Spotlight On Writers - Olivia Todd, an interview at Spillwords.com

Spotlight On Writers – Olivia Todd

Spotlight On Writers

Olivia Todd

@StoryMinded97

 

  1. Where, do you hail from?
I hail from the historic naval town of Portsmouth. Portsmouth has been home to a ceaseless supply of talented writers, including Charles Dickens and one of my guiding lights on creativity, Neil Gaiman, who grew up for a spell in Southsea. His fantastical novel Ocean at the End of the Land gifts its name to a road near our seafront. I hope to follow in the footprints of the great writers who have come before me, but fame has never been my end goal for writing. I love to create stories, poetry and characters, and if I can touch just one reader with my words, that will make me a successful writer.
  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

At risk of sounding cliché, I’ve always adored the sea. I feel blessed to live somewhere within walking distance of the rolling tides. They formed a gargantuan part of my childhood and probably ignited my imagination by providing a paradisiacal location for daydreaming. Commercial Road may be waning in the face of online shopping. Yet, I will forever be indebted to our still-standing Waterstones. Another place I have boundless gratitude for is my tiny local library, Beddows, for supporting my passion for reading. Without their books, I may never have developed such an intense obsession with words and the magic they possess.

  1. What turns you on creatively?

Everything. From music to films, overhearing snippets of intriguing conversations, my personal experiences, and topics that pique my curiosity. For example, the inspiration for my self-published sci-fi dystopian novella came from a Channel 4 documentary when designer babies and stem cell research was first brought into the public consciousness. Creative stimulus is everywhere, and I’m never short of ideas of what to write. Recently, I have been enjoying playing Dungeon and Dragons with my wonderful girlfriend. This emotionally moving game has provided a wonderful place to generate characters and practise dialogue through roleplay. Who knows, I may even write about the characters I have created one day.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?

This is a tricky question for me to answer. As dragons are renowned for hoarding treasure, I hoard words. Poetry is one of my favourite forms of writing. I adore the musicality of language. Therefore, I will attempt to use archaic in a poetic sentence.

Forevermore, I shall marvel at the silent arch of archaic as my imagination wanders through history, seeking forgotten inspiration.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

When it comes to writing, my biggest pet peeve is how junior schools teach creativity. I work as a learning support assistant, and I mean it literally when I say it destroys my soul to see how children never learn where inspiration comes from. Instead, they get presented with an inflexible boxing-up planning strategy that better suits a prison setting. This mind-numbing “activity” involves changing minor details of a dull prescribed text. You cannot teach a baby to run before it can crawl, so how can you teach editing before demonstrating how you can tap into your creative mind? The teachers then seem aghast when their pupils do not know how to use their imaginations. The children lack confidence in their ideas due to the rigidity of modelling, and in all honesty, their ideas are always so much more engaging than what they are supposed to follow. I hope to see improvements in this area and that children get the chance to run wild with their imaginations more often. Surprise, surprise, that when they do, their enjoyment magnifies tenfold. This autumn term, I saw it in action when they had free rein to write a story about a baby dragon invading our school. They were full of joy and witty storytelling. This is how it should be. Writing is supposed to be a challenging yet fun endeavour. Running a creative writing club for a pretend university scheme that my junior school runs during different terms has been a true highlight of the academic year thus far.

  1. What defines Olivia Todd?

Similar to question four, I find this a perplexing question to answer. I struggle to define myself. However, I know what is integral to my identity. I have an insatiable curiosity when it comes to learning about subject areas that I am passionate about. At the forefront would be history and psychology. Creative writing will come as no shock to those who have taken the time to read this interview. Like many other writers, I am also an avid reader and love nothing more than getting lost in a great story or poem. Another hyperfixation I have revolves around my lifestyle as an equestrian. I am blessed to have owned my mare Alaska for eleven years. She is a 15.2hh Irish cob cross and features in the portrait photo I have submitted along with this interview. She is my entire world and gives me endless joy. My current writing project is the draft of a historical fiction novel, Even Flowers Cry, set in the Renaissance during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, playing with the idea of wise women, witches and testimony. I hope to be finished soon with a completed first draft so the real work can commence. I want to conclude this interview by thanking anyone who has taken the time to read and a huge thank you to Spillwords for featuring my work. I plan to share more writing on the platform soon.

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This publication is part 386 of 389 in the series Spotlight On Writers