Linda Ghio finished her PhD in creative writing at London Met in November 2020, focusing on the Italian steampunk genre. Here she tells us about her journey to becoming an author, including news on her upcoming novel.
Hi Linda, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey so far?
I grew up in Italy and after high school I moved to London to study on the Creative Writing BA degree course at London Met (now Creative Writing and English Literature BA). I’ve been working as a freelance translator and writer for 11 years, and for the past seven I’ve been living as a digital nomad – a journey that has so far spanned 20 countries! I started getting published during my undergraduate studies and have since experimented with different genres – poetry, memoir, historical, romance, paranormal, fantasy and non-fiction.
In November 2020 I completed my PhD in creative writing at London Met, focusing on developing and crafting an Italian steampunk genre. I’m currently completing the final edits on my novel, titled “The City of Water and Glass”, which will be represented by the Susijn Literary Agency.
I’ve got a few more really interesting projects in the pipeline! My main focus is further building the Italian steampunk genre, and during the lockdown I drafted three sequels for “The City of Water and Glass”. I’m also getting into travel writing, a genre I hadn't previously considered; after all these years on the road I have plenty of material, and new challenges are always thrilling!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I can remember – I could barely get words on the page in wobbly capital letters and I was already writing stories. The reason was simple, and it still hasn’t really changed. There are worlds I want to explore, and adventures I want to live; there are stories I want to read and nobody is writing them, so I have to do it myself. Getting published was an obvious next step once I realised that other people might enjoy my work as well.
Why did you choose to do your course at London Met?
For a long time I was hesitant about studying creative writing. I’m not a native English speaker and I was worried my writing would never be "good enough". Eventually I decided to take the plunge: even if I didn’t succeed, at least I'd give it my best shot. As it turned out, I achieved great results and my tutors started suggesting I pursue a PhD before I’d even graduated. Needless to say, I’m very glad I had enough confidence to try. So never let fear hold you back from pursuing your passion!
What did you enjoy about the University?
The best part was, hands down, my incredible teachers. I couldn’t have been luckier in that regard. I’m still in touch with all of them and it’s been such a privilege to have their help, guidance and support while growing as a writer, from student to colleague. They taught me so much, inspired me, challenged me, and were my biggest cheerleaders along the way.
How has studying creative writing at London Met helped you in the working world?
It gave me so many useful tools to help me harness the ideas floating in my head, craft them into stories that work and efficiently transfer them onto the page. Apart from the creative side, it also gave me priceless insight into the technicalities of the publishing process. I had the opportunity to make many professional connections which helped me pursue internships and explore different areas of publishing, and which are still invaluable to this day.
Do you have any advice for graduates starting out in writing?
As simple as it sounds, the one piece of advice I’d like to give is to write. Write as much as you can, experiment to your heart’s content, and never be afraid that it might not be "good enough": there’s no such thing! Writing is a craft and practice is the way to improve.
Also, try to start publishing as early as you can to get some direct experience of how that world works. Magazines, anthologies, smaller independent presses, self-publishing through your platform of choice – from editing to marketing, the whole publishing process will teach you a lot, and knowing how it all works makes it way less intimidating!
What is it about being a writer that you enjoy the most?
It’s certainly the creative side! I love the process of building a setting, imagining adventures, crafting a plot. After letting my imagination run wild with it, I love the phase where I start catching the ideas, putting them on paper and giving them a shape. Seeing it all come together to form an actual story is a thrill, and I’ll never get tired of it.
Another thing I love about freelancing is the flexibility it allows: I can set my own schedule and work from anywhere. Of course, it requires a good amount of discipline and it comes with the uncertainties of any freelance career, but it’s a small price I’m more than happy to pay for the freedom it grants me. I love my job, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!