Thursday 29 June 2017

Interview with Molly Cutpurse

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Molly Cutpurse, a British writer from Stratford in the East End of London, one of the most prolific writers for the Amazon audience. Her portrait, as a transgendered writer, is now hanging in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is a part of the museum's permanent collection. Hello Molly! 
Molly: Hello to yourself!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself? When did you decide that writing will be your vocation?
Molly: I wrote my first novel in 1984 when I was thirty-two. It was an enormously lengthy piece of rubbish that eventually was rewritten several times and was finally published about 1996 as, Daffodils in Autumn. I wrote it because it was a novel that I wanted to read.

Miriam's Silver Years (2013)
available via Amazon.

I write basically, family drama and sometimes a little science fiction and basically I am an antisocial hermit! No partner, no kids, no pets, no garden, no pub life! You get the idea. I rise at 4am and write until about 10 or 11am depending on how bored I get. I write about three to four thousand words a day, seven days a week.
An average novel for me would be about 70,000 words, although the lengthiest one (Daffodils) is 245,000. Amazon looks after the business side of things and all are published.
Monika: You are the author of 62 novels. Where do you draw your inspirations from? 
Molly: The truth is, I have no idea. I sit at the keyboard and out it comes! I think fear of not eating drives me.
Monika: You are probably most known for your novel series about Miriam. With more than a dozen of novels, we follow her life from the cradle to the grave. Is she a fictional character? How did you create such a fascinating female character?
Molly: She is based on my mum! Although she did not steal or go to prison! The prison idea came from my two novels about the real-life case of Edith Thompson who was executed in 1923. After Holloway was published, people wanted to read more about her so I created more…and more…and stopped at twelve.
Monika: Which of your novels, apart from the series about Miriam, are you particularly fond of?
Molly: The four Alien Queens books. Sadly they sell in such few numbers. But I do believe that one day they will be recognized and enjoyed by a greater number of people. The adventures of two time-traveling gay men!

Seven Sisters (2013) available via Amazon.

Monika: In Seven Sisters (2013) you portray a deformed girl born into a wealthy Devonshire family in the 1960s with the condition of Polydactyly. Given up for adoption, faced with a cruel upbringing, she seeks love in the unfriendly world but you set up her story in a world of poetry and astronomy ...
Molly: I’m afraid the genesis of this story is now lost to the midst of time. But I was happy to include an old beloved TS friend as a character, now sadly passed away.
Monika: To a certain extent, your novels resemble paintings. For example, The Christmas Eve Ghost (2013) is a phantasmagorical ghost story, set in Victorian London, where two elderly spinster sisters who have not spoken to each other for fifty years because of a youthful tragedy, share a house that once belonged to their parents...
Molly: Yes, this was based on a fantasy I had concerning my brother. Originally, it was two brothers. And I do enjoy writing about the Victorian era.

The Christmas Eve Ghost (2013)
available via Amazon.

Monika: The main characters of your books are women that have to fight for their love and happiness, very often against all odds. How do you create such characters? Do you meet such women in reality?
Molly: I have never spotted that! But I suppose you are correct. Writing subconsciously perhaps? Well, such characters must be a part of me. Although I haven’t fought for much at all.
I do though take inspiration from some people that I have met. I believe all authors do. One hugely attractive female character loomed large in what is perhaps the darkest novel I’ve written, Dark Man. 
Monika: In your novels, you often go back to the previous centuries. Do you find those times more interesting than the contemporary ones?
Molly: Oh, very much so. But not only for my personal enjoyment if I am truthful. Many people enjoy period novels because they either remind them of better times or a time when they believe things were better. And when they buy such novels, that’s better sales for me. So I enjoy writing about those times partly for me and partly for my bank account!
Monika: Who is the reader of your books? I guess that women are primarily the focus of your attention and inspiration. Do you dedicate your books mainly to women?
Molly: I believe that middle-aged women mostly read my work. I don’t do male-type action things. My novels are mostly about emotions and feelings. And the dedications are to friends I have known.
Monika: Correct me if I am wrong but you avoid any transgender characters in your novels. Is it intentional?
Molly: You are kind of correct. There is one book entirely about a trans woman (Waterleigh Nursing Home) and hints in some others but not main characters. Being trans I just don’t want to make an issue about it.
Monika: What does it mean to be a transgender writer? 
Molly: In truth? No different from being a regular writer. It’s the work that is important. 

I'm just having a think about a new novel.

Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Molly: In my twenties. No, it was not difficult. I had the support of most of my family. My mother always knew. When I was about 18, I had a conversation with mum and she said that she had some old handbags that I could have. Bless her.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Molly: None at all. My role models were famous writers.
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Molly: Not really. But only because I don’t have a lot to do with that community because I spend a great deal of time by myself. But I am aware that there are a great many trans women doing important things.

Still thinking ...

Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, many trans women lose their families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Molly: A brother. Who still does not talk to me. It’s his loss. I don’t lose sleep over it. That is being mature.
Monika: What do you think in general about transgender news stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Molly: From what I have seen, which is limited, I would say that trans people are being treated sympathetically. However…I don’t see that as a positive thing long-term because it means they are being seen as different. And I don’t believe we are different. We are just people. For the record, I don’t see white, black, other-abled, old, young, or anything else. When I look at people, what I see are points of light.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion brands, colors, or trends?
Molly: Clothes are not important to me. Not at 64 years old! Although I do not wear pants! I like a nice skirt suit and I dress soberly. 
Monika: I have read somewhere that cisgender women were liberated thanks to the development of contraceptive pills whereas transgender women are free now thanks to the development of cosmetic surgery, so they are no longer prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome …
Molly: I would never have any form of cosmetic surgery. What people think of me is none of my business. I am unobtrusive and try and go through the world as quietly as I can.

Greetings to all my readers!

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Molly: I have been writing a daily diary since 1974 and currently amounts to about half a million truthful words. Perhaps it will be published after my death. But by then I will be doing a backstroke in a lake of fire! 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Molly: I was deeply in love for over thirty years. But cancer took her recently. There will never be anybody else.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Molly: A possible ten-part series about a London family who experienced World War Two. The Morrow series. I am currently writing book four.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Molly: That’s a deep question. Give in to it. Try not to struggle with it. There is no cure for pleasure. Acceptance is the only door you have to go through. It will only be not easy because of other people. So learn and practice detachment.
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transsexuals and transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Molly: Oh, very much. Where we place our attention for the good of ourselves is far more important. I believe that being trans can help us to mature more quickly. But in the end, we are just human beings trying to get by. Trying to find love, happiness, or wealth. At the end of the day, looking at the larger picture, nobody is any different from anybody else. 
Monika: Molly, thank you for the interview!
Molly: You are very welcome.

All the photos: courtesy of Molly Cutpurse.
© 2017 - Monika Kowalska

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