Lyndsay Wheble writes fiction and narrative non-fiction and has been published in Sein und Werden, Danse Macabre, The Bicycle Review, Who We Are Now, Side B Magazine, amongst others, and long-listed in the Granta-sponsored Festival of Garden Literature Memoir Competition in June 2013. By day she is the Development and Research Officer in an arts commissioning organisation and is currently working on her first novel.
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I have it on good authority that I am the only one who ever goes into my local café and orders the marshmallow tea. Apparently, they’re pretty much just stocking it for me at this point, which I find oddly entertaining, and nice.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
In January 2013, I had a short story entitled ‘Poinsettias’ published in Danse Macabre, an online literary magazine, and thereafter received an email from a lovely man named Charles that said,
‘I follow a lot of literary journals, and every once in a while I read a story that is so well written I believe I must tell the author how I feel…Your story ‘Poinsettias’, in Danse Macabre 66, is both beautifully written and very moving. It’s really a wonderful exploration of the theme of artistic endeavour, and the pain that comes from the incomprehension of art, which is something that nearly everyone in a creative field has experienced. The freshness and power that you give to this theme makes your story an instant classic in my opinion.’
Needless to say, that review was promptly printed out and stuck above my desk. I get shivers typing it out even now, particularly because his comments about the difficulty of artistic endeavour mean that the story conveyed exactly how I felt, and exactly what I wanted to say. You can read ‘Poinsettias’ here.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
The greatest challenge with regards to the novel I’m working on at present, entitled ‘The Barometer’ (working title), is that the ambition and scope of it means that I am working right at the edge of my technical and creative capabilities. On a positive note, this means that, as I write and write, each edit is exponentially better than the last. It also means, however, that I have to remain faithful to the idea that I will one day produce a final draft that feels like the worthy culmination of my efforts, and is a worthy finished piece.
So, in fact, the biggest challenge might not be the technical and creative challenge at all: it might be holding onto faith in your work, and your capabilities. And I imagine that always remains the same, so maybe it’s good that I’m getting comfortable with the idea of it.
Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?
It’s not strictly a writer’s resource per se, but at the end of a difficult writing day, or a difficult writing week, nothing makes me laugh, or reminds me why I am angling my entire existence towards the beautiful altar of literature, so much as reading Mallory Ortberg’s work on The Toast: particularly the How to Tell What Novel You’re In series. The Toast plays host to a hilarious community of people devoted, and deeply entertained by, the written word, therefore making it an excellent hang outs for writers (particularly if you’ve got a happy handle on feminist thought).
Finding Lyndsay Wheble