Meet Gail Aldwin, author of the short story collection, Paisley Shirt

Hi, this week I’d like to welcome Gail Aldwin to the Thursday Throng. Gail writes every day and loves to see her stories change direction and become more textured through redrafting and editing. Alongside the slog of completing a novel, she enjoys playing with short fiction and poetry.

What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

Spending two years in the highlands of Papua New Guinea is one of my best-kept secrets. I lived in the town of Wabag, Enga Province where tribal fighting amongst clans remained rife and traditional dress for men was a loop of cable around the waist to support cloth and tangent leaves known in Tok Pisin as arse-grass. I am privileged to have lived in remote and beautiful locations.

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

None that are life threatening although writing can become a little obsessive. I write everyday and enjoy playing with a range of writing including fiction, poetry and drama. I have several projects on the go at any one time and appreciate the benefits of working collaboratively with other writers on scripts for stage and screen. I believe that all styles of writing cross-fertilise to help improve my writing skills generally but it does mean I have a lot of plates spinning.

Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?

When I started writing with a view to publication in 2009, I was at a crux: I invested considerable time in my career working with children learning English as an additional language but I had no creative outlet. One of the delights of teaching is watching students move forward in their learning but as a teacher, I felt I was standing still. There were two avenues I wanted to pursue – either to become fluent in Spanish or develop my skills as a writer. It is such a long apprenticeship to becoming a published writer that if I’d taken the other route I would probably not only be fluent in Spanish but literate, too.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

If you want to become a published writer, take the work seriously (but don’t forget to enjoy the process). Refer to yourself as a writer at an early stage – I waited until I had representation from an agent to feel entitled to call myself a writer and this was a mistake! I love one of Chuck Palahniuk’s tips for aspiring writers: get your author photo taken early when you’re young and keep using it.

How do you remain sane while working?

I write short fiction and poetry alongside longer projects which enables me to enjoy the satisfaction of completing a piece of work while struggling on with a novel. The first draft of anything is always about getting the words on the page – the pleasure comes in the redrafting process. It’s lovely to see a story take shape, become textured and achieve depth.

Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?

I used to drink coffee by the jug but when I became ill with a virus I didn’t have a cup of coffee for days. Upon recovery, I decided to get along without huge daily doses of caffeine. Now, I mainly drink herbal teas while writing although a glass of hot lemon has become a favourite of late.



You can find Paisley Shirt in Kindle and Paperback format here:

Amazon – Paisley Shirt

You can meet Gail on her website here: The Writer is a Lonely Hunter


These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

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  1. I agree about the almost therapeutic value of short form fiction between the novels. It’s like exercise for your writing brain to keep it limber, plus you can experiment there. Great interview. ll the best for the new book