Bakes and Swims, But Not at the Same Time! – Brightonian Christmas Special With Writer Erinna Mettler

Brighton writer Erinna Mettler is big on tradition and cherishes every christmas. She recently became involved in setting up a the writing school, The Beach Hut Writing Academy and is the co-director of the spoken word group Rattle Tales and The Brighton Prize story competition.

Tell us about what you do? I am a writer and the co-director of the spoken word group Rattle Tales and The Brighton Prize short story competition. I have also recently become involved in setting up  a writing school, The Beach Hut Writing Academy, with a bunch of other professional writers from Brighton. We have just finished our first term of courses and have loads more planned for 2016.

What inspired you to do what you do? I didn’t start writing until well into my 30s. I’d just had a second child and moved to Brighton from London and I was quite isolated and tied to being a wife and mother. I felt like I had to do something for me or I’d go mad, so I enrolled on a creative writing course at Sussex University. It was complete whim. I ended up doing an MA and now I write everyday. I wrote a novel inspired by my new home and then by some miracle it got published. It’s called ‘Starlings’ and is available in all good bookshops!

What can you tell us about yourself? I live with my husband and two young sons and a cat called Dexter. I write all the time, I’m forever making notes about little situations I come across. I like to bake and swim but not at the same time!

Are you born and bred Brightonian? I have lived here for ten years. I was born in Somerset but moved to Wakefield in Yorkshire when I was one and stayed there until I was 18, then Canterbury, Whitstable, Epsom and finally London for about 15 years. Now I live in Brighton.

What do you like about living in Brighton? I like the fact that it’s a small town in a big city. You can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone you know. It’s full of creative types and there’s a lot of art about. Most people are friendly and want each other to succeed. I love that no one cares what you wear or what you do. Above everything else though I love being so close to the sea, especially in winter.
Favourite place in Brighton? My favourite place is The West Pier. It’s just so beautiful, so doomed. I remember sitting under it in the 80s on a day trip and it was crumbling then, but now it’s got an almost other-wordly charm about it. I’ve written about it many times and it features heavily in my novel.
Where do you go on Xmas eve? Normally we’re off travelling to be with family but this year we’re at home and it’s just us. We’re going to the pub for a drink with local friends and then we’ll be sitting round a real fire waiting for Santa.
How do you celebrate Christmas? I’m big on tradition, we have the carrot and mince pie for Santa, stockings, presents, the full dinner. I really like cooking Christmas dinner, I love sprouts too! We always flop in front of Doctor Who on the telly and then play a board game.
Favourite xmas movie? ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ of course, closely followed by ‘The Grinch’.
Best Christmas present? An illustrated hardback copy of Auggie Wren’s ‘Christmas Story’. It’s a short story by my favourite author Paul Auster and my husband gave it to me a few years ago, it is a thing of beauty.
Worst Christmas present? Someone once gave me a packet of tissues and a pen from a bank.
Are you making a new years resolution? I am going to do everything I can to get my new book published.
How do you celebrate new years? We always go to our friend’s house and stay over, usually for dinner and prosecco. They have two kids too and they all get along.
Do you believe in Santa? Of course. Only a fool wouldn’t.

For those who are interested you can find the Erinna’s writing academy and rattletales here.  www.beachutwritingacademy.com and www.rattletales.org.

elin@bjournal.co

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