Elizabeth Buchan - An inspiring story-teller!
Starting off as a blurb-writer, Elizabeth Buchan soon struck gold with her fiction and non-fiction books. Besides having 10 novels and quite a few awards to her credit, her short stories have also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Following is our interaction with Elizabeth:
1. How would you describe Elizabeth Buchan in 3 words?
Determined, curious and (I hope) a story-teller.
2. While growing up as a teenager did you always want to become a writer or did you have some other career plans?
I think I always wanted to be a writer but I did not realize it when I was at school, only that books absorbed me above other things. It was not until I was at university that the desire crystallized to be a person who put the print onto the page.
3. Who have been your role models in life?
The great writers. The women who work in the home, or in communities, schools and institutions, who do so not expecting to be singled out but who carry on regardless. My mother.
4. How do you feel writing unleashes the woman in you?
I see the world – obviously – from a female point of view which, I think in the company of other female writers, helps to redress the very male dominated arts and politics. I am very passionate about writing from this perspective but, I hasten to say, this does not mean I dislike men or a wish to shut them out of my fiction. Far from it.
5. What do you enjoy writing more, fiction or non-fiction? Why?
Fiction… but I would love to have a stab at a biography.
6. You have worn the hat of an editor as well, apart from being an author. Which is your favorite book that you have edited?
I am afraid I was not an editor long enough to develop a new, young, brilliant writer which I think is every editor’s dream. That would have been my favourite editing job if it had happened.
7. If feasible, can you share any insight about your next book for the readers?
Its title is: I Can’t Begin to Tell You (Penguin, August 2014). It is set in Denmark and the United Kingdom in 1942-3 during the Second World War and tells the story of some of the women who helped to gather intelligence and stir up resistance. One of its characters is a middle aged woman called Mary whose job it is to listen to the agents sending messages back to the United Kingdom in Morse code. I loved writing about her. It a war story, but also a love story and a spy story.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Shakespeare. George Eliot. Gustave Flaubert. Ian McEwan. Anne Tyler. Rose Tremain.
9. What are your thoughts on women empowerment?
Huge strides have been made in the UK for example but there is still plenty of work to be down on female empowerment and gender equality.
10. Are you glad to be a woman? Why?
I am delighted to be female. I have been so lucky and I have been given the chance to live a life on many levels and I hope that I've managed to do that well.