Which of your books has more of an Essex focus?
A few, actually
Spoke’n’Word is poetry about Essex. Much of it came about through a project I did conducting local walking tours.
A Prospect of Wivenhoe (prose) consisted of a quirky socio-history of my own town. The writing of this book limbered me up nicely for writing: Horses Seen Through Trees, also prose was more generally about north-east Essex and its people.
Which aspects of Essex do you write about?
Very often I write about the countryside, nature and the changing seasons. But I also write about the people, their popular culture, the long and happy affinity of Essex with London and the fact that our county is so often misrepresented by a metro-centric media.
Why do you like writing about Essex?
I’ve lived here and known the place for nearly all of my life. It still fascinates me and actually, it does possess that quiet beauty which is so often missed by those who hurry through it. It is very rich territory for all types of writers.
Are there books about Essex you’d recommend?
Essex (the County Books Series) by C Henry Warren/ published 1950 by Robert Hale.Now out of print but easily obtainable s/hand online.
It’s a stunning piece of work which shows up much of the new ‘Wild Writing’ for the sham and shambles which it so often is.
Name your favourite Essex place, person or whatever.
There are many, but for now, I’ll say the ruined church of St Peter’s at Alresford.
Well, I’d like to push the boat out here and nominate my partner Hilary Lazell from S Benfleet). A former Southend grammar school girl, she’s an illustrator, photographer and all round Essex renaissance woman.
One tip for writers who want to write about people and places
Observe but also, listen! Read lots. Write Lots. Now Re-write lots of it.
Chuck much of it out. What you’ll be left with is your best writing.