Interview with Jackie Carreira…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book please?
Sleeping Through War is my first published novel. It tells the stories of three women in different parts of the world, all within the month of May 1968. It’s a novel about ‘ordinary’ people living in an extra-ordinary time; the kind of people that don’t make the history books but whose stories deserving telling nevertheless.
I’ve been a playwright for 10 years and run an independent theatre company (QuirkHouse Theatre) with my actor husband. Before that I was a professional musician, travelling the world playing bass guitar with several indie and rock bands, and a part-time bookseller for many years. I’m also a crochet designer/teacher and feature writer for magazines. Some may call my working life ‘a bit random’ but I prefer to say I’m a renaissance woman!
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’m definitely a people watcher – and listener! I see people – strangers, friends, family – and imagine them in situations or pose them questions. What would they do? How would they cope? Why do they behave the way they do? My writing often begins with a character that I’m interested in enough to want to explore them.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Yes – sort of! All three women in the book are composites of women I met when I was growing up, both in London and Lisbon (I was born in England to Portuguese parents). Each character is probably four different people, but all of them were people that impressed me by their dignity and resilience.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
A name will pop into my head and then I check to make sure that I don’t know someone with that name. I don’t want anyone to think I’m writing about them – especially if I am!
Can you share your writing process with us in a nutshell?
I usually start with a character in a location, or sometimes with a question that I don’t have the answer to. I prefer to write in longhand with a pen and a pad (old school!) because I love the feel of that and I’m in no danger from running out of battery charge! After each chapter, I type what I’ve got into my laptop, making a few minor changes on the way, and continue like that, between pen and computer, until I have a first draft. By far my favourite writing places are coffee shops and railway stations.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
In no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Jose Saramago, Doris Lessing and Lewis Carroll. A bit of an eclectic collection. (I know you only asked for 5, but I have to add Tove Jansson and Neil Gaiman to the list too!)
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would meet Lewis Carroll and ask him who the Mad Hatter really was!
Were you a big reader as a child?
I grew up on a council estate in East London in a home where my parents didn’t have spare money for books. I didn’t learn to read until I was 6 years old, but shortly afterwards I was taken to our local library. I was filled with awe. I didn’t know that many books existed in the world, and I quickly made up for lost time thanks to a wonderfully encouraging librarian. A year later I had the reading age of a 14-year-old and was a confirmed book lover.
When did you start to write?
I can’t remember not writing. As soon as I knew how I would invent stories. I began writing seriously in 2004 when I started a Creative Writing degree. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and I’m proud to say I came out with a first-class degree.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
That’s a great question! I’m not sure I’d want to change another author’s work at all, but if I had to, I think I would stop Jane Eyre from marrying Mr Rochester. It would be far more interesting to find out how she got on as an older woman. “Reader, I didn’t marry him!”
Is there a book you wish you had written?
There are lots! If I had to pick one today it would be Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. But if you ask me tomorrow…
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
The Misfit Chronicles.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I would take the Book Thief to my local Waterstones in Bury St Edmunds with a fistful of book tokens. They have a great coffee shop there too.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on novels two and three at the same time. They are both quite different and one provides relief from the other when I get stuck.
Do you have a new release due?
I’m hoping to have novel number two published next year. But I have to finish writing it first!
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I’ve only had one publication day so far. I think I ate rather a lot of cake.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
You can visit my website, where I also have a blog, at http://www.jackiecarreira.co.uk or my book has its very own facebook page: @SleepingThroughWar where you can find news and updates.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Yes. Public libraries and school libraries are under threat right now from cuts in funding. These are essential public services, so please support them in any way you can. If it wasn’t for public libraries I’m sure I wouldn’t be a writer today, so a big THANK YOU to all the librarians out there. You are my heroes.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Jackie 🙂
Sleeping Through War
It is May 1968. Students are rioting, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, and war is raging in Vietnam. For three ordinary women in Lisbon, London and Washington life must go on as usual. For them, just to survive is an act of courage. How much has really changed in 50 years?
Author Bio –
Jackie Carreira is a writer, musician, designer, co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company, and award-winning playwright. She mostly grew up and went to school in Hackney, East London, but spent part of her early childhood with grandparents in Lisbon’s Old Quarter. Her colourful early life has greatly influenced this novel. Jackie now lives in leafy Suffolk with her actor husband, AJ Deane, two cats and too many books.
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Happy reading 🙂