Pauline E Dungate’s story “Trapped in the Web” appears in The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2.
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
I’ve always loved reading. We were introduced to the local library as soon as we were old enough to look after a book properly. At school a group of us used to make up stories and it went on from there. The only fiction I’ve had published are short stories but like most writers there are several novels in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. I also write poetry and lots of reviews (both under the name of Pauline Morgan.
Birmingham has such a diversity of people living in it. Most cultures have their own myths. I like the idea that the basis for them has a root in reality and just as you can’t totally leave your heritage behind when you migrate so why should the myth figures stay behind. For those who don’t know Birmingham, the Number 11 bus route circles the city. You can get trapped in circles. There are also elements in the story which relate to things others have told me, but they are there for colour.
You’ve travelled extensively – do you have any interesting stories from your travels? What locations are do you find particularly inspiring?
Until the last few years, travelling had to be confined to school holidays (I was a teacher) but without that restraint the opportunity to go to far off places has increased. Mostly, we go with a company running nature orientated tours but that has meant finding the wild areas in places such as Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and Armenia. They are likely to turn up in stories or poems.
What’s the most important thing you have learned about writing?
Keep trying. Not every editor likes what you do but eventually you’ll find one who likes some of it.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most tricky?
Beginnings and endings. I had to start this story three times before it felt right. At the end there is always a temptation to go on after the story has finished. Sometimes it takes a good editor to say stop.
Room 101 time: what one genre cliché would you get rid of?
All aliens look humanoid and speak English, sorry American. I’m sure some are fluent Chinese speakers.
What are you up to next? (Published works/conventions/random fun stuff!)
Rest of the year is pretty busy – three cons, lots of books to review, stories to write, a serious Milford crit session before heading to the Greater Antilles (Caribbean) for three weeks in December.