Hello Jo, thank you for the invite. I’m pleased to be here. I studied Geography as part of my B.Ed and qualified as a teacher. I’m also a qualified RGN (nurse), but had to leave both behind after having two 13 hour heart operations in a 5 month stay in St.Thomas’ in 2008. After a couple of years of recuperation I decided to give writing a go. I have attended a few retreats in England, France and Italy and slowly picked up the basics of how to approach writing a novel. I’m on the second draft of that as well as editing a flash fiction piece for a competition in November.
I was an avid traveller, having ben to New Zealand three times, Australia and Japan twice and numerous countries in Europe, especially the Nordic countries. I could quite happily live in Finland. I still like travelling but my partner is bored with it and she no longer wishes to, so I go off on my own.
You’re part of the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme, what made you join and what does this involve?
I attended the Festival of Romance awards weekends in 2012 and 2013, meeting lots of faces to names from Facebook, making a lot of good friends some of whom suggested I apply to the NWS, which I duly did and got on. I have received a lot of good advice, but due to circumstance did not send in my work, so hopefully I will get on next year and will have something ready to send earlier.
Who are your favourite authors and what do you like most about their work?
Favourites include Emily Barr, Haruki Murakami, Donna Tartt, Nick Hornby, Peter James, Lisa Jewell, Matt Dunn and Stephen King. Their ability to continue to write page turners never ceases to amaze me.
You’re a huge Arsenal fan. Has that been a long term thing? Have you ever played football yourself?
Yes, I have supported Arsenal all my life, it runs in the family. My mother and I were season ticket holders at Highbury in the 70’s and I am now a silver member which enables me to get match day tickets if I so wish and can afford, which is not often. I did play football to the age of 16 when I dislocated my kneecap which put paid to that. I had a trial with Southampton when I was 14.
You’re obviously a great foodie. What are your favourite dishes. Do you cook at home?
Food plays a big part in my life. My mother was a trained chef and I learnt from her at an early age. I do all the cooking, I find it relaxing and see it as an artform, something to be created. I love cooking any chicken dish and attempting all kinds of fish dishes. I also love baking, making all our bread and cakes for residents meetings.
Like me you’re a music lover. Who are your favourite artists? Did you ever play in a band?
Music lover is an understatement. Having been taken to see The Beatles twice by my parents I have loved music ever since. I have a collection of well over 40K and love to keep bang up to date with the continual changing trends in music. Amongst staunch favourites are The Smiths, Pink Floyd, Laura Marling, The Beatles, John Grant, Bombay Bicycle Cub, Tom Waits, Sigur Ros, Roxy Music and Coldplay.
I never played in a band but learnt the piano as a youngster.
And lastly, you are having a dinner party for four celebs. What would be on the menu and who would you invite?
Starter of tomatoes and avocado with a lemon dressing; main would be Sea Bass with samphire, Jersey royals and green beans or ratatouille for vegetarians. Desert (not my forte) a fresh fruit salad with ice-cream or cream. A selection of good wine, mineral water and fruit juice for non-drinkers.
Invitations go to Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Alan Bennett and Stephen Fry. Should make for an interesting evening.
You can catch up with Les on Facebook (Les Moriarty) and Twitter (@lesLondon). His website, he tells me, is currently a WIP.