Transcript of brief interview between Grace Sachs and Lesley Atherton 13/02/2019

G: My first question for you is a very simple one, and you must get sick of answering it. Why would anyone want to write? It doesn’t pay well unless you’re very famous, and it’s a lot of hard work. Why not get a ‘real’ job?

L: Hahaha! Have you transmogrified into the school careers adviser? Well, I’m in my early fifties so have had plenty of ‘real’ jobs that paid the bills. Writing is something I wanted to do from an early age.

G: Yeah, sorry for being facetious. I think I’m envious that you’re out there and doing it, and I haven’t done it yet. Probably never well. Too bone idle.

L: I was like that for years. Every time I saw someone else actually writing I felt one step away from the reality I wanted. I’d assist others in living their dreams, but was too busy working in up to four jobs to follow my own dreams. But I always said I’d do it when I retired. I’m quite a few years from retirement but came into a little money which enabled me to resign from other paid work and use my previous writing and publishing experience to get started on my own. And that’s where Scott Martin Productions was born. Scott Martin was my mum’s maiden name, and I’m deeply grateful to her for teaching me to read before I began school, and also to read music. She was a primary school deputy head, and a very hard worker and great role model, and she was rather good at correcting my written work too. But writing and reading were things that meant a lot to me from an early age. I remember writing a poem mid-way through high school about ‘Blackberry Picking’. My English teacher, Mrs Nash (Emma, I think) was so supportive. My report for that school term praised my use of language and said she thought was going to bloom into being a fine writer. You remember things like that. I still also remember the first line of the poem ‘Blackberry picking, sweet and sticky…; then there was something about the stains on the hand being like an open wound. I wish I still had that poem.

G: But most people who like writing at school or later, don’t actually make a career of it. How did you know that writing and publishing were the way to go for you?

L: I don’t suppose that anyone really knows the difference between dreams that should be fulfilled and those which are best to remain as dreams. Not until they actually achieve them, anyway. So you might as well just try to live those dreams, if you can. Provided the personal risk involved isn’t too great. If it works out, brilliant, and if it doesn’t, well at least you can go to your grave knowing you’ve tried.

G: And on that cheerful note…

L: Yes. Sorry. I don’t mean it in a negative sense. It’s more that we’re here for such a short time so we might as well try to follow our hearts!

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Lesley Atherton - Author

I'm an author of novels, short novels, and short stories, and have contributed to quite a few anthologies. I'm also Director of Scott Martin Productions, Publisher.