Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Andy N.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Andy N.

is a writer, performer, podcaster, creative writing workshop tutor and sometimes experimental musician from Manchester who also is currently co running Stretford’s always welcoming spoken word night ‘Speak easy’

He has been published in numerous books and magazines and has been performing in some form or the other since 2006 and regularly since 2008 and was also vocalist and keyboardist in the spoken word collective ‘A Means to an End’ (Can be found on facebook).

He is also the editor and chief of Spoken Label, a new spoken word based interview podcast label featuring podcasts with all kinds of writers and artists (https://spokenlabel.bandcamp.com/)

and is also the co creator of ‘Reading in Bed’, a literature review podcast he does with his partner. His official website is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.co.uk/ and he is always interested in under-taking performing / new projects. His email address is aen1mpo@yahoo.co.uk

List of Publications:


on Facebook (Official page)


on Bandcamp


Ocean in a Bottle (ambient music)

on Facebook


on bandcamp


Spoken Label (spoken word podcasts)

on facebook


on bandcamp


Speak Easy (Stretford’s always welcoming Spoken Word Open Mic night)


Reading in Bed (Book Review Podcast with Amanda)

on facebook


on bandcamp


Comics Unity Podcast Series (Comics related and culture podcast with Michael)

on facebook


The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I actually started writing poetry when i was 10. It was terrible i seem to recall. My teacher encouraged to keep on it at it 😄. Little did she know 😄

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Good question. It was my teacher Miss Fenton. She always thought i had a good eye for images even back then 😄.

2.1. What poetry did she introduce you to?

She introduced me into Hilaire Belloc at the time. My major inspirations Hugo Williams and Paul Celan / Wilfred Owen came during college and at degree level years ago.

2.2. How did they influence you?

In Williams case it was the human touch the sheer love of life. Cealan and owen the misery

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

Not really if I am honest until I got into my mid 20s when I went back to evening classes. I had left school with quite poor qualifications (long story) and next to no interest in writing by the time I got to 18 or 19 and although I touched on poetry while studying English A Level (where I studied Tennyson, Browning and Swinburne etc), it wasn’t until I got to university in 1999 as a mature student (I was 27) when I really began to see the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary and slowly began to find my own voice.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I actually have a day job (I wish I was a full time artist) so that covers me during the day so it usually means just the evening when I get home. I’m quite deep into the world of Podcasting at the moment which can means that does take some time up when I am at home, and I also do ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle but if I am not writing everyday I am always reading and usually have either a book in my bag or a new poetry book on my kindle. Bookwise, that’s Robert Cochrane’s ‘A Memory of Keys’ and I have a pre-order of a book by a South African writer called Alta Martin which is out later in the year I think.

5. What motivates you to write?

What motivates my writing? That’s a good question really. When I first started writing right up to when I went to university, I never really had any plans with it atall,  perhaps I thought it was something more interesting to do than just watch Television. The older I got, it changed and now I love telling my own stories in poems rather than been told stories (for example on Television) if they makes sense and this has now developed further so on my laptop I have various folders on there on sequences I want to tell. Currently this includes Science Fiction poems (A mystery called Robot Noir) or poems about an imaginary couple I am writing about who visit all kinds of cities and have adventures in them. Both of them motivate me as I want to work out where they end both of these stories end up next.

6. Why do you like writing mysteries?

Just what I am writing really at the moment, Paul and is not a reflection of my first three full length poetry collections. The first book ‘Return to Kemptown’ was a compilation of what I regarded as my best material as of 2010 (I have been performing poetry on a fairly regular basis since 2007). The second and third books ‘The End of Summer’ ‘and ‘The Birth of Spring’ are seasonal books really with each book designed to represent the seasons with poems about Summer and Autumn mixed with longer narrative poems which contain the elements of those seasons also.

I do have a third seasonal book in mind ‘In the Midst of Winter’ which is looking good but I also have two other full length books on the go which are certainly more mystery based. The first one ‘Changing carriages at Birmingham New Street’ which is about my imaginary couple actually made a brief appearance in The Birth of Autumn and I enjoyed reading about them, it kind of made sense to try and write a full length collection covering their time together. Robot Noir, my Science Fiction poetry book is quite different but still carries the same emotional strengths that people like about my poetry but is getting wrote hand in hand next to it covering before, during and after a Robot uprising in Poetry which threatens the existence of mankind itself. Both books here are mysteries as they do not operate like most full length poetry collections, but tell a story like in novels but rather in poetry which pieces stand alone but also work well in a long sequence and I hope will prove emotional satisfying for readers as well as me when they are completed.

7. How do the writers/musicians you read/heard when you were young influence you today?

I had a bit of a unusual taste in music growing up in the early 80s when my father got me into folk music and country and western music, of which if I am honest I haven’t heard in years. When I got into my mid teens in the late 80s, I started listening to some discoveries of my own, some of which are very difficult to listen to nowadays. One band I love listening to even now and saw live twice back at that point were a Scottish band called The Blue Nile who have had a rare ability to convey the ordinariness of life itself which still hits me hard even now over thirty years later and has proved a influence on my writing certainly.

Reading wise, I’ve just re-read a few books by Fred Hoyle which are very pure Science Fiction indeed and I think are difficult to read now (How I read them at 11 or 12 with great ease I have no idea) and I also remember reading a lot of Harry Harrison’s work as the Stainless Steel Rat which I struggle with nowadays also because of the sexism towards women which is pretty bad in the first book or two. I think it depends really, my father got me reading the Western works by American writer Louis L’Amour in my early teens and his later books like Comstack Lode are great novels and while a little preachy are full of what I try to convey in my poems now (as much as any work by Plath and Larkin, both of which I was familiar with in my early 20s and am still now).. I let the characters tell their own stories whether in a few lines or 40 lines

8. Who of today’s writers/musicians/ do you admire the most and why?

Ooh. I am taking my time reading Ocean Vuong’s ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ at the moment. I also recommend Spiderseed by David Hartley, a young writer from Stretford (near where I was born) whose debut book is twenty illustrated flash fictions, all of which has a defo Gorey feel to them. Comic wise, as I am still reading them, I love the work by Ed Brukaber (who is known on the TV front for being the show runner for Season 1 of West World and Too die to this young). Comic wise, his work with Sean Philips is always worth reading, and their current series Criminal which is a series of interlinked stories involving Criminal has magnificient character work

9. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I started as a child as I said before and also studied writing at university, but if I am honest although I learned stuff from starting from so young and also studying it, I learnt going to a writing group certainly helped me the most as it made me listen to people who tried to give me advice.
So listen really 🙂
And also perhaps join websites likes Writeoutloud.net and blog your poems on there, as people will give you feedback on them sometimes.

10. Tell me about writing projects you’re involved in at the moment.

Current writing projects are the following:

1) The Streets were all we could see – my 4th full length poetry book which is a series of mini poems (All under 10 lines each). Book is now complete and will be out before the end of Winter.

2) Buried alive under the Wall – this is my second fantasy book, a sequel to a book released in 2018 called Enemy of the Wall. Currently on the last draft.

Other projects on the go is Europa 4, my 4th book of anti war poetry with my pal Nick Armbrister and I am thinking about what I am can do for NaPoWriMo this year which I think will be 30 poems wrote daily in April called Fragments of David.

Also will be carrying on with my constant podcasting and ambient music.

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