Alys Einion is a Professor of midwifery, LGBT champion, and author. Here, she talks about what inspires her writing.
I love having the right place to write, either a good coffee shop with a view, or my lovely desk in my study, or out in the van with the wild weather raging around me. Writing can be exhausting but ultimately, it energises me as it makes me feel closer to my true self.
I have no formula when writing, I just make sure my characters change or evolve at some point. And I don’t adhere to convention in my writing, for example, in my first book Inshallah, one of the characters is largely unlikeable at the beginning.
Also, both of the books I’ve written, Inshallah and its sequel, Ash don’t have traditional happy endings – the characters’ stories don’t end tidily. Because of this, Inshallah demanded a sequel, at least, my readers asked for one!
I was seven when I realised that I loved reading more than anything else. Through books I could be someone else for a while, and the stories of others who overcame challenges and realised their goals helped me to believe in myself. When I read, I became Jo March, Laura Ingalls Wilder, George of the famous five, Frodo Baggins…I knew myself as a hero before I ever knew what a hero really was, all through the power of words.
I was about 13 when I fully realised that I had the power within me to write my own story, and I also realised for the first time that my vision of myself and my life would always need commitment, persistence, and self-love, because the world is a cruel place and there are always people waiting to cut you down or make you feel less than.
With my academic commitments, I don’t have all the time in the world to write fiction, and when I am researching a book, it can take a lot of time. I am working on a novel at the moment which requires a huge amount of historical research and that is something I have to commit to. A lot of the time, my day job and writing complement eachother though; even though my teaching is in midwifery, health, nursing and research, there are crossovers. And much of my research focuses on narratives, language and so-on, so the two have married together very well.
What advice would I give to aspiring authors? Write. Don’t let anyone or anything put you off. Figure out what makes you tick, what you really love to write about and don’t be afraid of rejection.
Finally, I agree with the old adage, ‘write what you know’. Whatever you are writing about, a part of your experience has something to add to it. The story and the characters come from you. No one can change that or take it away from you.