BookView Interview with Author Molly Clifford-Nixon

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we interviewed Molly Clifford-Nixon, about her writing and her recently released collection of short stories Short Stories & Flash Fiction (Read the review here.)

Before retiring and being able to concentrate on her love of writing, Molly worked full time in PA and office management positions. Her evenings were spent teaching drama workshops, speaking with confidence courses and producing and directing plays as showcases for the students.

‘The Burden of Guilt’, a romance intrigue set in 1965 published in 2013 is Molly’s first novel.

Her second book ‘Short Stories and Flash Fiction’ was published in 2017.

Molly is currently converting one of the stories from the ‘Short Stories and Flash Fiction’ collection into a script for television.

  • What in particular attracted you to the short story genre?

My debut in writing was in 2013 when I wrote a romance intrigue novel called The Burden of Guilt.  At that time, it had not occurred to me to venture into the short story genre. However, I began a writing course which introduced me to short stories and I realised how much I enjoyed writing them and how the short story can exercise the imagination.

  • Where do your ideas for these stories come from?

Most of the stories in Short Stories and Flash Fiction are extensions of classroom exercises. The tutor would give a subject on which we were required to create a story in ten minutes. For example, the idea for “The Knick-Knack Emporium” came from the subject of knick-knacks. As I could not think of anything to write about household ornaments, I decided to have fun treating the subject as a play on words.

  • Which story in the book is your favorite? Why?

Definitely “Infinity.” It is my first journey into fantasy and I enjoyed every minute of writing it. It gave me the freedom to create an unreal world where anything could happen: superpowers, talking animals, and characters from a different sphere. In fantasy the possibilities are endless and imagination takes the lead. I enjoyed writing “Infinity” so much I purposely created an ending that would allow a sequel. I intend to transpose the story into a script for television.

  • Which story was most difficult to write? Why?

“A Logical Explanation.” I knew the conclusion I wanted to reach and that a computer would play a vital part in the story, but the difficulty was in deciding how. I chose the supernatural as the medium to achieve my aim and to allow me to encompass the final lines which came to me before the plot and cried out for an unusual story line. “The Midnight Train” is also a story where the final sentence came before the plot.

  • Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

The works of Neil Gaiman. His ability to write in the genres of horror and comedy. In particular I like his scriptwriting for television and thoroughly enjoyed the series Lucifer. I found that in almost every episode there was a sentence or situation that gave cause for thought. I do not know whether this was the intention, but Lucifer definitely became the subject of many discussions with friends concerning interpretations of the Bible. An excellent example of thought-provoking fiction through humour.

When reading the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, I can remember being fascinated by the magical language created with words such as Sectumsempra, Wingardium Leviosa and Petrificus Totalus—and believe it or not, either reading Harry Potter or watching a Harry Potter film puts me in the mood for writing.

  • What is your favorite childhood book?

The Heidi series telling the story of a 5-year-old girl living in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather, written by Johanna Spyri. I enjoyed reading the books because I could imagine being in the Alps with Heidi and how different living in another country would be.

  • What’s more important: characters or plot?

Although the plot is obviously important as it was with The Burden of Guilt, for me it is the characters who bring my writing alive. I become emotionally involved, laughing or crying with them as their destinies unfold, and hopefully the reader will connect with them in the same way.

  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Having faith in myself and keeping the belief that my writing is good enough for people to want to read my work.

  • What life experiences have shaped your writing most?

I find this a difficult question to answer. Although there are no particular life experiences on which I have drawn upon to shape my writing I believe that in experiencing life itself, emotions and memories are forever stored in the mind or subconscious that can be drawn upon when writing.  We can remember how it felt to feel sad, happy, confused or angry at various times in our lives and being able to transpose those feelings to our characters makes them all the more human.

  1. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Before I retired, I would have said it would be work but now I would say “Give up your lack of confidence and believe in your ability to write.”

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