An Interview with Sarah Butler
Tell us how you approached the live writing day.
I wanted to do something that was specific to the space I was writing in, so in the week before the event I asked staff at Woolfson and Tay to get customers to select a line from a book, or write down something that they’d seen, heard or smelt in the vicinity of the bookshop. That meant I had a nice collection of prompts to start off the day with.
How did it feel to have your readers watch as you write?
Really quite strange. I felt the pressure to make something happen on the page! I’m not very good at being put on the spot, so sometimes I felt I was struggling to come up with ideas and hold onto thoughts.
Karen McCarthy Woolf gave me a prompt via Twitter, which I combined with a prompt from Eddie Redmayne (who’s a regular at Woolfson and Tay). Karen was tweeting responses to the story as I wrote it, which was really fun.
How did the rabbits come hopping into your stories?
I met a lovely girl called Celeste, who was in the bookshop with her family, and asked her for a prompt. She told me about her four toy rabbits, Rose, Rabby, Snowflake and Nibbles and I started imagining what they were up to while Celeste was out. The whole family chipped in with ideas as I wrote the story.
Many authors write naked. Do you have any strange writing habits that you couldn’t share in public?
Heavens, my house is far too cold for any naked writing! I write in my pyjamas and layers of horrible jumpers, which I wouldn’t wear in public. Maybe it’s not that strange, but I do read aloud a lot when I write, which I find really helpful for editing. It’s not really the kind of thing you can do in public without getting some pretty odd looks...