Monday 12 December 2016

Day 12: Owning It by Clare Weze

What gave you the idea for your Baubles story?

It’s set near my old home, and going back there after a long time away enabled me to see it through new eyes. That new view can sometimes be rose-tinted, which is what’s happened to my character, Bea. It’s a beautiful landscape, but it isn’t always good for us to own everything we think we need. I like Bea, and I might return to her. She isn’t based on anyone I know, and yet her whole backstory popped into my head in one lump, which is unusual.

How would you describe your normal style of writing?

I start with a character in a situation and build from nuggets I’ve collected over the years: dilemmas, conversational topics, odd events and intriguing ideas. My style varies from project to project. Sometimes it’s quite dense and detailed, but other stories require a looser, more open style. I don’t like one project to resemble another too closely, so if I see obvious stylistic patterns, I’m likely to rip it up and start again.

Have you published other material?

This is my fifth anthology publication. More details can be found on my website:

Do you have a writing routine?

I leave continuity notes for myself after each session, and break in gently by doing easy jobs left over from last time. When something takes off, I go with it until it’s played itself out, then return to the list. I try to write most days, even if there isn’t time for more than a couple of lines. Having children has taught me to grab the tiniest scrap of in-between time. Before they came along, I’d hold out for an entire day’s writing or nothing. It’s much better to have a regular routine.

Do you have a favourite place for writing?

I write best in my favourite café where the coffee is roasted in their sister premises next door. The gorgeous smell of roasting coffee beans hits me in the car park and draws me along the street. By the time I arrive, I’m ready to write, and I can’t listen to the radio or do housework in there, so I’m forced to focus. Background music and chat seem to help with this, and my theory is that the extra effort needed to concentrate works like blinkers on a horse. The resulting tunnel vision channels my focus.

Tell something quirky about you.

I’m half Nigerian and my name is pronounced ‘way-zay’. However, the spelling – Weze – looks like something you do when you have a rattly chest. Over the years I’ve had fun when people either bravely try to pronounce it or avoid saying it altogether. Evil of me. At one point I tried putting accents over the Es, but it rarely helped.

An extract from Owning It 



“Oh God, I’d forgotten how charming it is. Carry on over the river bridge. And now we go up a long, slow hill.” Bea points to the houses perched at the side of the road. “This is Thickrash Brow – honestly! So many architectural styles, but always the village feeling. Except they call it a ‘town’ because it has a town hall. How sweet is that! Isn’t it the smallest town imaginable?”

Daniel says, “There’s Lilliput.”

Bea’s heart starts thumping. She isn’t prepared for the ache of it. The physical longing. But what about the hurdle sitting next to her? Say it. Just say it. See what happens. If you say it, it becomes real. “No pollution,” she begins. “No Tube.” Her head soars now, matching the pace of her heart. “Think how it would be to drive up to your house and park outside it, just like that.”

“You’re not serious.”

The hill levels out and becomes moorland. They park beside a footpath leading to an enormous boulder with steps cut into the side. Bea grins at Daniel’s smile. “See? I knew you’d love that it’s called the Big Stone because it’s big and it’s a stone.”

Daniel is silent.

Bea presses on. “What do they call them – boulder deposits?”

“It’s an erratic, surely.”

“That’s the word.”

Erratic. Ties in with his opinion of her, no doubt: springing this on him before she’s even so much as seen a house. But she knows there’ll be a house. She just knows.

“So quiet. I always slept like a baby here,” Bea says as they walk across to the stone. “Left behind by a glacier. Or as legend has it, left by the Devil on his way back from… oh, I forget where.”

“It’s a nice view, but I don’t have to own it.”



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