Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer who lives in Port of Spain with her husband and daughter. We interviewed her about her writing and the impact of place and landscape on her writing voice.
Is place, the landscape and language of where you’re from, something that has a bearing on your writing voice?
All three play a part but I write predominantly from the landscape. That’s often where I will start with a story: Write the land, the actual furrows and colours and shapes and smells as a way to convey a mood, a feeling, or a shift in the air. Inevitably the story follows. Place and language are natural offshoots of the landscape, but in my own work, if I begin with them, especially language, I become self-conscious and self-aware and a creative barrier goes up. If I get the mood and the landscape right, the other two follow automatically.
Do you know why you do it?
I like the intense concentration and I’m almost always surprised what comes to the surface. Human beings are so complicated and verbal communication is very limited. The writing allows me to go below the surface and pull up the things that can’t be articulated in any other form. That’s where the real satisfaction lies for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m trying to finish my collection of short stories but there is a novel lurking in the background, so I’m working on both.
If you were in a band, what would it be called?
That’s a hard one. Passia, I think. It’s short for Passiaflora. Passiaflora is made up of passion flowers or passion vines. The genus includes vines that startle with their flowers (have you ever seen a passion-fruit flower?) and their even more over-the-top names. Passia. That’s my band name.