For this ninth episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have N E Harvey – another member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know over the past year. Her biting British humor is a counterpoint to her quite compassionate heart. She is a complex and pleasant person to know, and her writing reflects that.
Give us a short introduction to you.
Hi! I’m Naomi, a British author from Buckinghamshire, England. I live with my fiancé and our ever-growing collection of books. When I am not holed up in my office at home writing and studying for a degree in English literature and creative writing, I can usually be found with my nose in a book or watching Netflix with my fiancé. I also love watching F1 and Rugby. I am a huge music lover and love to sing. My music tastes are eclectic with my playlists including some classical composers, as well as musical genres like Metal, Rock, Punk Rock, Indie, R N B, Hip Hop, Dance, Garage, and Pop.
How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I have only been writing professionally for about four years. My brother bought me a creative writing course online for my 29th birthday and it changed my life. Before that, I would regularly make up stories to entertain people but never kept them. I was the only girl with three brothers until I was 8 so I spent a lot of time on my own with just my imagination to keep me occupied.
In what genre(s) do you write?
I will dabble in just about everything if the story comes to me. However, the vast majority of my work to date would fit into the horror or fantasy genres. They are my favourite to read, too.
Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I used to be a total pantser, but I find myself planning my storylines more and more. I am not rigid with my planning, however, I can plan something and then when I start writing, find the story moving in a different direction. If just letting it flow is working I just keep going. If I like the new direction but feel the need to have some structure, I will stop and re-plan in the new direction.
Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
It’s quite a long list. My main influences and inspirations come from Anne Rice, Steven King, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and Terry Patchett.
Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I write poetry. I am not as experienced with it as prose, but I am growing more confident in that area. I don’t have the musical know-how to write songs, but I would love to get involved with lyricist work at some point. I have a blog that I have been neglecting terribly, where I sometimes write articles about writing or about films I have seen. I occasionally support my friends with their business websites by content editing and copywriting for them.
How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Quite significantly. I think it’s a given with any author that their experiences will shape their writing. I lost my dad when I was 20 and that sense of loss is evident in a lot of what I write. I am also a feminist which definitely affects how I write my female characters and the kinds of conflict I like to explore in my work.
What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
It’s not a scene, but the piece of my writing that moved me the most has to be the obituary poem that I wrote when my Nan passed away two years ago. It was a poem full of memories which stirred such bittersweet feelings of love and loss for the magnificent matriarch of my mother’s side of the family. I am glad that I was able to honour my nan in a way that resonated so deeply not only with myself but with my whole family.
Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes, but it is important to have several so that you can find patterns in feedback and not be tempted to change things because it didn’t resonate with just one person.
What inspires your story ideas?
Life, feelings, emotions, and fears in particular. There is nothing that can make you feel more alive than exploring those things you fear the most.
Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I belong to the Scribes Circle and I am working on eligibility to the Horror Writers Association. I just need the anthology I have been published in to make me eligible. It’s a nail-biting wait!
Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
I don’t really like to have a large number of pieces on the go at the same time. As I work full time and study part-time, I don’t have much time left over for many writing projects. I am working on a short story currently for an anthology themed around rascals. My story is about an illegitimate daughter of a millionaire who doesn’t want anything to do with her but uses her to improve his image. She forges a famous missing piece of art and sells it on the black market to her father’s protégé.
Have you been published?
I have a short story published in an anthology called ‘Monsters’, published by Bushmead Publishing. You can find it on amazon.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I can’t share everything in one go. Where is the mystery in that?
Thanks, Naomi, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!