28 February 2020
Jacq Molloy is a novelist, short-story writer and published playwright.
Q: What do you think are the main challenges in writing CNF?
A: It depends on what you’re writing and your reasons for tackling a subject. If writing from your own life in memoir or autobiography it can be hard to give yourself the freedom to write about yourself as a character – which is how you have to think of yourself once you’re on the page. If this feels too difficult you may be tackling an emotive experience/subject too soon before you’ve processed it. You haven’t reached the point where you can shape it into narrative.
Another challenge, say in the personal essay, can be finding the voice for a piece. You might have a subject you’re passionate about and it is about creating a symmetry between the polemic and the personal. Readers want to hear the personal voice behind the opinions.
Q: Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?
A: Currently fiction. But most of my fiction stems from life experiences. I like the freedom fiction gives me to play with the material, to ignore or exaggerate elements so that ultimately the true parts are either enhanced by fictional techniques or submerged to the point of being unrecognisable. I do have a couple of CNF pieces on the go but I suspect my point above about the experiences not being fully processed emotionally are stopping me finishing them.
Q: What type of research (if any) do you do before sitting down to write a first draft?
A: I’m not a big researcher before I start a piece (or in general) as I’m usually drawn to writing because of a voice nagging at me or the seed of an idea. I tend to backfill my research – make a note as I’m drafting of something I need to know. Then if I’m having a bad writing day I’ll hit up google!
Q: What can you tell us about the novel you’re working on?
A: Jen, a trained classical cellist, is estranged from her conductor father Hector and has shunned the closeted world of classical music to manage Ellie, an up and coming rock singer. Her best friend Oscar, a violinist, is the only one who knows why she has done this and is sworn to secrecy. As Jen navigates her way in this alien world of rock music she begins to question her actions. A story about being true to yourself and claiming the spotlight in your own life, not hiding in the shadows.
Q: Do you prefer WP or handwriting, and what do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of each method.
A: Definitely WP for me. As long as your method gets the job done and works for you that’s all that is important.
Q: What are you reading at the moment?
A: CNF – Just finished David Sedaris, Calypso. An essay collection. And reading a novel by Australian writer Charlotte Wood, The Weekend. Both amazing writers.
Q: Do you have any particular favourite treats that you have when writing?
A: Only one – chocolate. I would say it is an essential supply rather than a treat though!
Interview conducted by Diane Langford.