Monthly Archives: December 2012

Writers on Wednesday: J. Eric Laing

Jen McConnel

Today’s interview is with J. Eric Laing.  He is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. Most recently, his novel Cicada was named among the “Best of 2012” by Kirkus Reviews.
To learn more about his work, please visit:

1. When did you start writing?

I wrote beautiful flowing verses of poetry in high school of such profundity that angels wept and the muses abandoned all other mortals that they might bestow the sum of their further graces solely upon me. My rhymes were honey upon the tongue and my metre so precise and stirring as to be thought stolen from the architecture of the universe itself. But then, didn’t we all?
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?

Hmm… Let’s say a “planster.” I always have an overall concept/plot well defined before I start. I then usually write and rewrite the first…

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… from Lynn Clayton, author of Deadly Nevergreen and bon raconteur…


In the village where I was born there was a cottage hospital and here, between finishing A levels and going to drama school, I went to work as a pre-student nurse. The work was mainly menial – making beds, emptying bed-pans and feeding patients. Since the ward I was on was Men’s Surgical, I was also expected to shave the patients. (Before you men get a fit of the horrors I’d better say I’m talking about their face.)

Why these lovely, mainly elderly gentlemen weren’t to be trusted with a razor I couldn’t say and never thought to ask. Maybe it was the absence of mirrors, considered by the ward sister an unnecessary frivolity. Whatever the reason, I was ordered to shave these old gentlemen and can still see their mild, benign faces striving not to register despair as I approached with water and shaving mug.

They never complained. They…

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