Charlie Vinall is an aspiring novelist from England. She has penned numerous short stories and has just begun work on her debut novel. Today we interviewed her using questions that her fans have sent in. This is the result. Enjoy!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was born on the outskirts of London, England. I come from an English family and am an English girl through and through.
DO YOU LIKE YOUR CURRENT PLACE OF RESIDENCE?
I do! I have lived in London all my life and couldn’t imagine living in any other part of the world. London, and in fact England, is a wonderful place to live in my humble opinion.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WRITING?
I think a main inspiration to me was definitely my parents. They encouraged me to read from a very young age. I would spend almost all of my time as a young child reading. Every weekend my parents would take me to my local library where I would take out several books and read them all for the following week. I loved reading more than anything. Even at school I would often spend my lunch hours reading. So my parents played a massive part.
Also, the authors whose books I would pore over were inspiring to me. If I didn’t enjoy what I read, I don’t think I would have wanted to start writing myself. Their creative minds and beautiful ways with words made me want to give it a try myself.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
(Sighs). That’s actually a really difficult question to answer. I don’t know for sure when I first sat down and began writing. It has been a very long time though, that’s for sure. I remember writing stories on my mum’s old typewriter when I was very small, probably around the age of seven or eight?
I remember I used to write letters to some of my old school friends once we all moved to different secondary schools because I was really sad we wouldn't really see each other anymore. I am still in contact with some of them and one of them recently told me she still has an old letter I wrote her along with a story I included in it.
So it’s been probably around fifteen years or so! Although, it’s only been the last couple of years that I decided to sit down and seriously try to make a career out of my writing.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE GROWN AS A WRITER IN THE LAST TWO YEARS?
In so many ways. I almost feel like I am a completely different writer than I was two years ago. Firstly, my fan base has increased which has given me confidence and reassurance that people enjoy reading what I produce. Secondly, I feel like with each story I write I learn something new, not only about my own capabilities as a writer but the capabilities of literature in general. Naturally my vocabulary and understanding of words - and the world in fact - has improved over time.
I also feel as though I am happier as a person than I was a couple of years ago. I have a greater understanding and confidence in who I am as an individual and I think this has had a knock-on effect in regards to my writing. I am more proud of my work and less self-critical. And because I feel happier, I think I write better.
Honestly, I don’t think a writer ever stops growing. Every single piece of writing has the potential to extend a writer’s ability and allow them to grow and improve. So the more I write, the more I will continue to grow.
WHAT MAKES YOU ENJOY WRITING?
Where to begin? I love the buzz I get from writing. The excitement I get when I am producing something that I am crafting, the anticipation of completing it and reading it back. Once I have started writing something, I cannot properly relax until I have finished it and am happy with it.
I also enjoy writing because of the feedback I get from my fans. I look forward to hearing what they think of my work and the enthusiasm that they bring me makes me love what I do and want to keep on writing. Of course I enjoy writing for myself but without my fans I would not be where I am today. In fact, I just want to say thank you to them all. Thank you so much!
WHAT HELPS YOU GET IN THE WRITING MOOD? I HAVE A FRIEND WHO CAN ONLY WRITE WELL IN EITHER PYJAMAS OR DRESSED UP REALLY NICE. DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITER QUIRKS LIKE THAT?
Actually, now that I think about it, I do. I feel more comfortable writing once I have had a shower, got dressed and put on my make-up. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I think it’s because I feel more productive than I would if I just tumbled out of bed and started writing. I feel more awake. Plus there’s a saying I know: If you look good, you feel good. I think there’s probably some truth in that (giggles).
I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT YOUR NOVEL. I’M EXCITED.
It’s lovely to hear that people are already looking forward to it. Thank you! It’s safe to say that I’m keeping my cards pretty close to my chest. I am purposely not giving very much away at the moment. I will start revealing small hints and pieces of information as time progresses. The only thing I am really revealing at the moment is the genre. Pretty sure this is an exclusive: My first novel is going to be a tragedy. Oh my gosh I've just put it out there. (Grins).
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL STILL WRITE A SHORT STORY EVERY NOW AND THEN OR ARE YOU WANTING TO PUT ALL YOUR CREATIVE JUICES INTO YOUR NOVEL?
I am so pleased somebody asked this question! Yes! I definitely plan to keep writing short stories every now and again to put online. This is so that my fans have something to keep them going whilst I work on the novel. Something to keep them interested you know? This is also so that I can take a break from my novel from time to time and take a bit of a breather. I think that’s important. I think it’s important I write small bits and pieces to take my mind off the huge prospect of writing a novel. The thought of writing a novel can be a bit daunting at times.
In fact, I am working on a few pieces at the moment alongside the novel for readers to look forward to. These include a collaboration with an American writer and a romance short story! Hopefully they should be online in the coming weeks.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO ASPIRE TO ANYTHING BESIDES WRITING?
Yes! Whilst it would sound great to say that I always wanted to be a writer, that wouldn’t be strictly true. I used to want to be a vet. Anybody who knows me at all knows how much I am an advocate for animal rights and animal welfare. I am actually a vegan and have been for over two years now. I was a vegetarian before that. I have always loved animals and wanted to help them as much as I could. Since I was about four I wanted to be a vet, but unfortunately after taking work experience at a veterinary surgery, I found that I don’t do too well around blood and guts. So I decided to resort to my other passion: literature.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL?
I enjoyed lots of my subjects including Physical Education and Drama. But I think it’s going to have to be English at the risk of sounding clichéd. I loved reading literature and analysing the author’s intentions, discussing the characters, and just generally delving into the exciting literary world.
One of my English teachers actually proved to be an idol to me. She would read my writing and give me feedback, encourage me to continue writing, and recommend me books to read. Without her, I don’t know if I would have gone on to study English Literature at university and as a result, I don’t know if I would still be writing today. I don't know if I would be sat here doing this interview. Can I say her name? (Laughs). I’m going to anyway. Thank you Ms Palin so much, without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You are truly an inspiration to me.
DO YOU PREFER BOOKS/MOVIES/TV SHOWS ETC ABOUT THE PAST OR ABOUT THE FUTURE? OR DO YOU PREFER THE PRESENT OVER THOSE?
That’s a very good question (looks deep in thought for a few moments). I think I’m going to say future. The future has the most intrigue about it because it is unknown. I like reading and watching shows that give various interpretations of our future and what could potentially happen.
In fact, one of my favourite books is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which was published over sixty years ago. It’s set in the future and presents a society where books are banned and technology has become an overwhelming power. The people within this society are almost hypnotised by technology. I found this book so powerful simply because much of Bradbury’s portrayal of the future has come true. Nowadays technology is a central part of our lives and books, I think, are not valued as they used to be. It makes me quite sad to think about.
I mean none of us can say for sure what the future has in store for us and so viewing and reading people’s creative ideas behind the possibilities are, in my mind, fascinating.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOW ON THE TELEVISION?
There are so many to choose from! I do have a soft spot for American television dramas like Gilmore Girls, The OC and Desperate Housewives. My favourite show of all time is probably Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think the script writing is just brilliant. That’s why I enjoy television dramas so much; it all comes back to writing. Every good show originates with a good team of writers producing an amazing script.
If I have to pick a favourite show that is currently on the television, I would probably have to say 24.
ARE YOU SUBSCRIBED TO ANY YOUTUBERS, AND IF SO, WHICH ONES?
I follow quite a few Youtubers. I enjoy watching the videos of ‘charlieissocoollike’, ‘amazingphil’, ‘danisnotonfire’ and ‘itswaypastmybedtime’. Nowadays the internet has so much influence on people, especially young people, and these Youtubers not only provide great entertainment, but are fantastic young role models.
People often assume that Youtube is just a medium for silly videos and, don’t get me wrong, it’s partly for that. To some extent anyway. But it is also so much more and can really allow people to inspire others. I've been tempted to join the Youtube world and create my own videos on more than one occasion.
FINALLY, IF YOU WERE TO GO ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO TO AND WHY?
(Sighs deeply and looks thoughtful). Hmm. I have always wanted to go to Australia. It seems like such a beautiful place to visit. The problem is that I don’t particularly like flying and Australia is pretty much the furthest place to get to. But I would love to go there one day and see New Zealand too. That would pretty much be a dream come true. Plus, some of my biggest fans come from Australia, so would love to pop by and say hello to a few of them!I also would love to go to Belgium because it’s supposed to be the place to go if you’re a vegan. There are a lot of vegan restaurants and shops there so hopefully I will get to visit Belgium one day too! If anyone would like to take me there, that would be awesome (laughs).