Write On! interviews author Elizabeth Freeman
Elizabeth Freeman has published two books about local history (Stenlake Publishers) with her son, Jason. She’s keen on research and uses it in her writing. She’s also a poet who enjoys writing ballads. With Pen to Print, she’s published a pamphlet: Poems From Here And There. Her most recent work is an autobiographical travel book, witten from letters and diaries: Overland By Bus, London To Bombay (1966).
WO: How would you describe your writing to someone new to it?
EF: My writing is mainly topographical/local history. I have masses of material from research, which I love doing. A lot is autobiographical, or factual writing.
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest project?
EF: My latest book is Overland By Bus, London To Bombay. In 1966, when I was 25, I went on a bus journey from London to Bombay – nine weeks travel in all. I had kept a detailed diary of the journey and wrote letters home, which I kept. I also took photos and had them made into slides. I wanted to put that material into a book, because it’s not possible to do that journey now.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
EF: I’ve been inspired by courses I’ve attended and people I’ve met. Pen to Print has greatly inspired me. The course Claire Buss ran about how to self publish inspired me to use the material I’d collected and write my story. I like to write personal stories and everyone shares the same thoughts and feelings, even if they have different religions or views. Sarah Tinsley’s course about writing our own experiences, Writing Yourself Into A Book, was an inspiration. Especially when I wondered who’d ever read a book about me and she said: “I would.”
WO: Recently, Write On! has explored the theme of ‘Realities And Perspectives’. With that in mind, we have two questions for you. Do you always write realistically, or aim for alternative realities? Can you always confidently write from someone else’s perspective?
EF: I can write from what I read, especially from research. I can use that information to tell people’s stories. What I find difficult is moving away from reality and into the imaginative world.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
EF: Have a go. It’s not until you’ve had a go that you know you can do it. It seems as though you can write anything if you put your mind to it.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
EF: I have all the rest of my journeys to write about. I think there’s enough for three more books. I recently attended Howard Linskey’s workshop How To Write A Book From Beginning To End. He said you can write a book in a year. I now have a timetable to help me and this included re-reading, editing and completing the books. Hopefully by Christmas!
After that, I have enough for about ten different local history books.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
EF: Rupert The Bear – such a nice-natured creature, so kind, and a good example to children everywhere.
Overland By Bus London To Bombay 1966 is available to buy from Amazon.
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Have a go. It’s not until you’ve had a go that you know you can do it. It seems as though you can write anything if you put your mind to it.