First Aid Kit Girl now available on Kindle

The Green Press are pleased to announce that First Aid Kit Girl is now available on Kindle! Download a sample or buy it here.

If you enjoy the book, please leave a review or tell a friend.

Not into ebooks? Buy the paper version here.

Did you know? You can now follow Steph on Twitter for some de-motivational tweets. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book yet… no spoilers!

Advertisements

New poetry anthology: Southernmost Point Guest House

Pretend Genius have just released a beautiful new collection of poetry, featuring some regular Willesden Green Writers Group writers.

Southernmost Point Guest House is a collection that brings together poetry by writers currently living in America, Britain, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand. They have little in common other than finding themselves here, in this book, and in the early part of the 21st century, with something to say. Contributors: Raewyn Alexander, Alex Barr, Lynn Blackadder, Sean Brijbasi, Susan Campbell, David Cooke, Tim Craven, Mikey Delgado, Vanessa Gebbie, Kim Göransson, James Browning Kepple, Charles Lambert, Laura Lee, Andrew Mayne, Geraldine Mills, Stephen Moran, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Richard Peabody, Lynsey Rose, Judi Sutherland, Lee Webber. The title is taken from a poem by Alex Barr.

You can buy the book here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SOUTHERNMOST-POINT-GUEST-HOUSE/dp/0985213396

Don’t forget, we’d love to see you at Bar on 16 January!

Willesden Green Writers Group is on the move…

Exciting news – WGWG has found a new home…

For the foreseeable future we can be found at:-
The Brent Artist Resource Gallery
Units 4 – 5 Queens Parade
London
NW2 5HT

We will be meeting as usual on the first and third Thursday of the month from 7.30 – 9.30pm.
No need to book, just turn up – only £3 per session attended.

16th January Free Launch Event:
We would love everyone to come along to BAR on the 16th January at 7.30pm when we will be celebrating finding a new home with a bit of a get together.  There will be a few short readings from members of the group, wine, nibbles, books for sale and information about the group – not to mention a huge collective sigh of relief!

23rd January:
We will be beginning the normal Willesden Green Writers’ Group in our new home on January 23rd (not our usual 3rd Thursday, but we couldn’t wait!)  So, if you have any writing that you would like honest feedback on, please bring it along on the night (if you are shy or just curious that’s not a problem, please feel free to come along and just sit in).

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Keep your eye on http://willesdengreenwriters.blogspot.co.uk/ for more info. We’re looking forward to moving to our new home.

 

An interview with Lynsey Rose…

Lynsey_BW
The Green Press author Lynsey Rose is interviewed about her debut novel First Aid Kit Girl by journalist Katy Georgiou.

Your book deals with some heavy and taboo subjects: self harm, depression, sociopaths… can you tell me a bit about your choice of these topics?

Haha, who is the sociopath? Is it Sam or Steph?! I suppose I should say something like I’m this tortured artist with lots of experience of self-harm and mental illness, but I’m not. The self harm aspect actually came from something really mundane; I bite my nails really badly (in fact, I pick them with pins! Hardcore) so I am often rummaging in the First Aid Kit at work for plasters. I noticed there were some weird and wonderful things in there and wondered what the point of them was, and the idea stemmed (!) from there. I have personal and family experience of mental illness and depression but nothing as extreme as this.

Do you think these are important subjects to bring to the light?

I do, but it isn’t a political book. I’m not making a specific statement about self harm. It’s more of a metaphor for her mental state. Which is what self harm is anyway. I did do some research on self harm message boards. I spoke to a few people and was quite shocked that there were galleries on these sites where girls (primarily) showed off their scars and discussed methods. It was like being on a messageboard for a band, but they were worshiping at the altar of their own suffering. That sounds a bit wanky. It was horrible, anyway.

Why do you think it’s important to push the boundaries in storytelling?

I don’t think that at all. You must tell whatever story is in you. Any boundaries are self-imposed so pushing them would be useless. Just ignore them.

You started working for Samaritans after you wrote this book, and learnt there that there are media guidelines which encourage the press not to report details self-harm because of research that shows this can provoke copycat situations, particularly amongst young audiences. How did this affect the way you see your book (if it did)? Do you think there’s a place for conflict between fiction and reporting?

What we do at Samaritans with regards to our media guidelines is extremely important. Newspapers have a responsibility not to be irresponsible, and in fact it’s one area where Samaritans do have some control over the media. But we cannot influence art or we’ll end up banning Romeo and Juliet. It made me wary that when people read my book at work I might get into trouble. But I wasn’t going to go back and censor my book. I would have had to delete the whole thing! I don’t think Steph is a hero anyone would copy. It’s obvious that she’s drowning. And hopefully, although you root for her, no one would aspire to be her.

Who do you feel this book is ‘for’? Eg when you were writing it, did you have any one or any group of people in mind that you wanted to leave an impact on?

No writer should ever think about that when writing a book, in my opinion. I always write for myself. The audience will find itself if the work is strong enough. This is probably why I’m still broke.

What’s the impact you want/hope the book to have on someone reading it?

That they enjoy it and think it was worth reading.

Do you see any of yourself in Steph?

Of course there are elements of myself in Steph. She is a very exaggerated version of me. I’m not Steph but I could have been – especially if I’d stayed in a certain job a few years back.

The book takes on an almost oppressive style of running Monday to Friday, week after week, and we never get to see Steph ‘off duty’ at the weekends. Was this deliberate?

Very. I wanted the style to be oppressive. I wanted her home life and past to remain very much a mystery. I didn’t want her to have some Simon Cowell style ‘sob story’ – although there’s the tiniest hint at one point. I deliberately wasn’t explicit about where she worked or what her job was as I wanted the reader to feel it could be any place, any job, relatable. For a long time I didn’t even give the main character a name, but that proved quite impractical.

Where did you/do you draw your inspiration from?

Reality and misery, usually. I’d prefer to have a more fantastical imagination but my ideas seem rooted in the mundane.

Although the book deals with serious issues, it’s also darkly humorous. Did you always want it to have that comedy side?

I never intended that, but I didn’t intend for it to be some misery-fest either. I think there’s always humour even in the grimmest things I write otherwise it would just be a drag. I always read out something really horrible at the writing group I go to and then laugh at the end! Some people have read the book now and have come up to me and told me it’s hilarious. I find that quite weird as I see it as tragic.

In the blurb about your book, you say ‘for anyone who has ever wanted to kill everyone they work with’. Would you recommend anyone who is unhappy in their job to write a book?

No, I’d recommend they get a new job. Not everyone can write a book. But most writers write to get pain out.

Why doesn’t Steph get out of her job, do you think?

I almost feel like it’s never occurred to her, although it does at times in the book, but I think it just feels like too much for her to cope with. I always wondered if readers would get behind her, or if people would just get frustrated with her and think ‘why don’t you just get a new job?’ I hope readers understand why it’s not that easy for her. It’s like saying to someone, ‘why don’t you just run a marathon?’ She just doesn’t have it in her.

When did you first start writing? Was it an outlet, something that just came naturally, something you fell into?

I have written since I was three years old. I have boxes and boxes of my old stories from that time, stapled together on post-it notes, and with illustrations, too. Luckily I’ve given up the drawing. Then I went onto the usual tormented poetry and all that. I had a very vivid imagination as a child – I find it harder now. Most writers find it a struggle, I think. That’s the joy of it!

What do you like most about writing?

Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and it has kept me sane. Even if something awful happens, I think ‘well, at least I can write about it.’ I almost hope something awful will happen so I can write about it.

Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

No! But I remember I used to get my friend to give me a subject to write a poem about at school and I’d write her a poem, pretty much on a daily basis. Such a show off.

When did you realise that being a ‘writer’ was something you wanted to aspire to?

I’ve always just been a writer. My boyfriend disagrees with me, but I say you either are a writer or you aren’t. It’s not something you pick up. It’s not a hobby. It’s in you or it’s not. It’s more of an affliction than a leisure pursuit. No sane person would take it up by choice. Most writers feel guilty when they’re not writing – I definitely do.

As well as books, you’ve had poetry published, have your own TV blog and you help run a writing group. Which style of writing do you get the most satisfaction over? Where would you like it to all lead?

I don’t mind. As long as I’m writing, I’m happy. I like writing in all different styles. I also write for a living, so you think I’d probably be sick of it, but I’m not. I really enjoy writing my blog because it’s just opinions on a page and doesn’t need an edit. First Aid Kit Girl required years of slog! But of course you get the most satisfaction from that once it’s in your hand.

Your book and poems have a very different feel to your blog. Do you think that the different formats help you tap into different emotions or that one style of format lends itself better to a particular kind of thought process than another?

I just think people just have different sides to their character. I can be very silly and very opinionated but with my fiction writing I try harder to write the best sentence possible. I go over it again and again.

Who are your favourite authors? Do you read a lot? Do you think you need to read a lot to become a good writer?

I do think you need to read a lot to be a good writer, and I don’t read nearly enough. I could blame modern technology but I think I’m just lazy. I used to read constantly. My friend’s reading list puts me to shame. My favourite writers are all sort of dystopian misery guts; Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palahunik and Irvine Welsh. My favourite writer has only ever written two books, though, and that’s Carol Topolski. I think her debut novel Monster Love is the best book I’ve ever read; truly chilling but almost a love story at the same time. She has a really smart turn of phrase, too – I’m envious of her. I wonder why she’s not very prolific and it gives me hope! I also read a lot of Morrissey books. Every Morrissey book that comes out, even though I know it all! If you’ve ever read Morrissey and Marr, you’ll know it’s like doing an A Level in Morrissey. That’s my sort of thing.

Tell me a bit about your course in Creative Writing at Middlesex. How helpful was it?

Extremely. It was initially writing and publishing but I specialised in creative writing. It beat all the clichés out of me. I learnt all the obvious stuff like show and not tell, but it was brilliant. The image and imagination section was so useful, reading stuff like The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and seeing how a banana could be described so exotically really surprised me. It’s not my style of writing but it showed me what was possible. I wrote a novella about a girl with a terminal illness where she can’t sleep, and having a deadline forced me to finish it. The course was also really fun. As part of a group we wrote a sitcom called Studmuffins which was about a bakery which was next door to a sex shop, but the joke was that all the dirty stuff happened in the bakery, not the sex shop. Unfortunately, that was our only joke, but it was a good one. It’s really hard to write scripts, and to write by committee, actually! I think I can only write comedy unintentionally. I also wrote my dissertation on Eastenders, which I enjoyed, although I’ve given up watching it now – terrible writing.

You’re book has been described as a ‘darker Bridget Jones’ – how do you react to that? Is it good/bad? Would you liken it to anything else you’ve read?

I’ve not read Bridget Jones, and I wouldn’t touch it, but I take it as a compliment because I think it’s a comment on the internal monologue, not the rubbishy romances. The same person said Catcher in the Rye but I wouldn’t be so bold. It’s just one voice, one perspective, so if you like that sort of thing, you’ll probably like it. I like books and TV all set in one place or one room. It makes me feel safe.

Where do you want to go next? In a fantasy world, I would love to be a novelist and a TV columnist. But to be honest, my life’s work is done. I’ve got my book out. I’m happy.

First Aid Kit Girl out now

Girl meets razorblade meets boy…

We have some super exciting news! We are proud to announce that The Green Press has published it’s latest novel, First Aid Kit Girl by first-time author, Lynsey Rose. You can buy it here, and it will be on Amazon very shortly.
The book is a black comedy, a story about oppression, hope and self-harm. Read Lynsey’s Next big thing interview to find out more about what the novel is about. You can also like First Aid Kit Girl on Facebook.

Keep your eye on Lynsey’s blogs Extol and Exitainment for more information.

You can also follow Lynsey on Twitter or find out more about her here.

It’s cold outside… fancy a poem about an affair?

Another unsatisfying sex session with Miss Lynsey Rose.

Aftermath

I knew it would be the end if we did it.
I imagined how it would be.
I pictured it like a bad film
The door slamming behind you
Me throwing myself on the crumpled bed
I even knew what I’€™d think:
€œWe€™’re damned€.
I compiled a play-list of music to sob to
All the hard stuff,
From weepy as hell
to unbridled anger.
I was really going to
relish it.
I was really looking forward to it.
As it was
It didn€’™t work out like that.
We did it on the couch
At lunchtime.
It took us 15 minutes to get home
And back
So time was against us.
Plus the conversation about
Shall we/ shan’€™t we?
took a few minutes more.
But we basically already had.
It wasn€’™t ideal
I wasn’€™t wearing my seamless knickers,
Or my decent skirt.
Afterwards,
the first thing you said was,
€˜We must never do that again.€™
Charming.
You looked shell-shocked.
And we couldn’€™t find the condom-wrapper
to hide.
I had to drive us back to work
And guilty songs came on the radio
One you knew
And one I knew.
I tried to keep your head together
When I just wanted to
Sellotape my own mind up.
This wasn’€™t how I planned it.
Back in the office
Emailing about the aftermath
Knowing it would
never happen again
I wished for one more chance
To fuck up in style.

 

A smoking break with Lee Webber…

We may be green but we like a fag and a snog from time to time.


Vigil

Nicotine drops you
headfirst. Thoughts kick and bruise you.
A year since she left
you’€™re scratching your head,
pulling on a cigarette,
sat on pale-brown grass.
Hard for her, you’€™d yield-
firm lips, Vaseline kisses
dancing cold on your neck.
Afterwards a fag,
warm beer and sunburn, silence,
her hand on your wrist.
You never said €˜stay€™.
Was it right to sweeten her
with doormat eyelids,
only to sit mute,
your yellow lungs like cowards
breathing back the words?
Now cold, shadow set,
you offer ash to darkness,
suck your cigarette.

Mr Achampong is back…

Here’s an extract from writer Jeff Achampong’s latest novel…

€˜What do you mean I need a pass?€™ Kwik was right in the face of the doorman who stood patrolling the VIP area. €˜Were on the list!€™ The doorman took a step back and wiped the spray from Kwik’s tirade from his forehead €“ and iPad screen. He cleared his throat. €˜I€™m sorry, sir, you are not on the list because there is no list. You need a pass to access the VIP room, so would you mind stepping aside? You€™re blocking the entrance.€™
€˜Yeah, blood, come out the fucking way.€™ All five of Kwik€™s group turned to see a crowd of eight or nine guys €“ none of them looking like they were going to make it past the dress code check at the entrance.
Kwik turned to Darron and then back to the group noticing that they all had bottles in hand. €˜Man, what€™s your problem, shut the fuck up and wait your turn. Don€™t you see I€™m chatting here?€™ Jasmine and Sharon €“ realising that this had the potential to go bad at any moment €“ quickly unravelled themselves from Darron and Kwik, backing away.
€˜The problem€™s yours, bruv, not mine.€™ One of them, who was holding a champagne bottle, pushed through to the front and went nose-to-nose with Kwik. Darron who had seen this exact scenario play out many times before where Kwik was involved, was about to push the guy back, but iwas taken by surprise as his friend Bram pushed him to the side and muscled his way between the two; careful to make sure he did not spill his drink on either. €˜Chill out man, this ain’t worth it.€™
By this time, the Beastman from the main door appeared from inside the restricted area. He didn€™t need utter a word; the smile, along with his utterly impressive but surely steroid-created physique, was enough for all parties to know that Bram was probably right. Champagne-bottle man stepped back a pace from Kwik, took a swig from his bottle and looked over the two girls. €˜Any of you gals wanna come in VIP? Come party with us. Fuck these losers.€™ The doorman lifted the barrier and they bundled past Kwik, Bram and Darron and went inside. At least two of them made sure they stepped on Kwik€™s shoes on the way past, and Bram noted that none of them showed any sort of pass. Sharon and Jasmine looked at each other and then followed them through the barrier before Beastman slammed it shut.
The three of the group left delicately made their way up to the rooftop terrace which was inhabited by a dozen or so smokers, as well as a few couples chatting. They found a table and Kwik lit up a Marlboro.
Bram was first to speak, €˜Well, that when less than well€™.
Kwik took a drag on his cigarette. €˜Shut up Bram, I don€™t need your analysis right now.€™