You’re a writer, performer, comic and academic – how did you develop such a diverse skill set? The simple answer is, over time if you start things and finish them you actually get things done. Looking at it more abstractly, I follow things that interest me and I see that these professions are all naturally linked – each is just another tool for exploring an idea. I was originally a nurse and I still see this as the bedrock from where I explore things – each patient was a character that had a life, and a story that went with that – enmeshed in concepts of life and death and every microdot of existence in between.
Are you a natural performer, or did you have to overcome stage fright?
I wasn’t a natural performer though some friends reckon I was a natural clown at school. I did a lot of work in my twenties in improvisational performance that was a great training in thinking on my feet, being in front of people and making mistakes and having that be okay.
What’s one key tip for writers keen to improve their performance skills?
When people read a book with you as the author, you are invisible. When they come to hear you read you are not invisible. So don’t act like you are and try to hide by not looking at the audience. Look up and let them see your face and eyes and allow everyone to connect with you. They will buy into you as a person if they connect and your book is second to that.