Judy Darley is a fiction writer, journalist and communications manager from Bristol. She was lucky enough to spend much of her childhood up trees with her nose in a book or scribbling her own stories. Her fiction has been described as ‘shimmeringly strange’, possibly because she can’t stop writing about the infinite peculiarities of the human mind.
Judy wrote fiction from a young age but began her working life by gaining a BA Hons in Journalism. She soon discovered she loves working with any form or discipline of the written word, and now works in Communications Management and Community Management, alongside her fiction and journalistic writing. She enjoys interviewing creative people and finding out what drives them. In the same way, she interviews her fictional characters to uncover their anxieties and motivations. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in the UK, US, New Zealand, Canada and India. She is the author of three fiction collections: The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain (Reflex Press), Sky Light Rain (Valley Press) and Remember Me to the Bees (Tangent Books).
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: I remember my mum reading me the Meg and Mog books by Helen Nicoll, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. My mum had, and still has, a friend called Meg who rode a bicycle while wearing a headscarf. In my mind she looked exactly like Meg, the witch in the book, in a very lovely way. Sadly, I never got to meet Mog.
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: My mum-in-law bought me a pair of mountain-themed earrings to celebrate my most recent short fiction collection The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain. They’re silver discs stamped with outlines of mountains and trees. When I wear them, I feel like I’m playing the role of Writer with a capital ‘W’.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: I love Alice Oswald’s poetry and can dip in and out of it endlessly. My favourite collections by Oswald are Falling Awake and Dart. Emily Hinshelwood’s On Becoming A Fish is another that inspires me.
Q: If you could teleport yourself anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why?
A: Everywhere I’ve never been, including outer space and the ocean’s depths (providing teleportation devices come with breathing equipment).
In rain, sunshine, mist and high winds we tottered through the fields as fast as Elspeth’s little legs and my dodgy knees allowed. Both of us breathless, we rushed up the hill – more of a hillock really – that Elspeth had named The Big Mountain. The vista from the top encompassed the sweep of …