Author Della Galton explains why she’s drawn to write about controversial subjects, and shares the motivation behind her latest novel ‘Ice and a Slice’
I’ve often wondered how we choose what we write. Do we choose to write short stories or novels because we love them, or do we just drift into the form? And what about the subject matter? Why do we choose that?
The first short story I ever had published was called Second Chance, and it was published in a teenage confession magazine called Loving (I wish that magazine was still around, it was excellent).
Second Chance was set in a doctor’s surgery, and it was all about a teenager who was planning to have a termination – blimey, I don’t think I’d sell that story now – it’s quite a controversial issue, even today. But then I’ve always liked writing about controversial issues. I don’t have a copy of Second Chance any more but I can remember the last line, which went something like this:
Throughout her life she would give her baby many second chances, but none of them would be as important as the one she was giving him now…
The first novel I ever wrote was called Prisoners. It was about a woman who works in a pet shop and falls in love with someone she shouldn’t (her married boss). There are a few animal characters and they have a few nights out (the people, not the animals) and in the end the couple get it together.
If this sounds like an immense muddle, then that’s because it was. I’d had four or five short stories published when I wrote Prisoners. I thought writing a novel was simply a matter of writing 70,000 words.
Moving swiftly on, my first published novel, Passing Shadows, was about a woman who works in an animal sanctuary and falls in love with someone she shouldn’t (the father of her best friend’s child.) There are a few animal characters and they have a few nights out (the people, not the animals) and in the end the couple get it together.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? So why did this novel work and Prisoners not work? Well, partly because I knew a bit more about what I was doing. I was passionate about the main characters, Maggie and Finn. Also, this novel had some strong themes, friendship and betrayal being two of them.
My latest novel, Ice and a Slice, also has some strong themes. It’s about friendship, beating the odds, and love.
It’s also about alcoholism, which is a theme I’ve explored in short stories too, but I wanted to take it further and the only way to do this was to write a novel.
The main character in Ice and a Slice, is called SJ, and she drinks too much – although she would argue until she was blue in the face about that! And if you don’t believe me, then do check out her Facebook page here or her Twitter account here, where she is surprisingly active!
So, why did I write about alcoholism? Well, as I said earlier I’m big on issues. I like writing about things that matter, and alcoholism is a subject very close to my heart. Many of my family suffer from it. Some of them are in recovery and some of them are not. And some have died needless premature deaths.
An alcoholic is not someone, as I once thought, who drinks meths on a park bench. Alcoholism is not a moral issue for weak minded people – it’s a disease that can affect anyone – it can strike doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers, vicars, secretaries, taxi drivers, anyone. It’s a disease of our time.
So, yes I feel passionate about alcoholism and that’s why I wrote Ice and a Slice. SJ – or Sarah-Jane Crosse to give her full name – is deeply flawed, but I love her to bits. I think she’s probably the most three dimensional character I’ve ever created. Hence, she has her own social media pages. Do check them out.
You’ll have more luck getting a sensible answer from her when she’s sober – so mornings are good!
And if you like what you see, do take a look at Ice and a Slice too – you can read a free sample or buy it for less than a glass of Chardonnay 🙂
Thanks for reading.
Della Galton x
Della Galton is a freelance writer and tutor. She is best known for her short stories, and sells in the region of 80 short stories a year to magazines both in the UK and abroad. She is a popular speaker at writing conventions around the UK and is also the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum. Her third full length novel ‘Ice and a Slice’ is currently available for all kindle enabled smart phones and e-readers from amazon (.co.uk | .com) and will be available in paperback shortly.
To find out more about Della Galton visit her website, LIKE her facebook page or follow her on Twitter.
4 thoughts on “Things That Matter : Guest Post by Della Galton”
Hi Della, well done for writing about controversial issues, I think that’s really important and takes courage.
Also your question about why we choose what we write really resonates with me. I’ve started by writing novels (both unfinished so far), because I thought that’s what one should do if they like creative writing. But now I’ve realised that I much prefer my blog writing and prefer writing about personal development and my own experiences, although it’s harder for me to share my true experiences publicly (and I don’t always manage), rather than channeling them through characters in my novel, which sometimes as writer you can hide behind.
With all the possibilities out there it’s great for writers to be able to pick whichever medium they love the most or take advantage of all of them!
Hi Maia, thanks for your comments. Interesting what you said about blog writing, maybe it’s because it’s more immediate and somehow more intimate to write a blog than a novel – we can interact with our readers quickly and easily. I love blog writing too. Good luck with yours. I will go and take a look.
I find blog writing a chore, and social media so time consuming. The trouble is, it’s expected by publishers these days, so you have to do it. And a very interesting subject to tackle, Della. A recent review of one of mine suggests that my main character has a drink problem, which could be true!
Thanks Lesley. Maybe your character could get together with my character. What a party they would have! Your comment much appreciated. And hope all is good with you 🙂