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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed author and environmental campaigner Esme Finch about her career, what inspired her to write her book, Through The Eyes Of A Tree, and the advice she has for others.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Esme Finch, author of Through The Eyes Of A Tree, interview on The Table Read
Esme Finch, author of Through The Eyes Of A Tree

A graduate in Events Management from Arts University Bournemouth, an earth guardian and conservationist, a forest leader in training, a poet and now a CliFi author!

A great hug is essential, dancing is part of my soul, a slice of spongey lemon drizzle cake (emphasis on the DRIZZLE), doggy kisses, wet moss rocks and spreading the love, is a little bit about me. 

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I never thought I would become a writer because at school I wasn’t the best at English but I always had an imagination to view the world a little more observantly. I began writing poetry only a few years ago and I got hooked. I was filling so many notebooks, scribbling down on old bits of paper in the middle of the night.

I performed at  a few open mic nights before entering into the biggest writing competition I had ever submitted, for Eastside Trust charity, for the I know I wish I will poetry marathon. To my disbelief, my poem Irregular Patterns got chosen! Unfortunately due to the pandemic the poem was performed digitally. This is when I gained more confidence in my writing and due to everyone being in isolation, I had the time to write, and this is where the story of Through the Eyes of a Tree came to life.

Last year, I would cycle to my grandma’s house, everyday I would go past the same gigantic willow tree that stood in a cove of grass, surrounded by cottages. As days went on I felt more and more connected to this tree that appeared to almost have changing faces within the bark. I noticed an old man shuffling along, staring at the magnificence, on other days I noticed children playing  or birds chirping from the dangling branches. I thought gosh you really have stood the test of time but I do worry about the future for the willow tree, with our ever changing weathers and deforestation. I wanted to write a book to view a tree as if a person, because we seem to forget that they are living species! To have more respect for these wonderful plants. 

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When did you take a step to start writing?

At the time when I took the step into writing, I was volunteering in an environmental education centre in Bali, Indonesia. I saw these two amphibians, a frog and a lizard, trapped in a swamp-like water container.  I thought perhaps they might quite like the water but surrounding this water container was the most beautiful pond bursting in luscious greens and filled with lily pads and  life. This water was just getting more and more stagnant and I noticed the lizard was floating on a piece of polystyrene, that looked like an iceberg, that must have blown in.

I got a bucket and sieved them out, plopping them into their new homes, it was the equivalent of travel lodge vs The Savoy hotel.  I began writing all about this occurrence, with a metaphor of that skanky water becoming our home if we’re not careful. This is still in notebook form but it’s cool to think I have another book in the pipeline. 

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

Wrote Through the Eyes of a Tree in March 2020, pretty much wrote the book in 2 days but got my first copy printed in September 29th August 2021. 

What made you want to write Through The Eyes Of A Tree?

A love for Trees and anything green! Environmental education is so important to younger years, so I definitely wanted to encourage young environmental activism in this book. 

What were your biggest challenges with writing Through The Eyes Of A Tree?

I had no challenges actually writing it because it flowed so easily. However I found I started to have imposter syndrome afterwards thinking that I wasn’t a good writer and does it even make sense etc but then my mum told me that “it gets to a point in creativity where it isn’t about you anymore, it’s about sharing it with the world and letting the people reading feel the impact, because they’ll be at least someone who gets it”. I thought yeah she’s right, it’s not about me, it’s message is about saving our beautiful trees. 

I have also found the marketing side a little tricky because I never know what to write but I’m receiving such great advice and help from Softwood Self Publishers who have a marketing guru, Nathan who helps with the twitter and Insta side of things. 

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

A willow tree on the way to my grandmas house near Shalford in Surrey 

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

Through The Eyes Of A Tree by Esme Finch, author interview on The Table Read
Through The Eyes Of A Tree by Esme Finch

All the people who don’t care about our planets health  

Chelsea Green Publishing - the leading publisher of sustainable living books since 1985.

What is the inciting incident of Through The Eyes Of A Tree?

Well because it’s a series of short stories there’s more than one incident but I would say when willow tree and friends nearly get chopped down but a young girl, along with other activists come to protect their fellow tree friends 

What is the main conflict of Through The Eyes Of A Tree?

Metaphor for our climate crisis

Did you plot Through The Eyes Of A Tree in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

Fly by the seat of my pants and wrote freely 

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Through The Eyes Of A Tree need?

Yes softwood self publishers helped with the editing, I believe we did 3 rounds of edits

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What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Just keep writing even if it doesn’t make sense because that’s what editing is for. Also during the day or at night we can think of the most random ideas, which often get ignored but these are the ones to tune into and come back to, to potentially writing a story 

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Yes Lizard and the toad! 

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I can’t believe it really. I am so proud. I haven’t got it in the shops yet but I do see it on the shelves I’ll get tingles, I just want to start sharing it with the world now 

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Twitter @enviro_mmatters

Insta:  enviro_mental_matters

Linkree: https://linktr.ee/Enviro_Mental_Matters (this will have the amazon link to buy the book soon) 

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