My Life as a writer
When did you first realise you wanted to write for a living?
In my teens I quite fancied myself as a poet. I had a thing about words and imagery which somehow turned into writing books and TV. Possibly not a great loss to the world of poetry.
Which writer, past or present, do you most admire?
There are a few but special mention to Ed McBain as a novelist, Richard Price as a screenwriter, but apart from my writer mates – it’s mainly myself.
What was your first published (or performed) credit as a writer?
A play I wrote – TIDY – at a now defunct theatre in Liverpool. A two-man piece where only one of the characters spoke. I was playing the silent character and didn’t want to learn any lines so that’s how I wrote it.
Which piece of writing work are you most proud of?
Probably whatever I’m writing right now. There was a children’s TV series that I created called Samson SuperSlug which I have a very big soft spot for. It was funny, brave and way out there. I’m also proud of my novels, and I can see them sitting on my bookshelf which is a very satisfying feeling. They are The Serial Killers Club and my YA trilogy SHIFT and DELETE, with ESCAPE to come. I did enjoy upsetting the nation over the Ronnie/Kat baby swap episodes in EastEnders.
Who or what inspires you to write?
I can have an idea at any time in any place and in any situation. There is a constant hum of excitement going on that only I know about. You can read or even misread a headline and suddenly connections are being made and the next thing is you’ve got something down in your notebook. I misread a crossword clue once as The Steam Arena – it was actually the stream area – and one day that may become something. Not sure what yet but I’ll have fun thinking about it. Also there’s always the dreamy thought that you could end up obscenely successful, all it takes is the right thing at the right time.
How do you switch off when you’re not writing?
I don’t think I know how to anymore.
Which one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you start something than make sure you finish it. You have to get to the end, otherwise you’ll never know if you can tell a story or not. Anyone can start something, few can finish it. Know your ending and aim for it. Write at full pelt, you can edit it later. And always be true – to your character, your story, whatever, write the truth in any situation you create. Also don’t swan onto TV shows thinking it’s just a passage to something else. If you don’t love a show don’t write for it, you will be found out.
Why are you a member of WGGB?
I think it is a godsend, campaigning for the rights of writers and being highly visible when doing so. There has to be an established industry practice or it would be mayhem out there. Writers are by and large invisible and strangely enough, unheard, but anything that raises our profile and fights our cause is to be commended. There are battles that you can’t fight alone.
Jeff Povey has written for EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Dumping Ground, The Musketeers, Wire In the Blood, Blue Murder, Silent Witness, Holed, Hungry and many more (probably over 200 hours of television, and three-soon-to-be four novels).