Mar 26, 2010

An Interview With Huw Lawrence - Author of 'Always the Love of Someone'

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'Huw Lawrence's stories have three times won in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition, have gained three Cinnamon Awards and a Bridport prize. He was runner up for the 2009 Tom Gallon prize. Born in Llanelli, he trained as a teacher in Swansea, continuing his education at Manchester and Cornell Universities. He spent several years doing a variety of labouring jobs in Manchester and the Ffestiniog area of north Wales and now lives in Aberystwyth.' Americymru review of 'Always the Love of Someone' HERE

Always the Love of Someone front cover detail
Americymru: How did you start writing?

Huw: The first thing I remember writing was a poem in response to the Cuba Crisis back in the sixties. I followed that with an attempt at a play about someone converting his cellar into a fallout shelter. Later, I turned to stories, and, still in the sixties, I wrote ‘The Yellow Umbrella’, which is in this collection. That was the first story I ever wrote.

Americymru: Care to tell us a little about 'Always The Love of Someone'. How did you come to write the stories in this collection? Were they written especially with this volume in mind or is this more of an anthology of your recent work?

Huw: No, they weren’t written with this volume in mind. I just wrote quite a lot of stories, and then eventually I selected fifteen that went together so as to suggest some kind of unity. They’re not recent work, though. Some go back a very long time.

Americymru: Most critics have taken the view that the theme of the collection is 'human relationships'. Would you agree with this? Does it necessarily have a theme?

Huw: I don’t know if it can be said to have a theme. That’s a hard question. People do talk about ‘theme’ in relation to story collections, but I’d say that most collections have a focus rather than the structural unity implied by a ‘theme’. That, of course, might not be true of collections like Miguel Street by Naipaul, where the stories are all about the same protagonist and his neighbours. Perhaps it’s a question of degree. The fifteen stories in Always the Love of Someone are all of them about love, and all but four of them about love between men and women – the nitty gritty realities of love, not romance.

Americymru: What attracted you to the short story genre? Are there any particular attractions or difficulties in writing short stories as opposed to writing novels?

Huw: I found myself writing stories for the most pragmatic of reasons. They’re short, and I had a full-time job. I could be confident of finishing what I started. There are attractions. You can carry one in detail in your head, and changing a short phrase can alter the whole balance, change nuance, adjust meaning. Getting it right is more like working on a poem than on a novel. What’s not right tends to stand out like a sore thumb. It’s an unforgiving form. But you can carry it around with you.

Americymru:Many people are fascinated by the writing process of successful authors? Do you have any kind of creative routine or do you write as and when inspiration strikes?

Huw: I can only conceive of one way of writing fiction, and that is to do it every day. You can’t afford to lose touch with the work in hand, nor can you afford to let good new ideas slip away. You have to get those down as some kind of draft to a degree where they can be picked up on later.

Americymru: Is your work available in print anywhere other than in this collection? Magazines? Anthologies?

Huw: Magazines and anthologies, yes. This is my first collection.

Americymru: Is there any one of your stories that you are particularly proud of or that you would like to especially recommend?

Huw: My two favourites are, ‘Would That Even Be Lucky?’ and ‘Nothing is Happening Because There’s a Point’. Because they counterbalance each other. The first one questions whether it is even lucky to be bound by the obsessive power of a romantic love you can do nothing about, even if it is requited. The second describes a meeting, followed by a pre-marital relationship, followed by a long, happy marriage, with plenty of conflict, but cemented by affection, loyalty and commitment – not romance.

Americymru:Are there any short story writers (or writers in general ) that you draw inspiration from?

Huw: The writer that has intrigued me most by his skill and whom I dip into just for the pleasure of reading a page or two of his prose, is Nabakov. As far as short story writers go, one of my favourites is Bharati Mukherjee.

Americymru: Care to tell us anything about your future writing plans?

Huw: A novel followed by a collection of poems, I hope.

Americymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Huw: Yes, be afraid that the meaning of ‘Cymru’ will disappear if the language goes, and it might die. So, support the language in any way you can. As far as keeping up with events in Wales through English is concerned, then I’d recommend Planet and Cambria, two magazines committed to Wales through the medium of English.

'Always The Love of Someone' will be published on 30 May 2010 and will be an AmeriCymru Book of the Month selection for June.

Interview by Ceri Shaw Email

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