Name Iwrite as C S Burrough and my name is Colin.
Where are you from
I began life in the UK then made Australia home 30+ years ago.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was an only child, studied Performing Arts fulltime until leaving school, then forged an entertainment industry career. I worked on many West End productions and toured shows internationally before seeking out other experiences about midway through my working life. I’ve never been a family person, value my independence and prefer cats to people – I just have the one silver tabby who is enormously special and presently demanding I stop typing this to pay attention to her. I ride a modest sports scooter and spend as much time as I can in Sydney’s fabulous outdoors.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
It’s Spring in here, I went to iconic Bondi Beach yesterday, my historical novel Or Forever Be Damned was released in Kindle edition recently and is next due for paperback release this month. It’s available at amazon.com
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In my teens and early twenties I travelled extensively with my theatre work, keeping road journals. These recorded initial impressions of places I’d later revisit and review my opinions of. My deeper thoughts and more abstract reflections were explored this way, as I matured. The page became an invaluable confidante and sounding board. I never set out to make writing an art form, it developed incidentally as a result of my written expression.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first story published, at the age of 30.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to depict interesting people and places, make telling observations that readers would connect with. It’s a way of relating, a form of remote intimacy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m often told it’s evocative. I aim to to transport readers to other times and places, whilst inhabiting different characters’ internal worlds, comparing their separate personal realities in any given circumstance common to them. I explore the differing viewpoints that form a relationship’s dynamics.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It sounded like the crux of a life defining ultimatum. Life presents you with a chance at something. Whether we use up certain of life’s chances shapes and determines our future. It’s the classic human dilemma (decision making, direction choosing, risk taking), the source of much inner conflict.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That human conflict usually involves legitimate differing viewpoints, it’s seldom as cut and dried as one party being right and another wrong. Also that human nature has both a timeless primal side and an accompanying flipside, a more subjective side peculiar to times and places inhabited. Yesteryear’s people placed in today’s situations would make different choices and have different outcomes. Similarly, those stuck in one part of the world are limited to its available options. Unless they get out! Breaking free of one’s roots is usually far easier in today’s world than it was in times past.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s very realistic according to the reader reviews. As historical fiction its very core is realism, authenticity, fact rather than fantasy.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, the characters are completely fictional with no real life counterpart, the settings mostly times and places I never inhabited. I have, however, used my extensive knowledge of theatrical lore to form the backdrop.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
In fiction, the great nineteenth century classics, especially Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Also the later works of my favourite author, Jean Rhys. But I’m more a reader of historical non-fiction and biographies, from which I’ve benefited greatly.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jean Rhys. I think she was pure genius.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
No. I’m an old fashioned reader.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m spreading awareness on animal equality issues whilst slowly contemplating a collection of short stories.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
More a vocation. ‘Career’ implies financial dependence, which is for me is antithetical to creative integrity. Industrializing any art form I see as necessarily compromising. Careers in more commercial writing than the literary genres are maybe different, but I’d never want to be placed having to churn out words just to keep food on the table. I imagine the strain soul destroying. There would be no joy in that. I take as much time as I need to make my writing special and meaningful, regardless how ‘marketable’ it’s considered.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, it’s exactly as it should be.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Or Forever be Damned is an historical saga spanning eight decades. It follows the lives and families of two very different women who escape northern England’s slums in the 1930s Slump. When Fate brings these duel protagonist/antagonists together, their instinctive, irrational loathing of each other is instant and remains lifelong. The reader is unpressured into siding with either woman, with each having sympathetic qualities and flaws blossoming as they mature
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting first drafts done. I go for long periods with no words coming, then words erupt from me faster than my fingers can type. If only creativity was a more rational beast.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
The late Jean Rhys. Her unique style has never been replicated. Her combined rawness of expression and literary skill remains breathtaking. Her incisive take on humanity’s warped ways is so bravely, bluntly expressed, yet so poetically formed on the page. She was baring her soul in all her work. It was also often what she didn’t write – the unstated parts, the inferred elements that she left to the reader’s imagination, rather than spelling them out – that gave her prose such impact. No other writer has conveyed so specifically my own personal experience of life. It’s as if she read my mind decades before I was born.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, for this one I needed to stay anchored in my regular focus zone. In the past, though, I’ve got a lot written whilst travelling, but not journeying anywhere specifically for any one project.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The paperback print cover was specially designed by acclaimed Sydney artist Shayne Chester, a brilliant painter and photographer. He spent weeks reading the entire book first, not just the synopsis, to get the feel. We also discussed it over several weeks whilst he came up with several options. I love his beautifully eerie, evocative end result, which perfectly expresses my vision of this saga.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My own insistence on historical accuracy and precision of detail. As it follows numerous characters through eight decades, I spent over two years painstakingly researching, situating each person geographically, professionally etc. and, of course, dressing them accordingly.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing my most recent novel, I learned that hard-plotting, working to self-imposed deadlines, in fact ‘industrial strategy’ must sometimes be avoided to produce the best possible results.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Try to avoid replicating mass produced material to jump onto the fast-selling gravy train – write what you know is your own special line. Integrity resonates and in the long run a dozen genuinely devoted fans are of truer value than any annual royalty income.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just thank you for ‘getting’ me (I write for you only).
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Nobody made me laugh more than Lucille Ball in her TV shows. Nothing makes me cry more than human cruelty to animals, particularly all factory farming, chemical product testing for ‘beauty’ and of course hunting.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would
To meet and why?
Queen Elizabeth I. She would have been such a fascinating person. Otherwise, her great adversary Mary Queen of Scots, equally fascinating.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m into genealogy and have my family tree back to 843 AD.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
British TV drama ‘Silk’ / Big screen period dramas and films noir of the Joan Crawford /Bette Davis type.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Home cooked vegan dishes / Gold / 1960s sounds.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Work with animals.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/csburrough
Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/csburrough