Thursday, 17 April 2014

Guest Interview with Jeff Gardiner

I had the pleasure recently to chat with Tirgearr author Jeff Gardiner and ask him a bit about his writing. Below are some of the questions I asked him.

Mary Bradford: Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, do you still live there?
Jeff Gardiner: I was born in Jos, Nigeria, but left when I was young (my parents were missionaries out there). I’ve lived most of my life in the UK, mostly in South-West London. My teenage years were spent in Ealing, which is considered the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’. I now live in West Sussex. Other than writing and spending time with my children, I listen to a lot of rock music and watch films. I love films from every decade and culture.

MB: Have you a favourite author?
JG: Michael Moorcock is a big influence because he breaks down genre boundaries. He’s always considered to be a fantasy author, but his mainstream fiction such as ‘Mother London’, ‘Gloriana’ and the Col. Pyat sequence are really his finest achievements. My book about his works will be coming out later this year, entitled ‘The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock’. Another writer whose books excite me is Haruki Murakami.

MB: When did you start writing, are you a full-time writer?
JGAs a teenager, I wrote smug, self-obsessed poetry that I really should consider destroying, before someone else sees it. I won a fiction competition and had another story published in my early thirties, then a collection of my stories published (horror, romance, humour – an eclectic mix). My first novel, ‘Myopia’, is a finalist in The People’s Book Prize, which is exciting. I wish I was a fulltime writer, but I teach part-time. This leaves me one day a week to concentrate on my writing, which is great, but also very frustrating.

MB: Do you have a set time for writing? Are you a morning or evening writer?
JGI have children, so it’s a matter of working around them. Evenings work best for me because the kids get up early. I’ve realised how important it is to use every moment you have. Procrastination is your greatest enemy.

MB: Tell us a little about your latest work.
JG‘Treading On Dreams’ (Tirgearr Publishing) is a coming-of-age novel about obsession and unrequited love. Donny is a sensitive man, in love with Selena who is too perfect for him. He quickly learns that he’s going to have to toughen up if he wants to impress her. It’s the eternal question: how do you respond when someone doesn’t feel the same way about you? Do you give up?
Igboland’ (Crooked Cat Books) is set in Nigeria during the Biafran War. Lydia is a missionary’s wife who gets caught up in conflict and passion as she attempts to create her own identity, thousands of miles from her home in England.

MB: Do your books require much research?
JG‘Igboland’ required a great deal of research into Igbo culture and beliefs, which
are fascinating. The protagonist, Lydia, becomes inspired by two Igbos she gets to know – Grace, a victim of the war, and Kwemto, a local doctor. Igbo spiritual beliefs, known as Odinani, are very interesting. We in the west could learn a great deal from their profound view on life and the world around us.

MB: Where can we buy/see your work?
JG: Below are the links to my various author pages and sites for my books
Jeff’s Website:

MB: What an interesting life you have Jeff and your books sound wonderful. It was very good of you to give us some of your valuable writing time to do this interview, it is much appreciated. I hope you will come back again to keep us up to date with your work. 
JGThanks for inviting me over to you blog. All the best.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

B is for Blanket of Birthday Blessings

It was my birthday. It is a time to ponder the past and wonder at the future. I am sitting in a hotel foyer and there are strangers around me. I am in Co. Mayo, 3 hours journey from home.
Before Christmas 2013, I sent out a play for a competition, my first, it was shortlisted for the Claremorris Fringe Drama Festival 2014. It is exciting to see my words that I committed to paper come alive on stage. This is a new experience for me. The play is called Something About Her. The actors bring their own understanding to the story and to see their projection and my words married together is strange but delightful. 

But on the eve of my birthday I lay in bed and thought about the year past. I do not plan for the future, I don’t really worry about it, it is out of my control so let it be.
But the year past had so many blessings. No trip to hospital or to my GP for me, with my heart history a rarity indeed. My youngest daughter moved to Germany. I went to visit and saw the beautiful Christmas markets, a must go to for everyone. 

All my other children enjoy good health as does my extended family. My short stories continue to be published. I joined a mentoring group for playwrighting, which led me to being here tonight. I signed a contract for my first novel, My Husbands Sin, with Tirgearr Publishing in Ireland, a champagne moment. I attended christenings, weddings and other celebrations. 

Looking out the window, I grew sleepy and admired the navy darkness of a frosty night. The twinkling stars dotted the inky sky, all of them winking at me, my blanket of birthday blessings. I am thankful for my life.