I am not a poet but here is my poem!
confused and conflicted,
introverted and intense,
forgetful and forgotten,
obscure and outside.
On the page
I am free.
‘The Imagination is a muscle. If it is not exercised, it atrophies.’ – Neil Gaiman.
Interview with Heath Ackley by Debbi Voisey
How long have you been with the group?
What kind of writing do you do?
Mostly genre stories (Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction Crime War etc.) in various mediums from
short stories to graphic storytelling to hopefully, radio plays and novels.
Are you published in print?
My current work for DC Thompson is available in print and digitally direct from them at
www.commandocomics.com or from Amazon.
Do you regularly enter national or international competitions?
Not really, to be honest. I usually look out for open submissions calls from publishers or production
houses. I do, of course, enter the City Voices competitions. I do enjoy them.
Do you submit your work to literary magazines?
Not in a long while. Maybe one day in the future.
What projects are you working on?
There are too many projects! I want to finally complete a novel, write more radio plays, more comic
work, more short stories. I hope to start my own blog soon. I would also like to improve my feeble
attempts at poetry!
What is your greatest achievement as a writer so far?
Receiving that first acceptance letter from a publisher was a moment to remember. I was in a
terrible, low-paid job at the time and that little white envelope made it all worthwhile.
What is the best part of being part of City Voices?
The lack of ego and snobbery. It is great to be in a group of like-minded people, who all share a
passion for literature and storytelling.
What do you hope to achieve in the future, either as part of the group or on a personal level?
On a personal level, to exorcise the countless stories out of this old head of mine and put them in
print! As a group, I want to promote us more in the community. Writing can be a solitary pastime
but writers out there, frantically scribbling away, should know that there are groups like CV who
offer advice, encouragement and friendship.
Which writer/book has influenced you most as a writer?
Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Alan Moore, James Elroy, Elmore Leonard.
Which books would you recommend?
Weaveworld, Clive Barker. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. American Gods, Neil Gaiman. My Dark Places,
James Elroy. Watchmen, Alan Moore. The Rebus Novels, Ian Rankin. A Night At The Circus, Angela
Carter. The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice.
What advice would you give someone starting out in creative writing?
Join a group! My writing has improved immensely since joining City Voices. I would also give the old
adage that you should write every day, even if it is just a sentence or phrase.
When I was a kid, my mother took the white card from one of my father’s new shirts. She drew a grid on the card and then wrote out the alphabet several times. She added a few more vowels and consonants. Then my mother cut out each letter and stored them in an old tin tea caddy. With my brother, we would take out a handful of letters and compose sentences on the floor. I’ve been writing ever since.
If my work has a theme; I suppose it would be the placing of the extraordinary in the ordinary. I think so much can be said by the juxtaposition of ‘what is’ with ‘what isn’t.’ I like to write stories that explore what is beneath the surface of a place, situation or a person.
My other passions are Cinema and music. A dedicated film buff, I love classic movies and world cinema. Strangely, my tastes in music seem to expand the older I get! I listen to everything from 60’sgarage bands to soul funk to punk to new bands like Starcrawler. I have been told I play music way too loud in my car for a man of my years!
What don’t I like? Oh just the usual; fascists, bullies, quiche.
I feel that I’m most at peace with myself when I’m creating something. Writing can be a creative art. We all have a story. We all know a bad story when we read it. If you ever find yourself thinking that you could make up a better tale, then pick up the pen and write. Or better still, join a group like City Voices!