Janice Galloway is my favourite writer so I was thrilled when we were able to launch our magazine with her superb story, Peak. She recently published a new collection, Jellyfish, available from Freight Books, which showcases her incredible talent. If you’re a fan of short stories I really must ask you to buy/read a copy of this. It’s a masterclass.
I’m really chuffed that Janice agreed to take part in Smash Lits and answer my daft questions.
1. Do you have any recurring dreams?
1) Being in an institution or school and trying to pass for a natural member of that institution (one version of this was living in a sauna with only a towel for belongings);
2) Being on a bus heading somewhere very determinedly and realising it has no driver or other passengers after five minutes of just looking out of the window thinking I was safe;
3) Being alone in the dusk and looking out over low-lit moorland with a road winding through it, and someone waiting at the bus stop who may or may not be my mother –
Can I stop now? They go on forever.
2. Do you believe human beings can spontaneously combust?
Yes. Indeed, there have been times I wished I could.
3. You have to swap places with one other writer for a week. Who and why?
Balzac, because he wrote (longhand, obviously) very fast indeed and I can’t write anything fast by any means whatever.
4. Did you have an invisible friend when you were younger?
No. Another loss.
5. What’s your favourite sweet?
High quality – violet cream. Common or garden – Highland Toffee. I hope my dentist doesn’t see this.
6. Have you ever read someone else’s diary?
No. But my big sister read mine out loud at tea-time when I was 13.
7. Your writing is music, what style is it?
Varies. I can confidently say it’s never pub singalongs.
8. Bacon VS Tofu – who wins? Why?
Tofu because it is honourable and bacon kills things and I want to say the right thing instead of reveal my weakness.
9. What was the last text you sent?
Get onions. Get lots of onions.
10. What is the oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
A cardigan that was knitted by my sister and belonged to my mother. It’s TINY.
11. Have you ever had your fortune told?
Yes. I lived in a seaside town and the travelling fair (funfair, that is) came with a built-on fortune teller.
12. Who is your favourite Neighbours character?
I have never seen Neighbours. If there was a dog in it I would have liked that.
13. What’s your favourite swear?
14. What sandwiches would you have made for a picnic with George Orwell?
15. You obviously love words, do you have a favourite?
16. What’s the best thing ever?
A wild animal coming to give you a sniff and examine what you are out of curiosity. NB It must not be a spider.
17. Have you ever had a nickname?
No. At home as a child, I answered to “Here, you” more than anything else if that counts.
18. Do you have any writing rituals?
Other than occasionally weeping with rage and frustration, no.
19. Your character in “burning love” calls Sylvia Plath “the Boston Harpie” – what would they call you?
The character in the story would probably call me “Who?”
20. What question should I have asked you?
Can we send you a cheque?
Janice, you’re amazing. Thank you for supporting our new magazine and thank you for writing your words. Dear everyone, please buy Jellyfish, you won’t be disappointed.