Abigail Tarttelin Interview


Abigail Tarttelin is the author of award winning novel Golden Boy; a story both compelling and unique in its exploration of the ambiguous realm of being intersex. She is also part of the punchy pop outfit GIRLBOY. As if this wasn’t enough, she is also a native of Lincolnshire.

 Where are you right now?

 Writing, in England.

 What have you read recently that really buttered your popcorn?

 Tampa by Alissa Nutting. Brilliantly hideous.

 What can you tell us about what you’re writing at the moment?

Not much. It has to be approved by my agent and my editor before it becomes en route to being published. I will say it will be a book led and narrated by female characters, and that women having their own agency - whether for acts of greatness or wickedness - is a big theme. It will also be dark.

What’s the situation with Golden Boy becoming a film?

I have a manager in LA and a very smart producer working to find a good "package" i.e. writer/director to take it to a studio or channel. At the moment, we are looking at television.

You've been living in LA: What aspects of American/Californian sub culture could be adopted in the UK that might enrich things here - and what could we export to the States to enrich them?

The USA, and particularly West Coast, celebrate the culture of young people and the art created by them, and particularly the DIY ideology of people coming from nowhere, working hard, and becoming part of the zeitgeist. I am interested and enlivened by their celebration of zines, independent artists, roller derby, politics, skateboarding and creative innovation. I think the UK suffers from a thriving class system, London-centered investment, an art world too entrenched in historical notions of empire, a corporate hand in every pot, and a government disconnected from the people it should serve. Lastly, I think we school the creativity out of people, and that our system of curriculum and examinations teaches people how to think in one way, and dampens originality.

It's absolutely not all plain sailing in the US, and I would say what they could learn most from us is how to take care of people, with a solid welfare system, including free healthcare, because a person can fall through the gaps there in a way that is not possible at home.

What do you think of when you think of Lincolnshire?

My garden, birdsong, fresh air, the stars, the Milky Way galaxy away from the lights of the city, and Chinese food from The Golden Dragon in Woodhall Spa.

How did/do you deal with success at a relatively short time into a writing career? Does it put a lot more pressure on coming up with 'good' ideas?

Well, success is a long road, and it's not like you have one good book and you're let off. A successful writer to a lot of people is someone with a long career who makes a lot of money. I think that a successful writer is someone who moves people with what they write, and I like to keep that in mind. It's true that it puts more pressure on you in a sense, because writing becomes a business and not a pastime, and you have to learn to firmly separate the two ideas, because it is impossible to write truthfully, in your own voice, while also wondering what everybody else will think, and how commercial a book will be. On the other hand, I don't have the pressure of waitressing for minimum wage anymore, and I am very grateful for that.

Has Jennifer Lawrence heard 'Jennifer Lawrence' and what's been happening with GIRLBOY?

Thanks for asking! GIRLBOY has another track currently in production, which we hope to release this summer, with a video. We update our Facebook (www.facebook.com/girlboyartist) with news when we have it. I don't think Jennifer has heard the track yet - maybe we'll get it to her and see what she thinks...

Being 27 is that infamous age! Had any insights?

It's a magic year... Everything I do this year I'm excited about!

What encouragement can you give to anyone trying to get success with being a writer?

Don't miss out on your life because you have a goal. Make sure you live as well as work. Don't put anything off. Don't get educated so much that you have nothing to write about but education. Make sure you are happy with writing, because you get given a book with your name on it one day out of 700. Finish a book, because unfinished manuscripts only get published posthumously. Acknowledge that your book is not only your book, and that your agent, editor, publisher, and those who work on your book in PR, design, marketing and assisting at your publishers also share it. Be a responsible writer. Reach out for people. A thoughtful life is its own reward.