories for Haiti

Tell us about you and your writing background

Okay, let me get this out of the way. My dad was Geoff McQueen, creator of the been-on-the-telly-for-a-million-years cop show, The Bill. I say "was" because sadly he died about 16 years ago. The fact that The Bill is still running really is a testament to his talent. He taught me a lot about the realities of writing growing up. Things that keep me sane.

I've written a bit for the telly. I did some episodes of a children's sci-fi series a few years ago, and I have a screenplay about to make the leap from paper to screen here in Denmark. It's weird, because I wrote the screenplay in English, and the producers had it translated to Danish. They asked me to read the Danish version. Haven't done it yet. My Danish is rubbish. I am also worried about what's been lost in translation, so to speak. But that's film ... The writer is a small (very small) part of the process. Besides, them telling me to read it makes it feel like homework, or something ... I was never good with homework.

I started writing fiction about 3 years ago. I'd always wanted write a novel, but never had the confidence to do it. I started writing my first novel about a month after the birth of our daughter. Something about becoming a dad changed me, profoundly. I *had* to do it. It took me a year. Then I threw it in the drawer as soon as I was done. I learned a lot from the first novel, but knew it was rubbish.

For my second novel, Roadkill, I decided it was time to stop mucking about. I signed up for a mentoring scheme with Louise Jordan at the Writers' Advice Centre. I am due to finish the novel as soon as the 100 Stories project is done. In fact, I was due to write the last 10,000 words of the novel at the time of starting 100 Stories ... I started 100 Stories as a side project. But it took off so quickly that I've had to put my own novel aside until 100 Stories is on shelves.

I won't be throwing Roadkill in the drawer when it's done. I can feel that something clicked after finishing the first novel ... Writing fiction started to make a lot more sense.

Tell us all about the 100 Stories

We have a huge range of stories in the anthology. The high quality of all the submissions really surprised me. Some of the stories are flash fiction, others could easily grace the pages of a "woman's magazine", while others are deeper, more poetic, more "literary". We also have a couple of "children's stories". I put those in quotes because I set out to produce a book that anyone could pick up and enjoy, and I that's exactly what we've created.

How did you choose writers initially- or did they choose you?

It was open submissions. Many of the writers added stuff about who they are and where they've been published before. Honestly, I didn't read any of it. It was about the stories. We had a team of about 20 voluntary readers, and I posted the stories into a private web forum for the readers to vote on, minus all the "I've done this and I've done that," guff. I wanted it to be a level field as much as possible. It really was about the stories.

The anthology has stories from a lot of published writers, some with several books out, and it also has stories from writers never published before. It's one of the things I really love about the anthology.

Did you aim for specific kinds of stories/themes?

We started out wanting "feel good" stories. The kind of stories that make you smile at strangers, or tell grumpy old blokes that life really ain't that bad. But what we've ended up with is a wide range of stories, some sad, some 'appy, some a little tragic.

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

optimist at 21:23 on 12 February 2010  Report this post
Congratulations on a great initiative, Greg. I'm honoured to be part of this project.

I think the 'Youth Edition' is another brilliant idea.

I also think that the distinction between what teens/children 'want' to read and what parents/educators think they 'should' read is crucial to developing a love of reading and books.

Account Closed at 12:46 on 13 February 2010  Report this post
This is a great idea. Congratulations and best of luck with the book.


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