Tina Jackson is a writer, journalist and Assistant Editor of Writing Magazine. Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies and her debut novel The Beloved Children is published by rebel indie Fahrenheit Press – and we’re lucky enough to have her on our #MeetTheContributor series today!
Writing Magazine is a bestselling magazine written by writers, for writers. Each issue provides inspiration, advice, interviews and writing techniques to help readers improve the hobby that they love. A fully-searchable digital archive stretching back to 2013 is available through the Writers Online membership package.
Now it’s over to Tina to find out about Writing Magazine’s ethos, her career and the difference between writing fiction, non-fiction and magazine articles.
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1. What inspired you to get into journalism as a career?
I’ve always been passionate about books and writing — I was one of those children who always had their nose in a book, and wrote stories. I started writing for an independent local magazine after studying English Literature at university and I felt I’d found the perfect job for me — something that chimed with my passions, that I could do well and feel fulfilled in. So that small start led to a career as a feature writer, arts editor, book reviewer and editor for national newspapers and magazines, and ultimately to where I am now, at Writing Magazine.
2. What is Writing Magazine’s mission and ethos?
Writing Magazine is aimed at anyone interested in becoming a better writer — which is most of us, because there’s always something new to learn! It’s really supportive and empowering — every month it provides writers with advice and inspiration to help them get to the next level. For beginner and aspiring writers, it introduces them to their craft and enables them learn all aspects of it, and for writers at every level there’s information about different ways of getting published, where to submit, competitions to enter, author interviews to read and writing prompts to get you started. It’s a real treasure trove of information for writers, and because writing is inevitably rather a solitary practice, it also provides a much-needed sense of community.
3. What do you find to be the most challenging part of your role as Assistant Editor?
I often think I’ve got the best job in the world — writing and editing about the world of books and writing! And I interview leading authors and talk to them about their work, which is a real privilege, but of course it means I always have to be on my toes! But I think the biggest challenge comes when we have to judge our monthly in-house writing competitions, because the standard of entries from our readers is always really high, and it’s difficult enough to shortlist them, let alone pick the winners. It’s all anonymous of course, and we love reading the entries, but there are always tough decisions to make.
4. When you’re not editing a magazine, you are a published author of both fiction and non-fiction titles. How does your writing process vary between these 3 mediums?
The processes are very different, and yet in some ways rather similar. You have to sit down and write them! I’ve written and published short stories for a while — some of them are in the Stories from the Chicken Foot House collection (Markosia, 2018) and they’re imaginative, rather magical tales. The process of writing them is more fluid and responsive to inspiration, so obviously very different from journalism, which has to be fact-based, and also, written whether you’re in the mood or not. Journalism gave me a lot of tools for my non-fiction book about local women’s history and their fight for the vote, though (Struggle & Suffrage in Leeds, Pen & Sword, 2019). It had to be thoroughly and accurately researched and written up, and delivered to a deadline — all key journalism skills. I wrote a couple of novels that didn’t get published, which was tough, but! I’m really proud of The Beloved Children, and it found a perfect home with rebel indie Fahrenheit Press and got some lovely reviews too. It was published at the end of 2020 and I’ve recently signed the contract for my second novel with Fahrenheit Press, which is hugely exciting.
5. Do you have a particular favourite issue or article from Writing Magazine?
When you work for a monthly magazine, every issue is your favourite! We work really hard to make each issue the best it can be, and once it’s gone to print we’re thinking about the next one! I’m always proud of the writers we get in the magazine — recently these have included Michael Morpurgo, Reverend Richard Coles, Robert Harris and Isabel Allende — but equally, I’m just as proud of the stories our subscribers send in about their publishing successes.
6. Is there anything coming up soon that Writing Magazine readers would like to know about?
Yes! We’ve got a fantastic event called Winter Haunts coming up –a one-day conference on 6 November about writing ghost stories, gothic and supernatural fiction. It’s a must for writers interested in crafting their own spooky stories, and we’ve pulled in really top-flight authors for the programme, including Sarah Waters, Paul Tremblay and AM Shine. I’m particularly looking forward to taking part in this as my own novels are ghost stories! Going ahead, we’ve got a fantastic programme of webinars and online events too. The editor Jonathan Telfer and our publisher Collette Lloyd are very positive and forward-thinking so we’ve always got something exciting and interesting on the horizon.
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Digital-only subscriptions to Writing Magazine, which feature unlimited & fully-searchable access to the modern archive dating back to 2013, are available in the Exact Editions institutional shop.