Loree Westron is the author of Missing Words a Fairlight Moderns novella publishing on 5th August 2021. This novella is a heart-warming journey about self-discovery, the power of family ties, and the strength needed to face whatever life throws your way. Read this interview to find out what inspired this novella.
How did you start writing?
I started out as a travel writer, and published a number of pieces in newspapers and travel magazines. I always wanted to write fiction, but it was a long time before I felt I had the necessary skills. Travelling, and writing about unfamiliar places, though, helped me to see my own world in new ways – which I think is essential for any writer.
Did you always want to be a writer? Yes, I think I did. Certainly from the age of eight or nine. I wanted to be a ballet dancer and a concert violinist, too, but I wasn’t good enough at those things and didn’t have the discipline to improve. Some people are multi-talented but I knew I had to specialise if I was going to do something really well. I started writing seriously when I was about fifteen.
If you could describe Missing Words in one word what would it be?
Missing Words is set against the backdrop of the strikes of the 1980s. Why did you choose this period in particular? The story had to be set before the advent of email and cheap international phone calls, so I set it around the time I first came to the UK. The miners’ strikes dominated the news at the time, and the country was going through a lot of political and social changes. The tensions of the time seemed to reflect some of the challenges Jenny faced, both at home and at work.
What inspired you to write Missing Words?
I worked in the Royal Mail sorting office here in Portsmouth for a couple of years and every now and then I’d come across a letter with ‘insufficient address’ stamped across the envelope. This was during a time when people still wrote proper letters, and I knew some of those envelopes contained important news that would never be delivered.
What do you think makes a good novella?
For me, it’s about the character and their inner journey. In this respect, a novella is more akin to a short story than a novel. It has the short story’s intensity of focus, but the length allows it to delve more deeply into the main character’s psychology.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from writing Missing Words?
That I was right not to give up.
What’s your favourite book and who is your favourite author?
I like books that challenge me and that use language in surprising ways. Two of my favourites are Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. If I had to choose one author as my ‘favourite’, it would probably be Hemingway. I still have a lot to learn from him.
Do you have a writer’s habit that helps you ‘get in the zone’?
No, but I wish I did.
Do you have a writing schedule?
I wake up about six, make a pot of coffee, and sit down to write for a couple of hours before doing anything else. That’s the best time of day for me – when everything is quiet and my head is still clear.
Where do you tend to write?
I have an office in my flat, with a window overlooking the seafront and the Isle of Wight. I don’t have the concentration for writing in cafes. I need to be able to control my environment.
What do you hope people take away from reading your book?
There are definitely things in the story that I hope readers pick up on and find meaningful, but I don’t think that’s a question I should answer.
What’s a piece of advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Be curious about the world around you. Ask questions and go exploring. Look beyond the surface of things, at the little details that other people don’t notice.
Read more about Missing Words here.
You can find out more about Loree Westron here.
Or visit Loree’s blog here.