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Interview with Ness Harbour

I have changed the way I write over the last few years. I always just used to write straight to the computer because I can touch type so am quite fast; however, I found my imagination worked better when I wrote in long hand again.  My perfect tool of choice is the Lamy fountain pen, of which I have several in multiple colours. I love the weight of it in my hand and how smooth it writes. However, when I am editing I use Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils. I buy them in boxes of 12 and find they last quite a long time. Again it is about the feel in my hand as I write plus the lead in the 602 is quite hard, so seems to stay sharp for quite a while.

Ness stationery

When I am buying a notebook I am very fussy. The paper has to be just right. I can’t bear it when the paper is so thin that the ink bleeds into it as you write. It is a bit of cliché but Moleskine notebooks are one of my favourites. I tend to start a new notebook for each book or research project. In the main I use A5 books for writing but prefer an A4 size when making notes for academic research. When making academic notes it is the quality of the paper that is the most important to me but I also need to be able to put the pages into a folder so tend not to use Moleskine’s then.

Other stationery items that I regularly buy are inks, paperclips and post it notes. I like to buy lots of different coloured inks for my Lamy pens. This is because when making academic notes I often swap pens to show a change in idea or book that I am quoting from. I love fun paperclips, a good friend recently sent me ones which were in the shape of an N (most friends know me as Ness). As for post it notes, greatest invention ever, big ones for detailed notes and small ones for marking up pages in books. The brilliant author James Nicol recommended Multi Reference Book Marks as a great way to mark your book up when you are doing a reading. Very useful! I recently also bought myself a couple of writer’s blocks by Myla and Oscar. Great for storing your pencils in! I have one by my bed where I often write and one on my desk.

I hadn’t thought about writing for children until I had a chance to try it when I was at university. Studying writing for children was revelation at university. It was like someone had opened the door to a wonderful new world. I went on to do an MA in Writing for Children and Creative Writing PhD that focused on YAF and went on to become a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing. I was lucky enough also to meet Imogen Cooper and became part of the Golden Egg Academy when she set it up. I work as an editor/Academic & Diversity Consultant with GEA. Imogen mentored me while writing Flight which was a wonderful experience and helped me craft it into the novel it is. In total I suppose, Flight, is my fourth complete manuscript.

flight-coverMy debut novel Flight is being published by Firefly Press on 1st August 2018. It is a thrilling adventure story based during the Second World War and aimed at middle grade. It’s a story of how two abandoned, shunned children, after terrible loss, will come to find a place that will welcome them, their love of horses gives them a chance to belong again. Can Jakob and Kizzy save the dancing horses?

Twitter: @VanessaHarbour



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