Published: 29/08/2012 19:12 - Updated: 29/08/2012 19:39

Twitter began new chapter for writer Kirsty

Written byby Margaret Chrystall

WRITERS in the future will probably be a lot like Kirsty Logan – more than happy with the idea of ebooks.

But Kirsty revealed that like most writers down the ages, she finds it easy to be distracted from her work.

Talking a few days before her visit to Nairn Book and Arts Festival, Kirsty said: "Writing’s the first thing I do in the morning after a cup of coffee.

"It’s important for me to get up and sit down in front of my laptop – but I have to try and resist the urge to read my emails!" she laughed.

 

MORE ABOUT KIRSTY ... Kirsty Logan has had her short stories published in around 80 anthologies and literary magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 2009 she graduated from Glasgow University’s creative writitng MLitt and since then has won the New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust, the Gillian Purvis Award and came third in the Bridport Prize. She has written two novels, Little Dead Boys and Rust And Stardust and is also working on a short story collection, The Rental Heart And Other Fairytales. Kirsty lives in Glasgow with her girlfriend. For more information, go to www.kirstylogan.com

 

Kirsty’s already impressive record of published work – including 80 short stories – probably proves that nothing’s been distracting her from her work too much.

As well as having written one novel, Kirsty is currently working on the final stages of her second which impressed an agent to sign Kirsty up.

They found each other through Twitter!

Getting published is much easier if you have an agent to pitch your work to publishers for you – but it often takes writers years to persuade one to take you on.

Kirsty makes it sound easy.

"I didn’t have a grand plan, I was just creating my stories and getting them published with things starting to slowly build for me.

"I had started using Twitter, got to know another writer and through her got to know a man called Joe Melia who runs a book festival in Bristol.

"When an agent asked him to recommend new writers, he mentioned me. Now she is my agent!

"I think all writers should be on Twitter because I have had so many opportunities through it – such as a six-month commission to write a column for a website called ideascap talking about a lot of the emotional stuff involved in writing – things like rejection and isolation.

"As a writer, half the time it’s just you and your computer and your own crippling self-doubt!"

Kirsty Logan
Kirsty Logan

 

Kirsty hasn’t had many would-be writers’ experience of sending their work to a publisher only to hear nothing more – or receive a rejection letter.

She explained: "I was in the opposite situation where I had started to have agents coming and saying "Can I read your novel?".

"I’d have to say ‘What novel?’.

"I think it might be a better way to write stories and get them published in collections or magazines – an ‘If you build it, they will come’ approach.

"If you do good work then people will start to notice and come to you!"

Though Kirsty studied literature at university, she doesn’t believe writers need to do that, though is glad she did.

"I wrote 60,000 words about these boys in a terrible Glasgow punk band before realising it worked better at 10,000 words.

"But if I hadn’t hung out with boys in a terrible punk band when I was a student, I wouldn’t have been able to write it!" she laughed.

Maybe cutting out 50,000 precious words comes more easily when you’ve had practise writing "flash fiction", as Kirsty has.

Flash fiction, she explained, can be stories from just 1000 or 500 words down to just one sentence!

"It’s quite popular at the moment and I like to write a bit of everything!"

Kirsty revealed that when she was invited to send in a story for the ImagiNation book project, she jumped at the chance.

The result, One Hundred Years Of Wifehood, appears in the book alongside the work of both established and newer writers.

The collection features short stories, some comic strips, poems and drama – all looking at what Scotland might be like in the future.

"It’s not the type of thing I would normally write, but I got the commission and thought ‘Yes, I’ll do it’," said Kirsty.

"But it was only then that I started to think ‘What have I done?’.

"I started saying to myself ‘What do I know about Scotland, what do I know about politics or anything?’.

"I spent weeks stressing and making endless notes and worrying about what I could say about the Scottish economy or religion or sectarianism.

"Then I thought ‘Why am I even trying to talk about those things?’.

"They’re not a part of my life. So then I asked myself what is really important to me and what would I really like to see changing for the better."

The result is a story that jumps from 1951 to 2051 and contrasts the way we lived our lives in the past and how tackling some issues could mean a better future.

Kirsty said: "For me the issues are gender roles, gay rights, mental health and things like that – those are what have affected my life."

Kirsty experienced what it was like for someone in her family to have mental health issues.

"Having people being more accepting of that, that’s one of the things that really mattered to me.

"I kept the focus of the story personal because I don’t know about government policy and the economy.

"But there are a lot of things that are important – such as, for me, the way people interact with each other."

Kirsty is gay and explained that she sometimes chooses to write about it, sometimes not.

"I do purposely write about it.

"It’s important to have changes in the gay rights policy,

"But it is also important for people to get on and live their lives in a normal way and just show people it’s not that different, really.

"You don’t always want to be that person who is some gay rights activist.

"But then I do want to make certain points too."

Kirsty is looking forward to her visit to Nairn when she appears as a guest at the Nairn Book and Art Festival next Thursday.

I can’t wait, I am so excited," said Kirsty.

"Every time I tell anyone I’m going there, they say ‘Oh Nairn, it’s beautiful!’

"I love book festivals.

 

"I was checking the ticket stubs from the Edinburgh Book Festival this year and realised I’d been to 17 events.

"That is quite a lot, but I was also reading at the last event and had read at the very start of the festival as well!"

Kirsty laughed at the idea she book-ended the festival.

But the suggestion that e-readers will be a disaster for literatures as we know it makes her laugh even harder.

"I just think things change and we always resist at first, then we get used to it," she said.

"I remember when smartphones became the thing and people would go ‘Why on earth would you want to check your email on your phone?’.

"And, honestly, now I can’t go a day – I can’t go half an hour – without checking it!

"I think people might wish it was the year 2000 or the 19th century – but it’s not – and we just have to roll with it.

"I don’t think ereaders mean the death of the book.

"You’re still reading whether you read a screen or a page!"

At Nairn Community Centre next Thursday at 10.15am, Kirsty will be talking about her vision of life in a future Scotland as featured in her short story One Hundred Years Of Wifehood which appears in anthology ImagiNation edited by Bryan Beattie. Bryan will also be at the event in conversation with Kirsty. For full details of Nairn Book And Arts Festival go to www.nairnfestival.co.uk

Check out Calum Macleod's review of ImagiNation in our new books section!

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