Posts Tagged ‘Nicola Lindsay’

Scriptorium: Nicola Lindsay

24th June 2020

Nicola Lindsay started writing seriously in her early fifties. After having her poetry and two children’s books published, she had five novels published by Poolbeg. She was also published in America and Germany. She wrote and produced a humorous Christmas play for adults and also had a feature screenplay optioned.

Clíona Ruiséil: What can you tell me about the script you’re writing at the moment?

Nicola Lindsay: The script I have been working on is the second draft of a two-hour feature. It is based on one of my novels, Diving through Clouds. It is about Kate, an agnostic, middle-aged woman, who dies and is taken aback by the fact that she is left hovering above her corpse, accompanied by a black guardian angel. She leaves behind her an unhappy marriage and a loved lost daughter. With the help of her guardian angel, she tracks down her daughter in France and, to her delight, discovers she has a grandson. He is a vulnerable seven-year old and the two bond, enabling Kate to bring about the coming together of her fractured family. She learns forgiveness and hard-won patience in the process – as well as getting pretty nifty at diving through clouds, walking through walls and other such spook-like abilities.

CR: How have you approached the adaptation – what kinds of decisions have you had to make?

NL: I wasn’t sure what genre this story fitted. My novel is fantasy but has some very adult situations involving a wife who is mentally abused before her death from cancer, an adulterous affair, loss and middle-aged passion. I liked the idea of it being a family friendly film as they seemed rather thin on the ground. In the end, I decided to leave out some of the darkly spooky stuff in the book and concentrate on the fun had between the dead grandmother and the young grandchild. Because my novels usually contain quite a lot of descriptive writing and mentioning what is going on inside the characters’ minds, it was difficult not to make the script too horizontal. Because I knew the characters so well, it was horribly easy to forget to show rather than just assume an audience would have cottoned on and didn’t need further explanation. Like writing poetry, I found it challenging cutting dialogue to the minimum and that was the area in which I had to work hardest.

CR: In terms of the business side of things, from your perspective is it more or less difficult in this country to find a publisher for a novel, than a producer for a film?

NL: Finding a publisher for a novel is a nightmare! It took me months of rejections before Diving through Clouds was published by a well-known publisher. I had previously had a children’s book, a selection of poetry and a novel all brought out by a very small publisher, who then went out of business. The editor didn’t seem to understand that marketing and distribution of one’s books was somewhat crucial to their success. My first feature script was optioned by a minor film company, who then produced a contract so impossibly weighted against the writer, that I had to withdraw. I had to chalk this up to bitter experience. Since I have only just completed this draft of Diving through Clouds and am in the process of approaching a producer, I’m not yet as experienced – or bruised – in the area of film production companies but I have the feeling that it may prove to be just as difficult as finding a good book publisher. Ask me in six months time!

CR: Are there any themes, issues or types of characters that are of particular interest to you?

NL: I lived in Africa for several years and so I love films and books that deal with life there: the struggle to develop strong and equitable systems in countries that, for years suffered under colonial rule and are still recovering and fighting back. I love the extended family systems and the joy in music and dance and the fabulous colours and tropical smells. I especially enjoy storylines where white and black are equal and supportive of each other.

Perhaps because I am now seventy-six, I especially enjoy seeing feisty, interesting, funny, wise older characters on the screen and I like intelligent gentle stories, touched with humour and sometimes a little pathos. I also like characters who go against what is considered to be correct behaviour – the quirky, anarchic and the irreverent. I want to see characters in films – and storylines – that make me think and question and that touch me and fill me with delight.

CR: How have you been managing during the Covid crisis?

NL: I was cocooned and I managed quite well, mostly working on the second draft of the screenplay. I also started to re-work my latest novel, Mama Bea’s Retreat. I mixed mental labour with planting and weeding and listening to French podcasts to keep me on my toes. I tried, not always successfully, not to worry about what the future holds for us all.

CR: Do you have any daily writing rituals, favourite place to write or other things which you feel are essential to getting your work done?

NL: When grandchildren visit, any rituals go straight out of the window! Usually, I try and write in the mornings when my mind is less cluttered and I write in my study with views out onto my much-loved garden and bird bath and feeders. When I am involved in writing scripts I find it best not to lose myself in a book as I don’t want to be influenced by another’s writing style that I enjoy or admire.


Scriptorium means a place for writing – so this is a place for you to discuss your work, your views on writing in general, your thoughts on the industry and anything else you’d like to mention. You can focus on a script that you’ve written which was produced during the last year, or one you’re currently writing. We hope you enjoy this series and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We welcome in particular writers who may have an unusual or atypical experience of scriptwriting in Ireland in terms of their ethnicity, gender, age, physical ability, socio-economic background or other life experience.

Bheadh áthas orainn freisin a chloisteáil ó scríbhneoirí le Gaeilge gur mhaith leo an agallamh a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge.

If you’d like to participate simply email: