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03 April 2012

Vicky Walker - author

Vicky Walker - author

Vicky Walker is a writer, among other things. She has worked in fashion PR, buying, design, events management, charity, and communications and somehow found a way to travel the world as a trend spotter. She’s had a few adventures, a few more awkward moments, the occasional question about the meaning of life and hopes writing it all down might be therapeutic. Do I have to be good all the time? is her first book.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Obviously I wanted to be an explorer in ancient Egypt and a princess. Doesn’t everyone…?

How did you end up being an author?

By accident. I started writing when I was bored one day and words were running around my brain, and then found I couldn’t stop. Suddenly it was the easiest thing I’d ever done.

What is your vision for your writing?

That it is a conversation with a friend. Thinking out loud about life. Admitting we all have questions and doubts. Being honest. Letting people know they’re not the only ones wondering about things. Seeing the funny side.

Best and worst thing about writing a book?

The best thing is having a loose idea – love, relationships, whether our lives have a plan - and then seeing the stories, experiences and words emerge to form something which takes on a life of its own. What starts as a flicker of a thought suddenly seems to be the topic that everyone I bump into wants to talk about. If they buy me cake, I am usually happy to oblige.

The worst is definitely the isolation. My usually sociable nature is funnelled into days spent alone staring at a laptop. By the time I wake up to the fact that the person provoking heated debates with me is me, it’s definitely time to take a break. Cake often features at this point too.

What would you like to say to aspiring authors?

What have you got to say that no-one else can? Stick to it, don’t try to be like anybody else, seek and accept constructive feedback, work at it and stay focused.

How do you relax?

I’m quite the cliché. At the risk of sounding like a dating profile, good walks, jazz, art galleries, photography, red wine, white chocolate, precision consumption of afternoon tea (I am a practising Sconnoisseur), exploring the underappreciated Muppet film genre, doing pretty much anything with friends and occasionally updating my dream of a sitcom based on Christian life.

What’s been the cultural highlight of 2012 so far?

The Muppet Movie. It would be the highlight of any year.

You path has led you through various jobs. As it unwinds, do you see how each stage informs the next?

Definitely, though usually in hindsight! Having a diverse career has been the result of exploring lots of different things I’m interested in and ending up with experience I can use in lots of other areas in the future. I love finding out what’s going on, looking at new ways of doing things, connecting people, seeing how they can reach their goals – even help them to figure out what they are really passionate about – and being part of events, projects and ideas that aim high and want to make a real difference.

Your writings are witty. Are enough things in life said in jest?

Possibly too many in my life. Humour can be a hiding place, which isn’t so great, but it can also be the best way of cutting through clichés, finding common ground, breaking tension and just getting people to relax and be open. Life can be tough but it feels even tougher if we see things without humour.

What makes you angry?

Mind control! No, seriously, the idea that to have faith and to be credible in it we have to conform to a sub-culture. I’ve experienced suspicion and doubts around whether or not I’m a proper Christian over things as minor as wearing make-up. It shouldn’t be about over-earnestness and conformity for the sake of appearances, and I think many people are put off exploring faith because the gap between their current lives and the Christian life seems too wide and too much like bad news and not the good news it should be.

Who inspires you in your work?

Everyone! I love finding out people’s stories, the things they hope for, the regrets, the big and small dreams, the adventures and embarrassing moments. I see life as something we are all in together and sharing what we’ve experienced helps to make it all the more fun or even just bearable.

How does the gospel shape your writings?

Storytelling and encouragement, I think. It’s clear from the later parts of the New Testament that lots of what’s valuable is encouragement and help day by day, praising progress, shared experiences, forgiving and moving on, being together through words even if not in person. I love the idea of cheer-leading people towards being who they are meant to be and helping them through difficult times. Often it’s not what we believe that causes us problems but just figuring out how to live each day.

Any faux pas you want to share with us?

A whole book of them! I’ve turned up late at a birthday meal at what I was told was a tapas restaurant and eaten the starter of someone I’d just been introduced to, thinking we were all sharing. We weren’t. Sadly, I could go on. I have way too many stories like this. I’ve learned not to embarrass easily.

Tell us a joke

How do you kill a circus? Go for the juggler.