Freelance Journalist Interview with Flic Everett
Flic Everett recently returned her focus to freelancing after a year as acting features editor at Candis, and today tells us what else she's been up to since we last spoke back in April 2010. Reader-chilling, novel-publishing, tea-drinking and bubble-popping, as well as website-editing Road, Rail & Sea (which was originally inspired by flight-fearing) have been just some of the highlights – what will Flic be doing next?
About your journalism
Hello again Flic! Tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since the last time we spoke…
Since 2010, I’ve published a novel and several short stories for Kindle, and launched the travel website for non-flyers, Road, Rail & Sea. I’ve also been continuing with my freelance writing, editing and broadcasting career and have just finished a year as acting features editor of Candis magazine.
Any scoops/features you’re particularly chuffed about working on since 2010?
A feature I wrote for The Telegraph recently, which I loved, involved spending a day as a Victorian farmer’s wife at Acton Scott Historic Farm – I got to dress up in a sunbonnet and a pinny, make griddle scones, and peg out the washing in the farmyard.
I also recently interviewed the children’s illustrator Shirley Hughes and her daughter Clara, also a children’s book author, for The Guardian. That was a lovely afternoon drinking tea with my childhood heroine.
What interview or feature would you still love the chance to do?
I’d love to have an opinion column again – I was columnist on the Manchester Evening News (MEN) for several years, and I miss being able to air my opinions every week. I have a lot I’d like to say about the world at the moment!
You’ve released your first novel, ‘The Only Friends You Need’ – how did you get the idea for the novel? Are you planning a follow-up?
I wrote it because I wanted to write a book where friendship, rather than a love affair, was the main focus – friends are so important, and your group of friends says so much about who you are. In your twenties, you’re all in the same boat, but then people start pairing off, having kids, moving away – I wanted to write about how life changes friendships and how much it effects us when friends hurt us, or make bad decisions.
At the moment I am writing a different kind of novel. In the meantime, I’ve also been publishing supernatural short stories on Amazon ('The Other House', 'The People Before', 'The Fireplace') – they seem to be quite popular, as people like to be chilled!
You edit Road, Rail & Sea – are you scared of flying yourself?
In a word, yes. I can get on a plane without screaming, but I don’t enjoy a single minute of the flight. I’m always white-faced for about an hour after landing. That was why we had the idea – my husband and I were on a road trip driving down to Italy and thought there must be an easier way of planning the trip, by car or train. There wasn’t, so we decided to start the website.
About you and PRs
What has been the strangest/most unusual source of inspiration for a feature for you?
I wrote a piece for Top Santé last year about my most inspiring place – it’s Portmeirion, the Welsh village – and I happened to be staying there when I wrote it. But lots of my feature ideas come from conversations, quirky news stories or personal experience. I wrote a feature for Road, Rail & Sea recently based on a really rubbish 1950s French cookery book I found in a vintage shop!
With your focus now back on freelancing and the Road, Rail & Sea website, what info from PRs will be useful to you?
It’s always the suggestions and releases where the PR has taken time to understand what I do. I’m always happy to have good interview or case study suggestions, but they need to think beyond the obvious – no publication on earth still does ‘a woman in a man’s world’ type features, for instance, and I don’t do interiors or music, yet constantly get sent home products releases and stuff from music PRs.
Instead, I’d love info on travel in Europe and Britain – cruises, train travel and car journeys, hotels, self catering, things to do and so on. We’re interested in press trips, and freelance-wise, good lifestyle ideas, or new research and surveys are always welcome.
Do you find that the idea of what makes a good lead, or story, is very different for journalists and PRs?
Yes – PRs are always under pressure from clients, so will often try to shoe-horn something that isn’t a great story into a publication. I hate saying ‘no’, but unless they’ve really taken time to look at the type of features in the mag, it probably won’t work. And again, the real problem is sending stuff that’s too obvious – I’ve had it up to here with 'Mumpreneurs' doing baby products, for instance, and no national paper is going to do a story on them without a really great peg. It always helps hugely to have a news peg, or a strong angle for a story – otherwise the journalist has to do all the work to find one, and I don’t usually have time!
Do you find social media useful in your work?
Yes, incredibly. I love Twitter and am on it every day (@fliceverett). And I often use both Twitter and Facebook to find case studies or quotes for features. For Road, Rail & Sea we use Twitter (@RoadRailAndSea) all the time to chat to contacts and clients, and have Facebook and Pinterest pages as well to promote new content and special offers.
On Twitter, you describe yourself as being “born holding a pin” – what’s harder to craft, a vintage-style dress for dancing, or a first novel?
Ah – the pin remark was more about me being a popper of bubbles! But I have attempted dress making, when I had a vintage shop – and for me that was definitely harder as I’m not very neat.
As someone who still suffers with being compared to Phoebe from ‘Neighbours’ (she married Todd and played the piano back in the 90s…exciting times in Australian Soap), has anyone ever compared you to Flic from Neighbours (as played by Holly Valance)?
No. Never, sadly. But I’d be quite flattered it they did.
Flic Everett, who's definitely a lot like Flic from 'Neighbours' (as played by Holly Valance), can be found tweeting @fliceverett.