This is the last and final segment of Share Your Stories for now. The last person to complete the series is David Belbin- a local author living within Nottingham. David Belbin has written a varying array of written work: From short stories to novels, adult anthologized stories to plays. Here’s what he had to say.
AS: How and when did you know you were supposed to write?
DB: I used to make up stories for my class at Primary School but didn’t decide to become a writer until I was 18, when I dropped out of doing a Law degree after 4 weeks. In retrospect, it had always been staring me in the face.
AS: When did you start to display a talent?
DB: In the run up to Christmas, my junior school teacher had me tell a serialized story about an escaped green monkey to my class at the end of every morning session. I did no planning, just made it up as I went along. Clearly, the teacher fancied a rest at the end of the morning, but, as I recall, I kept the class engaged and possibly even eager for more. Even before that, at my infant school, I was accused of plagiarizing a poem that I’d made up myself and punished for it, an incident I fictionalized in ‘The Pretender’.
AS: How did you go about making your literary name?
DB: I had five years of constant work and publishing failure before Ambit took a story in 1989. A couple of weeks later, I got my first commission to write a Young Adult novel. So I started to get a name for myself 25 years ago, but writers have to constantly reinvent themselves and my career has suffered major collapses at least three times since then. Determination is all.
AS: Your works, do you use the method of writing what you’d like to read yourself, or do you write more for the audience you have in mind?
DB: Depends. In my adult work, what I’d like to read. In my YA work a combo of what I think I’d like to read if I were a teenager today and what I – as an adult – think the readers needs to read/know
AS: Last words, what would your advice be for up and coming artists? Be it any form.
DB: The best advice I got starting out was to allow yourself ten years before making it, then, if you’re lucky, you might make it in five, which is what happened to me. As I said above, determination is all, provided you have both talent and a vocation. Lots of people can write well but are sensible enough not to try to do it for a living. Only hacks and the very lucky make lots of money and the Yorkshire writer I got that advice from ended his days in a Salvation Army hostel.