Literary Smorgasbord: Debbie Mathews

I have interviewed an amazing range of writers on the Smorgasbord, but Debbie Mathews is a smorgasbord unto herself. Blogger, poet, author of short stories, childrens’ fiction, non fiction, and, appropriately for the Smorgasbord, cook books. if that’s not enough, Debbie is also a photographer, gardener and veg grower and is just completing her garden design course and RHS certificate.

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Hi Debbie, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed on the Smorgasbord. That’s some list of activities listed in your introduction, but what are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about a number of things: writing of course – I’ve written from the age of 5 –  and cooking goes without saying, although I suppose that’s really a passion for eating! My interest in gardening started around growing my own food.  I’m 110% passionate about the natural world which translates itself into being a green proponent, and is probably where the photography fits in too.  I’m also passionate about justice.  Inequality of any kind gets my ire up. I campaigned with Amnesty, Oxfam and CND in my early teens.  Aged 40, I gave up my well-paid full-time job and re-trained to be an advocate for young people with learning disability.  I worked as an advocate for 13 years and continue to champion the rights of anyone who is marginalised or disadvantaged.  I think you could call that a passion. As well as being creative, writing can be a brilliant and powerful tool for justice.  A blog is a great place to air ones views.

Where did you grow up, and how does it compare to your present home on the north-east coast of Scotland?

I grew up in South West London – about as far away from life on a farm on the north-east coast of Scotland as you can imagine. I was always an outdoor girl though.  We all were back then weren’t we?  We had tremendous freedom to roam about as kids, even though we lived on the edge of the big smoke.  We had a 100ft back garden which backed onto the rec (the local authority recreation ground) although we fronted a major road.  As you know, there are few mountains in greater London.  I used to cycle to Box Hill with a friend in the holidays (technically out of my allowable range) as well as Richmond Park (also not allowed).  We thought of Richmond and Richmond Park as the countryside!  Townies, eh?  In the summer my dad used to get us up early and we’d rattle down to the south coast.  I’ve always been happy by the sea.

What were you like at school?

Quiet.  I went to school relatively late due to having to wear calipers. I think my parents had to fight to get me into a ‘normal’ state school because of my various difficulties. I’d never really socialised with kids my own age. My mum was very poorly when I was young and spent a lot of time in hospital.  I think that had an impact on my stability as a little person out in the big-wide-world.

I didn’t mix much with girls.  I preferred to scuff about with the boys.  They seemed less complicated, and you didn’t have to talk too much with them, you could just do stuff.  An all-girls senior school was a bit of a shock, as you can imagine.  Most of my school reports from that time have reticent written on them.  Debbie has good ideas and is a capable student.  I wish she’d learn to speak up more.  She is very reticent in class.  I’m not sure my parents knew what it was, but it was clearly not good, so I always got told off for it.

When did you start writing?

As far back as I can remember.  My mum taught me to read and write before I went to school.  Initially books were my escape route, then writing.  I wrote poems and stories to start with, and letters.  Letters were a great discovery.  I had pen-pals from various places in the UK and abroad.  I also discovered you could write to MPs and councillors, and I harassed both my local council and the government about all sorts of things.  Aged 11, I got my first typewriter.  After that there was no holding me back.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

This is where I disclose the secrets about my special routines and impart great wisdom…… No, I don’t have any writing habits, I simply write.  I’m not being facetious.  Really. I write constantly.  It’s maddening.  Like all my fellow writers, I keep a pen and notepad with me at all times, and it gets used all the time. I always get ideas at inconvenient moments.  I’ve taken to making sure my phone is with me when I’m out walking or running, and I’ve learnt how to use the voice recorder so I can capture those ideas which would otherwise be lost by the time I got home.  I’m not much of a night owl, so I don’t tend to write in the evening, although I have often put the light back on, after settling down for the night, to write something in my notebook.  My writing habit is genuinely to write, write, write.  I’m very bad at keeping concentration on one thing, and worse at editing, so I’m a poor example for any writer!

What are your writing hopes and ambitions?

My ambition for this year is to complete my first novel.  I’m just over 35,000 words in, aiming for 50 – 60,000.  I keep diverting myself with other projects and really need to focus.  I also have a non-fiction project which has been on the go for five years.  I have actually finished the text now, although because of how disorganised I’ve been in compiling it, I’ll have to spend some serious time getting the referencing organised.  I’ve also challenged myself to be braver with my writing this year and am making myself read publicly – a personal loathing – and enter some competitions.  I’m not brave enough to tell you if I’ve already entered any…

 My hope is that I will find a way for people to read and engage with my writing; that I will somehow connect.

Who has inspired you?

Corny as it may be, my mum is a complete inspiration.  She is uneducated: she bought up her younger siblings and skipped school for the most part. She had a dreadful childhood. She has been ill since she was first pregnant and has had all manner of operations and health issues. She’s been a wheelchair user for the past 20 years. In spite of everything, she has always remained cheerful, giving and creative.

Her spelling and grammar are so atrocious that getting a letter from her requires painstaking deciphering; in spite of that – and sometimes because of it – her letters are funny and touching.  She is a life-time letter writer and has written hundreds of letters to friends, family and strangers across the UK and beyond.

At 60, she learned to swim, despite a phobia of water (she saw her brother drown when she was 11) and she started reading voraciously in her 70s.  A few months ago, aged 82, she learnt to crochet. She has a personal good grace, humility and tenacity it would be hard to emulate.

It is the ordinary- extraordinary people that inspire me the most, in life and in writing.  Malala Yousafzai, Naomi Kline, Charlotte Bronte (whom I share a birthday with); Safia Minney  – Founder and CEO of pioneering Fair Trade fashion label People Tree; Charlotte Danks – a 21 year old who has opened 25p Food Shops in Cornwall to help struggling families; Hope Gordon, my friends daughter, who had her leg amputated last year after a decade of pain and suffering, and who rows, swims, fund-raises, and last year completed the Dubai 92km Cycle Challenge having only ridden a bike once in the previous 14 years!

What has been your best writing moment so far?

This?! Nah. I don’t know.  That’s a really hard question. I won an award at school and got a £25 book token – that was really cool, but best writing moment?  No.   I’ve had a bits and bobs published over the years, but I think my best writing moment is to come!  Something that probably comes close is submitting a manuscript to Emergents last year and being told that my writing was good.  That nothing much needed changing.  That was a good writing moment.  It’s only been surpassed by the moment that I wrote on my blog that I’m a writer.  It’s the first time in nearly 40 plus years of writing that I’ve had the confidence to call myself that.

If you could strap yourself into a time machine and travel back through the years to meet your fifteen year old self, what advice would you give her?

Ha!  I’ve done this! Well, not really you understand – although it would be pretty damn cool wouldn’t it – it was a writing exercise for the Wee Writers Workshop that I’m part of.  The exercise was to write a letter to your younger self.  I put it in the fiction section of my blog as it was technically a creative writing exercise, although it’s pretty much all true.

Here’s some of what I wrote to myself: I just wish you’d gained a bit more confidence earlier on; I wish you’d stopped trying to please your dad sooner– you knew in your heart of hearts it was futile – and got over your fear of failure.  Let me tell you this – It isn‘t a secret- you are going to fail.  You are not going to get through life only having succeeded.

If there was one person – contemporary, historical or fictional – you could spend a day with, who would you choose and why? How would you spend the day?

Hmm.  Another really hard question.  I mean, one person, out of all the millions of people… I’ll need to think about that one. I think all the famous game changers would be too scary, and possibly too boring.  I’d be tongue-tied.  So, much as I’d like to spend a day with Nelson Mandela or Shakespeare, I think it would be a waste of my time and theirs. Ooo!  I know!  I know!  Jean-Luc Picard.  Not Patrick Stewart, you understand, I’d be far too nervous, no, the fictional and fabby Jean-Luc Picard.  We would spend the day flitting at warp speed through the galaxy.  Well, our bit of the cosmos anyway.  I’ve always wanted to see the earth from space.  We would sip Earl Grey tea and talk about how the federation managed to get so many different species to collaborate.  We would beam down onto the moon and kick a ball about down there.  We’d could maybe take a trip in a shuttle around the planets.  I’d get him to introduce me to Chakotay…..no wait, getting carried away here; different captain!  Ah well.  It would be interesting anyway, and I hope we’d have some fun as well.

A few short questions to finish with. What is your favourite book?

Nope.  I can’t do that one.  I don’t have a favourite book.  I’m fickle.  I have books I love at the time and perhaps never read again.  I have books I re-read, like Thomas Hardy, or Tolkien, usually on the train; although companionable, they’re not my favourites. I have books I would never get rid of – Catch 22, To Kill a Mockingbird – and others.   Recently I’ve enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.  I like books that engage me – heart and brain – which could pretty much be anything.

Writer?

The sadly departed Iain Banks, and perhaps Nick Hornby, Anita Desai…No, can’t do that one either.

Meal?

Well a side-dish rather than a meal: potato dauphinoise.  Potatoes, garlic, cream.  What’s not to like?

Ha, that made me laugh. Cream is a no go area for me and I’m not a big fan of the spud, but that’s a whole other story. Back to the point – film?

Again, one is too hard!  The Graduate, Toy Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Shawshank Redemption, The Kite Runner, Dead Poet’s Society, You’ve Got Mail.  I’ll stop there shall I?

Music?

This is impossible! Everyone says eclectic don’t they?  It’s true for me too. I listen to everything and anything.  I’m not a big classical or country fan, although there are exceptions.  I like traditional jazz – New Orleans and Dixie – and am in love with the saxophone: think the intro to Baker Street Or Lily Was Here by Dave Stuart and Candy Duffer.  I was a bit of a rock chick in my youth and still love a thrashing guitar and heavy drumbeat.  I saw U2 when they first toured as spotty yoofs and still adore them.  I love Van the Man, Coldplay, Nina Simone, Elvis Costello, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd (pre ‘Wall’), Avicii and The Stranglers.  Currently I’m listening to Travis, Jack Savoretti and Calvin Harris.

What are you reading right now?

That’s easier!  A History of the Rain by Niall Williams, Spectacles by Sue Perkins and Great Garden Designs by George Plumptre (which I found in my dentist’s on Tuesday!).

Thanks Debbie. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you Lorraine.  It’s been great fun answering your questions.  Thanks for asking me to join your lovely tasty Smorgasbord.

You can find out more about Debbie on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

LG Thomson is the author of thrillers, Boyle’s Law, Boiling Point, and Erosion, and of post-apocalyptic thrill-fest, Each New Morn. Find out more at Thrillers With Attitude.

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The Attitude Smorgasbord: Sarah Norquoy

From May to December 2015, I delved into the lives of 21 writers, finding out what made them tick, who would play them in a film of their lives and what advice they would give to their young selves. Now the Smorgasbord is back, rebooted and raring to go, with a fresh batch of writers lined up for the next seven weeks.

First up is Sarah Norquoy. I met Sarah in 2016 when I was invited to Stromness in Orkney, to give a talk at an Emergents workshop. I was working on the final draft of Boiling Point, and Sarah was experiencing extraordinary success with her blog, Norq from Ork.

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Hi Sarah, Norq from Ork, has been incredibly successful. Why do you think it has struck such a chord with readers?

Thank you very much! I think it’s because I write about every day things in a simple and  funny way. People can identify with what I’m saying and as you say, it strikes a chord.  I didn’t set out to write that way, it was just the voice that emerged.   That said, I also write about very touching and moving aspects of life which people seem to appreciate too.  The posts that do the best are the ones where you’re tapping into an emotion that people can completely identify with, even if it’s something as mundane as loading a dish washer or cutting the grass.  Also people enjoy seeing the scenery of Orkney which I often share. I have nicknames for family and friends which seems to be a real hit as well.  I’ve always nicknamed my husband Orkney Beef and that dates back years to when I was completely nuts about him and he didn’t know I existed, so I just continued with the name.  Then I thought up names for my children and people started to ask what their name would be or suggesting one for themselves.  The whole blog is generally a bit of light relief, people know what they are going to get and they seem to like it.

Do your family ever get annoyed with you for writing about them?

They have never yet, but I’m very careful about what I write. If I’m unsure I will always ask permission first and if anyone doesn’t want to be involved then of course I would honour that. Usually  they love it and encourage me in what I’m doing. I have a regular feature called My Week in Pictures and  I discovered that my daughter and her boyfriend often try to get featured in it.

Where did you grow up, and how did it differ from life on Orkney?

I grew up in Sutton Coldfield on the outskirts of Birmingham, but I’ve lived in other places too and moved up to Orkney after 12 years in Cambridge.  It is COMPLETELY different from Orkney in every way.  We only saw the sea once a year on our family holiday and I always dreamed of living by the sea.  Now I can see it from my sitting room, kitchen and dining room window and I never tire of it.  I still have to pinch myself sometimes.

How did your blog evolve?

I’ve often been told how entertaining I am on things like Facebook and Twitter and many friends suggested I take it to a wider audience and write more. I’ve always enjoyed writing and often said I want to write a book, so the blog was merely a discipline to make me write on a regular basis. It quickly gained momentum and people enjoyed it and started signing up to read and follow up.  I’ve loved it and am really pleased I took the plunge.

How did you feel about putting yourself, and your family, out there?

I’m careful about what I share and if someone doesn’t want to be involved then I would honour that completely.  There’s much of my life that I’ve shared but there’s also much of my life that I haven’t. It’s a risk sometimes and I’m quite a sensitive soul so if someone said they hated me I think I’d cry!  Thankfully that hasn’t happened and I hope it never does.

 Have you ever regretted a post, or wished you’d pushed one a little further?

I haven’t regretted any but I have certainly felt like I’ve taken a risk with some and thankfully they have paid off.  It’s not so much the funny stuff as the personal accounts like for example talking about the death of my brother.  There are still a lot of things I want to explore like talking more about my life as a single parent.  They were difficult days and I would like to think that sharing some of my experiences could help someone else who may be going through it. Sometimes I wish I was braver with my writing as I’m quite risk averse, but maybe I’ll get there yet.

 Have you ever written, or considered writing, any kind of fiction or poetry?

 I’ve written some short stories. I entered my first one in the George Mackay Brown Fellowship completion and won a prize, and I’ve had a short piece published in Living Orkney magazine.  There’s book which is in the process of being written but it lives in my head a lot of the time..… I’m always, always, always writing in my head. The problem is that dreaded four letter word T*ME to get it all written down into something ready to send away. Gah…. 

Who inspires you?

I’ll try to stop this tipping into a load of gushing tripe but in all honesty it’s everyday people. The elderly who have lived through wars, rationing  and tremendous hardship with stories to tell, people who show kindness, friends who have stood by me through thick and thin. People who have overcome adversity and keep going.  My husband inspires me, and sometimes, I’m just inspired when I look in the  mirror and remember I raised two kids on my own with a mountain of difficulties to overcome. It’s taken me a long time to say that.

What has been your best writing moment so far?

Seeing my piece published in a magazine was thrilling, winning a prize in the competition mentioned earlier, being messaged by someone saying they love my work and how much did I charge.  But most of the time it’s getting an email or message from someone saying how a blog has touched them in some way or made them laugh. Being stopped by someone and told my blog really boosts their day, or made them smile or even cry. I’m always so touched that people want to make contact. A couple of posts I’ve written have had 900 views in a day.  That was astounding but I don’t know why some go like that and others don’t.

What are your ambitions, writing wise?

I want to be published.  The half written book I want to finish and publish, and I wold love to publish the blog in the form of a book too.  The ultimate dream for me would be to walk into a book shop and see my book there and know a complete stranger chose to buy it.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

Not really, I tend to write the blog in the evening but I’m always  jotting down ideas in note books or on my phone so I don’t forget it.  I observe people and make mental notes and jot them down.  Someday all these jottings will be worth a fortune I’m sure of it.

Who would play Norq From Ork in the film of your life?

Dawn French. I think she could do the funny parts of me perfectly and the the really difficult parts of my life sensitively. I asked her on Twitter once but she didn’t reply so I guess I’m going to have to think again.

A few short questions to finish with. 

Okay,  but I’m rubbish at narrowing these down to one so I may have to give you a few answers for each question.  What you gonna do, fire me?

Heh, heh. I guess not. Favourite books? 

The Outrun, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Rebecca, We Need to talk about Kevin, Stuart: A Life Backwards (warned you)

Author?

Not often I stick to one author but that said I know I’ve read all of Jonathan Tropper’s books. 

Meal?

Chinese noodles and crispy seaweed.  Also, your money’s safe with me but not your chocolate. 

I’ll keep that in mind next time we meet. Film? 

I loved The Help also loved A Brief History of Time.  Don’t make me choose. *sobs*

Music?

Quite an eclectic range. Right now I’m listening to Norah Jones in the car but another day it could be bangin’ tunes at full blast.

What are you reading right now?

3096 Days.  The story of Natascha Kampusch and how she survived 8 years being held in a dungeon after being kidnapped aged 10  She finally escaped at 18 and her coping strategies to stay alive and sane, and her ability to write so eloquently about her experience, is remarkable.  Now she really is inspiring. 

Thanks Sarah. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you for asking me. It’s been an interesting experience. 

 Where can readers find out more about you?

My blog is Norq From Ork where you can subscribe, I also have a Facebook page called Norq from Ork.  You can tweet me on @SarahKNorquoy  and my Instagram is NorqfromOrk.  Take a look and say hi. 

LG Thomson is the author of thrillers, Boyle’s Law, Boiling Point, and Erosion, and of post-apocalyptic thrill-fest, Each New Morn. Find out more at Thrillers With Attitude.

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Thrillers With Attitude Literary Smorgasbord: Shona Macpherson

If you have ever been anywhere near a writing group or book festival of any kind, you will know that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from big, robust circles, to tiny, stabby stars. They come in different flavours too, from cool, classic vanilla, to eyeball-exploding, triple-hot chilli sauce.

Thrillers With Attitude is on a mission to find out what makes these weirdly-shaped and strangely flavoured writers tick. My guest this week is blogger, Shona Macpherson.

Hi Shona, thank you for agreeing to take part in the Thrillers With Attitude Literary SmorgasbordPlease tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m from Inverness, in my late 30s but feel like I’m still in my 20s. I’ve had a varied work background – originally trained and worked as a nurse in London, then worked as an aid worker overseas for five years (Sudan, Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan). Then worked for charities again back in London, managing mentoring and befriending projects with elderly and then with homeless people. Trained and volunteered as a counsellor for several years.A few years ago retrained as a personal trainer and moved back from London to Inverness where I now work as a support worker with Women’s Aid and run my own business as a personal trainer. My passion with personal training is to help people to feel good in mind and body and this often involves more on the psychology side of things – looking at mindset and behaviour change – rather than just doing exercise. Friends, family, the outdoors and training are all really important things in my life.

What were you like at school?

We were from the countryside and I went to primary school with only 3 boys in my class so going to secondary was a huge shock. I was shy as a mouse. I was very small and was known as ‘wee Shona’. I wanted to be even smaller – to hide away from the public eye. I went to a school reunion a year ago and half the people there had no recollection of me at school so I must have done a pretty good job. I was a bit sneaky too. I had a group of well behaved friends and a separate group of rebellious ones and I’d flit between groups – keeping my options open! I’m still friends with a few of the girls today.

Why did you start blogging?

Earlier this year a personal trainer was mentoring me and a few others and he gave us the challenge of posting on Facebook everyday for a week. He asked us to post something true about us that makes us vulnerable but that might have a helpful message for other people. So it wasn’t initially a blog, just Facebook posts. I was quite scared clicking the ‘post’ button as I said things that I hadn’t openly spoken about much. But I was really surprised when people started commenting to me that they found my posts really helpful and this encouraged me to continue.

How has your blog evolved?

After a while I felt it would be nice to have a home for my posts as things can be lost on Facebook so a friend helped me create a blog section on my PT Website. The initial posts on there are the ones I wrote during that challenge. Looking back now I should edit and tidy them up but part of me likes that they are raw and as they are. Since then I’ve grown a little bit more confident and I’ve tried to write about wider topics such as body image and body building. As a result of that I ended up interviewing a lady who transformed her life and entered a body building competition. Through this experience I realised that I really like interviewing people and sharing other people’s stories as I think they have huge potential to inspire so I have done another couple of interviews since As you can see I’m pretty much making it up as I go along but it is fun and I’m loving the process.

What inspires you to write your blog?

I’ve come to realise I love writing. I love being caught in the flow of the moment. When I get caught up in writing I lose track of time and forget all my normal distractions. I’d say I’m normally pretty easily distracted. I’m passionate about women feeling good in their bodies whatever shape and size they are. I feel I have had a lot of healing in my life through exercise and through being open and honest about my struggles with food and my body. If sharing mine and other people’s stories can be of any help then I will keep writing for as long as I am able to and for as long as I have something to say. I feel there is so much junk in the media about food, women’s bodies and unobtainable perfectionism. I also find writing helps me to organise my thoughts and musings – it makes me happy.

Have you ever wanted to blog about something but felt you couldn’t?

Not yet. There are things that I want to write about but I haven’t collected my thoughts fully enough yet to do so. Two things that are burning inside me at the moment are about embracing aging and the joy of decluttering/ living more simply. I am conscious of my language when I write as I have huge respect for my parents who are quite traditional in their views. At my age this might sound a bit funny and I guess this could be a barrier to getting fully into flow and being as authentic as I’d like to be if that makes sense. I guess I’m really new to this and I will find my way.

Have you ever regretted publishing a blog post?

No.

Writing-wise, how disciplined are you?

Not very disciplined at all. I will go for ages without writing and will use the excuse of waiting to feel inspired. I think the urgent everyday tasks take precedent over the important ones. Writing is important to me and it is something that I like to get more into the habit of doing.

What is your writing routine?

I don’t have one! If there is something I want to write about I will usually try and set aside sometime in the weekend or an evening to do it. Evenings aren’t a great time for me to write as I will lose track of time and then sleep late and not be able to get up for my early training session. I prefer to have a big chunk of time to write rather than little bits often.

Do you ever write fiction?

The answer until very recently was no because I feel so many people do fiction so well already. I find non fiction very powerful and inspiring to write and the people who share their stories with me are happy to do so openly.
However last week I wrote my first fictional blog post. I was writing a piece about the false fat loss claims of body wraps and I wanted to use fiction to draw people in and to help them understand why we fall for weight loss gimmicks. Having a fictional character who was desperate to lose weight helped set the scene. I was quite nervous but the post was well received.
I now plan to develop the character, Louise, and write more fat loss myth busting blogs with her as the central character. 

Best writing moment so far?

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to go on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre. It was a great opportunity to explore different writing exercises with others and to be tutored. I read one of my blog posts in the ‘hobbit house’ there on the Saturday night and I was really encouraged by the feedback I received from others there. I felt like a bit of a fraud going on the weekend as I don’t class myself as a writer but this experience gave me more confidence that I have something to say that people are interested in. (And I met some inspiring people there, like you Lorraine!)

What advice would you give to the young Shona Macpherson?

Chill out Sho! Don’t take life so seriously. Stay in the present. You won’t find happiness through a relationship, motherhood, or whatever circumstances – you can only find it from seeing the word differently and for having gratitude for the amazing life you have.

You are clearly someone who inspires other people, but who inspires you?

Thank you for saying that.  I am inspired by so many people – mostly non famous ‘ordinary’ people I meet. Sounds cheesy but my Mum is a huge inspiration to me – she is the gentlest and kindest person I know. She just quietly gets on with living and loving well and looking out for others everyday with the smallest ego. My older sister has gone through a horrendous time and she finds the strength and courage to get up and face each day. I feel I am surrounded by inspiring people every day – my collegues at Women’s Aid, some of the clients there, some of my PT clients who may have a very difficult relationship with their bodies but they keep on keeping on to try and change. I try and listen to podcasts that inspire me that there is a lot of good in the world. One of my favourites is called ‘On Being’ by Krista Tippet. She has public conversations with different guests and asks them questions about meaning and being. A recent one was with Pico Iyer on the art of stillness – it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in a long time.

Do you have any goals yet to be achieved?

I’m about to start a life coaching course as I’d like to work more deeply with clients on issues of behaviour and life change. I think that when people are over-eating and under-exercising it is not really about the eating or the exercise – it is about the belief underlying why they live this way. I’d love to be able to help people make sustainable lasting change in these areas. I’m so much happier in my life through self coaching that I’ve done on my own mindset.
 
My sister Morag and I are writing an E-book of healthy voluminous recipes so it will be good to get that finished. I’m quite excited about the finished product.  I’m also launching my online one-to-one coaching business for health and weight loss.

A few short questions to finish.  What is your favourite book? 

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale.

Author?

John O’Donoghue – he is a spiritual writer and poet.

Food?

Chicken breasts stuffed with haggis in whisky sauce with neeps and tatties

Drink?

White wine

Film?

It is a toss- up between The Holiday (super cheesy film I like to watch at Christmas time) and The Way (it has inspired me to walk the Camino de Santiago next year for my 40th)

Television programme?

I loved The Killing and Borgen.

Music?

I always hate this question – I have very varied and random music taste. A friend recently introduced me to Tom Waits so he is up there at the moment.

What are you reading right now?

Cynthia Rogerson – If I Touched the Earth.

It’s been a real pleasure having you on the Literary Smorgasbord, Shona.

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Shona Macpherson

Find out more about Shona at her website and on Facebook.

LG Thomson is the author of Boyle’s Law, Each New Morn, and Erosion.