Writer, one half of O&S, editor, honoury German without the innate punctuality and Sincere Form of Flattery‘s sixth author – meet Olivia Hambrett. You can call her Liv.
Describe yourself in three sentences. Each sentence can only contain six words. One of these sentences must contain alliteration.
Prone to being rather nasally sensitive.
Possessed of a truly shocking memory.
Peculiarly prone to preferring particular p-words. (P-words is totally one word, hyphenated. And this is all horribly inaccurate as some of my most hated words in the English language begin with P).
What in God’s name made you want to be a writer?
The intense desire to become intimately acquainted with rejection, instability and uncertainty.
Literary protagonist you would most like to …
Have a beer with: Adrian Mole.
Share a bed with: Zeus. Such repulsive power.
Travel with: Ronald Weasley (originally I had him in my bed, but felt that may have been a bit pervy) and Mitchell Grammaticus from The Marriage Plot.
Say ‘I love you’ to: Austen’s Mark Darcy, just to see what he’d do. Probably blush.
Name a pet from literary history you would have liked to call your own.
Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web.
What is the smartest thing anyone has ever said to you about being a writer?
It was when I was in my early, early twenties, and still afraid to vocalise that I wanted ‘be a writer’ for fear of setting myself up for failure (I am well past that fear now) and what my poor parents would say. In an email to a friend of mine, I think I was clumsily hedging around calling myself a writer through various self deprecating phrases and my friend wrote back and said, ‘Let me ask you a question. Do you write? Then you are a writer.’ I stopped clumsily hedging after that.
And I am sure someone, somewhere has said ‘get out while you can! GET OUT!’
What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about being a writer?
I couldn’t say specifically, but it would have had to have included the word ‘easy’ or the implication that it’s a pipe-dream and I should probably pursue something else. Or the suggestion that if publishing success doesn’t come easy, perhaps this whole writing thing just wasn’t meant to be. Or predicated on the basic assumption that writing is something like law or accounting – a financially driven vocation you choose – as opposed to a compulsion you have and you hold, till death do you part.
Where is your favourite place to write?
In bed, just as I am drifting off to sleep. The most marvellous lines always prance into my head at the precise instant my body is shutting down. Perhaps not my favourite place, but seemingly the most productive.
What will be on your tombstone?
She loved to swing the grammar hammer.
Favourite literary technique?
I love me some alliteration and, to echo Antonia’s sentiment, a touch of cunning repetition. While we’re talking literary techniques, onomatopoeic words often make me quite nauseous.
This changes daily. Adjectives and indeed adverbs are things I get wildly passionate about. Currently ‘wild’ is floating my boat, as is ‘mild’ and their adverb brethren. I also have a great fondness for unexpected adjectives, ones that you wouldn’t ordinarily partner with a specific noun, but end up creating a wildly successful marriage with said noun.
What one piece of advice can you share with other writers?
Do it because you love it. No other reason is, ultimately, good enough.
What is your writing motto?
You can’t edit a blank page.
And this rather inelegant one: write through the shit. One could also say ‘run the tap until the water goes clear.’