3 Minutes With an Author is a series of interviews from Columba and Currach Press. The series will shed light on the mind of an author and we hope will prove insightful to both readers and aspiring writers. This week we are talking to Anne Alcock author of the upcoming book Cancer - A Circle of Seasons.

Anne Alcock - Cancer A Cycle of Seasons

1. Which writers inspire you?

Shakespeare, Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, Elizabeth Gaskell, Barbara Kingsolver, T.S. Eliot, GM Hopkins, Reflective Diarists - All centuries, and Scripture. 

2. Why do you write?

Compelled. In response to words suddenly gathering together in little clumps and forming sentences, and sometimes book titles, and spilling out onto my pillow. Usually in that seamless moment after waking. Then I write with my eyes closed, finger holding the line in place. After 45 years, this results in more or less straight lines. 

3. What is the hardest/ easiest thing about writing?

The hardest thing is making the decision, that there is more to this than morning scribbles, and that I must commit to the discipline in terms of hours.

The easiest thing is when I have a draft and am creating the final words from that. It actually isn't all that easy, but because it feels like creating harmonies, it is exhilarating. Like playing at being a wordsmith!

4. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer's Block?

Set short goals. "I will just write one more page, paragraph etc". Set a time limit. "I have to be done by 2 p.m." (You don't have to keep to this). Do not approach the fridge. 

5. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I have no idea of that. My own life is the most original for me, and I assume and honour that in every other author.

6. And finally... what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Stick with it, if you feel the muse. Read different styles, but find your own style and voice.

More about Anne: 

Anne Alcock, MA, MBACP has roots in Ireland, UK, and Madeira, and spent her childhood in Africa. After some time in London, as a Dominican Missionary sister, she returned to lay life, and has now lived in Ireland for over 30 years. She is a well-known spiritual director, and retreat facilitator.

A  whole-person-consultant, psychotherapist, stress-management facilitator and author, her previous books include Texts and Tips for Spiritual Directors, Woman in Search of Wholeness, Turning Aside to Hear, and  Praying with the Cave of the Heart.

More about Cancer: A Circle of Seasons:

Anne Alcock writes....”How do you go through all the “stuff” that life throws up for you?Do you talk? Do you walk, Do you draw? Do you journal? Do you pray? Do you look for a book?

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I did all of those things, and this book was my way of bringing it altogether and maybe helping anyone who would also like to journal and reflect creatively about their own life-experiences.  Anything. Not just illness..Even in the midst of family and friends, many journeys have to be taken alone, and as someone living on her own, I have always  found writing prayers to a companioning God, very helpful. These prayers are included, alongside actual diary entries and journaling questions for the reader...I wish you peace, I wish you hope... Life is always for living.....”

These journal extracts offer the opportunity for the reader to journal in her or his own turn, through whatever personal situation might be inviting a mindful focus. 

Thank you to Anne for taking the time to partake in 3 Minutes With an Author. You can read the previous interviews with Cora Guinnane and Joanne O'Brien and Rosaleen Crossan