We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Aaron McMillan, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of April, 2016. His answers are candid, insightful and sincere. Through his words we are given a view into his world as a writer and what motivates and inspires him as a person. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in a small town by the sea called Deal in the English county of Kent. I have two older brothers and one younger sister. I’ve always enjoyed writing and my first project that I can remember was a primary school magazine that reviewed Sega and Nintendo games that me and my brother wrote and illustrated together. I didn’t attend College or University as this wasn’t practical for me but I am happy in a lot of ways as all of my early experiences I had from travelling, making new friends to starting new jobs helped me become who I am today. I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry but this was more of a secret hobby while at school. I wish I had listened to my English teacher’s advice at the time and continued writing. I’ve written hundreds of poems over the last five years, now starting to get my work out there. I regularly submit my work to literacy magazines and recently self-published my first book.
Has Living in the Highlands influenced your style of writing? How so?
Living in the Scottish Highlands hasn’t influenced my writing style but it has let me connect again with my writing self. It’s easy to move away from the reasons you write in the first place, you can get caught up in writing just because it’s what you do. Living in the Highlands has made me take a step back and look at the bigger picture in life. The beauty of the Highlands strikes me every time I go out to explore, it throws me into my writing and opens my mind.
What inspires you to write?
Life inspires me, memories are meant to be shared and thoughts are meant to be spoken. Writing helps me release a lot of emotions and lets me engage with myself on a level that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Life throws so many things at you, from meeting your one true love to losing them, from being a success to a failure; all these experience should be captured and my next book ‘On the Mind’ has seven different chapters with seven different emotions that will let you walk hand in hand with me on a journey of my life. I am happy to share my personal memories with people who wish to read about them.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
I always had a history book in my hand when I was young. I wanted to know all about World War Two all the way back to the Napoleonic War. I was inspired by the writers who could make me feel as though I was physically on the battlefield and experiencing the feelings that were portrayed through the writing. I remember handing in a story to my teacher about the Bosnian War. I must have only been seven or eight but she read it in front of me. She was upset at the end of it as she explained I had made her feel so much for the young character I was writing about. I continued writing short stories for myself on a regular basis and I enjoyed writing as it was a good distraction from life at home.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
There are so many ways that I like to write. They range from a memory being triggered, seeing a beautiful sight to having an argument with someone. Sometimes I feel my writing process can be a little erratic as I find myself wanting to tell the story of what I’m thinking but I want to reach the end before I’ve started the beginning. I tend to find myself writing when the moment takes me there. I often find myself in one of my favourite bars or a stroll along the River Ness when I am writing down my next poem.
What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
I enjoy once a project is finished and when your work is published for all to see, I relish in the reactions of the readers feeling and emotion. I enjoy when someone reads my poetry, pauses, then reads over it again. I try and leave my poetry so it is open to interpretation and let the reader decide the message.
Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
When writing ‘In the Highlands’ I debated for a while whether to add the photography but I wanted to give the reader the visual impact as well as the poem itself. Everything lives in this world; we are all connected and it is a good thing to let the reader see their world come alive.
What do you most enjoy reading?
I really enjoy reading when you can escape the reality. You can imagine you’re the character of the book or it can simply take you away from the world that you need a break from. The fantasy world you can get from turning those pages is so much more than you could ever get from anything else.
Do you have a favorite movie or song? Why?
I really do enjoy watching a good movie, usually rooting for the bad guys. I have to say I’m a Scarface and Godfather fan. These films have it all. Rising from nothing and having it all to having it all taken away from you. The Godfather films show you the loyalty and deceit your own family can show you; I like that aspect of the films. I don’t have a favorite song but indie music inspires me. Bands such as Garbage and Blur for example and I do enjoy listening to Buddy Holly on occasion.
What are your ambitions as a writer?
I just want to keep writing. I have so much content to put into other books and it would be great to get my best work published. I am keen to write children’s books and I am currently in the process of writing my first novel. This has some time to go yet but it’s always nice to have a focus to keep things fresh.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to still be living in the Scottish Highlands with my partner Kelly, who has helped me greatly with my work and motivated me when I have found times difficult. I’m hoping to be reading poetry to others and in turn, inspiring others to write themselves.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I really do find writing an escape from everyday life. To be in a world that’s your own; to find a release that’s exhilarating. If there is one thing I would like to achieve, it would be to inspire someone else to take up writing to experience what it can do for them and their life.
Aaron McMillan was born in Darwen, Lancashire in 1983. He recently moved to Inverness, Scotland. It is in the Highlands that he began to rekindle his love of writing, visiting, various beautiful and inspiring locations. Aaron believes that everything is poetry; that everything deserves to be written about.
Aaron has been published in several poetry books; Men of Words 2015, The Poetry Anthology 2016, Ripples in Verse and The Wider View. He has also has a book published titled ''In the Highlands''.