Gail Ashton is a freelance writer, poet, editor, reviewer and sometime academic.
I’m a born and bred Brummie currently hiding out in the hills and moors of east Cheshire. I publish creative writing with Cinnamon Press – poetry and prose – and non-fiction books on medieval afterlives with a range of publishers. I have a PhD in medieval poetry.
Writing inspirations? Real-life, people, dogs, nature, landscape and place. I love to walk, read, garden, cook, be out of doors,daydream.
10 things you don’t want or need to know about me
1. In another life I’d be River Song (Doctor Who)
2. I adore department stores like Rackhams in Birmingham or the old Lewis’s with its Santa’s Grotto (yes, we’ve snuck in, minus the brat!) and fabulous window displays. I’ve also been known to lose the will to live in John Lewis where I wander aimlessly looking at things I don’t need and can’t afford, in places I’d never normally be, like haberdashery and kitchen appliances (but how I love their handbags and shoes).
3. I’d do almost anything for cake and/or chocolate.
4. I like cheap trashy TV: Coronation Street I never miss…Strictly…Eurovison…Grand Designs…cookery programmes. Favourite relaxation method (apart from cake?): Escape to the Country or just Rightmove – at random, anywhere in the country, price no object (though I’d really love to live on the Northumberland heritage coast).
5. I’m animal-mad. What? You knew that already? Well I’d just like to ask how come Paul O’ Grady, Martin Clunes, and yes, dull as ditchwater Jennifer Saunders (how, people?) get to do programmes about horses and dogs and I don’t? And I’m not proud of it but I have been known to elbow small children out of the way so I can feed deer, stroke the pets in the corner, and press against the glass for a better view of the orang-utans in the zoo. Stick to lollipops and plastic dinosaurs you unappreciative little beggars you.
6. I’m Caliban in disguise. I weep at music (well most things actually) and usually know nothing about it. The strains of Nessun Dorma start me sobbing even though I know little about Italian opera – which I do love – and nothing about the repertoire of Classic FM, which I don’t. I’m always singing (but can’t) and like to dance (ditto). What do I like? Mostly dance-funk soundtracks, Roxy Music, Madonna (goddess). Adele gets on my nerves but I like Emeli Sande and Lana del Ray. Lady Gaga? The most awesome woman on the planet. I am a middle-aged woman who lost her mojo many moons ago. Watch out for me in the home with my zimmer.
7. On a similar note, I have a PhD in medieval lit and am a total pleb. Shakespeare? Ballet? Bored already. Read Chaucer for pleasure? No thanks. Can’t read Anglo-Saxon: hurrah for translations and films. At International Conferences (caps compulsory) I skipped the lectures to listen to the (old, real) Sugababes on my i-pod. Classical music goes over my head (unless it’s Italian opera). I don’t like really long books anymore. I’m okay with cathedrals though!
8. I’m an overgrown child. Okay, so I’m great with your kids because I like climbing trees, making stuff up, having gross-out conversations, and will enjoy playing with their dolls and assorted cuddly soft toys. But I can use expletives I didn’t know I knew. I find well-staged jokes about wind and burping hilarious (think Miranda, with knobs on). adore animations like Shrek, Monsters Inc and Sing. And I’m ashamed to admit that a few weeks ago, in the heat of the moment (therein lies a tale) I called someone a four-eyed bleep. Please don’t laugh. It encourages me.
9. I’m crazy about sci-fi and magic/supernatural stuff. But not in books. Game of Thrones – though I hated the violence – , The Last Kingdom (ditto), Doctor Who, Torchwood (till it crossed the Atlantic and lost the plot and its heart), Harry Potter, the films and the books, the Northern Lights trilogy…I read The Hunger Games, all 3, back to back in 2 days. I love Atwood’s dystopian fiction and think Winterson’s The Daylight Gate is the best thing she’s done for a long time.
10. Did I tell you I am opinionated and can talk for England?
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