When Marketing Officer Abi heard that someone was writing a novel in the Library, she knew she had to go and have a chat! Abi caught up with Jacob one afternoon to find out more about book, his inspiration, and what it’s like to write in a public space.
Abi – I heard you’ve been coming into the Library to write a book! Can you tell me anything about it?
Jacob – I mostly started off writing short stories but then two years ago I started writing a longer story. As I kept going, it just kept going on and on, I was like OK, this is probably going to be a novel. So yeah, it wasn’t something that I’d really planned but I’m happy that I did it.
A - So you’ve finished your book now?
J - Yes, I’ve finished the novel and I’m just trying to find someone to publish it now. It’s a balancing act between, do I spend my time finding someone to publish it, or do I write more!
A – Where’s your favourite spot when you’re writing here?
I mostly write in the Nook but sometimes I’ll go up to the Hayward Room if I need somewhere a bit quieter. I usually have music or some ambient noise in my headphones anyway, just to keep out any sound.
A – Is there a reason you choose to come to the Library in particular?
J - The atmosphere – I tried writing at home during lockdown but it just wasn’t really the same as actually coming into the Library and being surrounded by all these books. I think it’s just a really nice space to do it and its much more conducive to work than home.
I think the thing that makes the Library for me is all the work that people to do make it a space where everyone is welcome. You can just do some work and go and read a book. Sometimes when I’m writing, and I think ‘oh actually I’m not quite sure about this’ I’ll go and find a book about it and read up on it then come back to writing. Half the books that I used for research when I was writing the novel I got from the Library.
A – What are you reading at the moment?
Most of the stuff I tend to read is pretty old! At the moment I’m reading The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, which was written in 11th Century Japan, and is generally considered to be the world’s first novel. It’s got over a thousand pages, with lots of illustrations, plus notes so that those who aren’t necessarily clued up on the culture can read along and gain more understanding.
One of my favourites is H. P. Lovecraft – he’s pretty much the grandfather of cosmic horror. It’s not to do with serial killers and ghosts, but more to do with the unknown and man’s relationship with it. He’s one of those authors that not many people know about, but when you read his works you’ll see his influences across pop culture, sci-fi and horror.
A – Do you have any tips for new writers?
The first short story that I wrote was really closely connected to what I was reading at the time and what I was into. So I’d say, to start with, go with what you know. Think about the other authors that you like, reading their work and looking at how they write or build a story, and then find your own style from that.
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