Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Authors' Creative Pursuits - Fanny Blake

Authors are a very creative bunch - and for many of them, this isn’t only with words on the page. From drawing to painting, pottery to needlework, composing to singing, here’s a look at some authors’ creative pursuits.

I am delighted to welcome 





Have you always been creative – and not just with words? 
I’ve always loved making things. It started when I was a kid and made hundreds of Airfix models. I was so pleased when my children got to an age when they enjoyed that too. My mum taught me to knit and embroider but I’ve been through phases of doing crochet, patchwork, macramé, tapestry, dress-making, you name it, but knitting is the one that’s lasted. I still love browsing in a wool shop and am always tempted by the colours and textures.  

When did you first learn to knit and did you start knitting for any particular reason?
My mum taught me to knit so long ago that I can’t remember if there was a reason. I suspect it was simply that she knitted and I wanted to copy her. I remember starting with a cotton reel with four nails hammered into the top. I’d make a long trail of knitted multi-coloured wool that I’d turn into circular mats. After that I moved on to more advanced things. I got my Guide badge in knitting and I remember a green jumper with a very wonky green V-neck, and a pair of unwearable socks with heels I couldn’t turn properly. Since then I’ve got better, though I’m very far from being an expert.

How often do you knit and how easy is it to find the time?
I always knit whenever I’m watching TV. I do occasionally just sit and knit without doing anything else at the same time, but very rarely. 

Do you do any other arts and crafts?

I’ve just taken a course in botanical painting. It’s an extremely precise art that’s all-absorbing and extremely satisfying or, in my case, frustrating because I find it very hard. I like the idea of doing it well though so have signed up for another course though I think it needs much more practice than I’m currently able to do.

Do you think knitting (or the time you spend knitting) helps with your writing and overall wellbeing?  
It helps with my writing if I do it when I’m not watching TV. It’s a little like walking in that it’s time when your conscious mind slips and ideas bubble up from   your sub-conscious. That’s when plot problems are sometimes solved when least expected.

What have you knitted recently?
I’ve recently knitted a cardigan for me, a jumper for a friend (she put it the washing machine and shrunk it to a doll’s size!) and one for my daughter-in-law. At the moment I’m concentrating on baby clothes for my new granddaughter – very satisfying because they’re so quick to do.



Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction  titles, acted as a ghost writer for a number of celebrities and is also the Books Editor for Woman & Home magazine. She has written seven novels including House of Dreams and Our Summer Together. Her seventh, An Italian Summer (Orion) is out in July.

Find Fanny Blake on Twitter - @FannyBlake1

I'm hoping to feature more Authors' Creative Pursuits
on Off-the-Shelf Books in the future. 

So if you're a published author and have a talent for arts and crafts, music, photography, baking or other creative activities, and would like to feature on my blog, please do get in touch!

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