I’m delighted to be joined by author Holly Bidgood today as she shares #TenThings about herself and what inspires her writing. Holly’s debut novel was The Eagle and the Oystercatcher and her latest, The Seagull’s Laughter, will be published next month.
- I have three children. This is probably my most defining feature: if you see me at home or out and about I will generally be surrounded by small children, looking frazzled.
- I love languages. I just can’t really speak any. I am great at learning grammar; I can read both Icelandic and Norwegian – which I studied at University – to a fairly good standard, but even just the thought of actually trying to hold a conversation is enough to make my brain shut down. My favourite language is Old Norse because no one expects you to speak it! You can just enjoy translating old texts about warrior poets, talking dragons and Viking men hiding up to their nipples in big vats of yoghurt. Brilliant.
- I am a Viking reenactor. We are lucky to live just a bus ride away from the Viking village at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming; every couple of months we all get on the bus in our Viking gear and spend a weekend in the tenth century. I have handmade all of our re-enactment clothes! Not an easy task for a family of five; and now with the winter approaching I have a lot of sewing and nálbinding to do to get us all kitted out for the colder weather. One day I am hoping to write a novel set in Viking-age Iceland.
- I am a folk musician. I play the flute, whistle and clarinet (though it’s been a while); my other half plays the banjo, guitar and mandolin. We used to play in a folk band here in Hull, but nowadays we’re lucky if we manage to get together with friends to play a few tunes! I can’t wait until we can get the children joining in.
- I am a knitting addict. My grandma taught me to knit when I was a student going through a difficult time and I have not stopped since. I always have to have a project (or five) on the go – it keeps me sane. At the moment I am knitting myself another jumper. Two, in fact…
- Together with my other half I run a social and therapeutic textile/weaving studio here in Hull. We work primarily with vulnerable adults and sheep fleeces from local farms. Head to www.lifeandloom.co.uk for more information.
- My dream is to establish a cohousing/communal living project. We would live somewhere wild and produce as much of our own food and energy as possible. We would have chickens and ducks and a whole flock of sheep. And we would all care for each other’s children and live mostly outdoors. I’ll just keep dreaming…
- I worry about everything. Every little thing. I worry about things that have happened, things that are happening right now, things that might happen, things that might never happen… If ever there seems to be nothing to worry about, then I worry about the fact that there is nothing to worry about. I worry that I will never stop feeling this anxious about everything.
- Writing doesn’t come very easily to me. I have always felt driven to write, and I enjoy being able to escape into a different world, but I find the process extremely difficult and draining. Often it feels as though everything is just stuck inside my head, and if I try to put down a few words on paper they just sound wrong. I am a bit of a perfectionist: I have the tendency to agonise over every sentence and end up getting nowhere. I am trying to learn to be more free with my writing, just try it out and worry less about the result! I can’t find the space to write at the moment anyway, but I have an idea for the next novel floating around in my head.
- My inspiration comes from Northern landscapes. Wild, far-flung places, cold, wet and windy, by the sea, with one foot still in the recent past. The sorts of places where folk tales are real and the rest of the world seems a long, long way away. I’m not sure how I’ve ended up living in Hull.
Thanks to Holly for sharing her #TenThings today and to Kelly at Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour. The Seagull’s Laughter is published by Wild Pressed Books next month. You can pre-order your copy here: The Seagull’s Laughter
From the back of the book
1973. Malik has always been something of a misfit. Born to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, he has one eye of black and one of watery-blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.
Never having known his father and with his mother and uncle dead from alcoholism, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see.
One day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.
Martha has had enough, living with domestic abuse and expected to turn the other cheek for the sake of appearances. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.
On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.
The three of them find peace and safety in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life.
The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with the nature and magic of Greenlandic folk tales.