Friday's Star: Lian Slayford

Lian has studied archaeology, history and mythology for several years and is a professional archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.  She is also a professional travel content writer and editor.


Lian Slayford Hi Lian. Welcome to Mandy’s Pages. It is a great pleasure to have you at the Friday’s Stars. Please tell our readers a little about yourself.  

My name is Lian Slayford and I am an archaeology writer first as this was where I earned my degree. However, I also describe myself as a travel writer as the majority of my clients hire me for my travel writing skills.


I know you as a writer for quite a long time. This makes me wonder, how was it when you first started writing?  What made you start? 

The earliest time I actually sat down to write was during my early teens. I won’t go into the details here but I went through dark periods in my early teens and writing was my therapy. It was on paper that I could express myself when the words couldn’t be vocalised. There was just this intense feeling that if I didn’t write it down, then I would have lost myself.


 Everyone has his or her own inspiration. Where do you find yours? 

Usually through archaeology and mythology. A legend over 3,000 years ago still retains a great deal of power and it is that power that inspires me. I can look at a broken vase and ‘see’ people and a story around it. I spend half my time just ‘seeing’ a story unfold in front of me. 


What do you mostly write about? 

At this point in time it is mostly travel – luxury travel in particular. However, when I get the chance I write about history, archaeology and mythology. 



What is so fascinating about archaeology and religion that you have to blend both together? What makes it tick for you? 


I always remember when it started for me. When I was about 6 years old we did a history project on Ancient Greece and part of it was on mythology. It fascinated me and I read everything on Greek myths. As I got older that mythology expanded with history and by the time I was ten I knew that I had to work in this field. Religion isn’t just about faith – its history, entertainment, an explanation system, social issues and science all rolled into one. Learning about the history of religion is completely fascinating – by exploring it you explore yourself, where we were and where we are heading. 


Lian, for someone being inspired by a unique blend of archaeology and mythology: is there anything like a writer’s block for you? 

Unfortunately I do get writer’s block from time to time. However, I only get it if I am working on only one project, so I tend to have at least three projects going at a time to avoid writer’s block.


Would you consider yourself an expert in your field? 

My specialty is religious archaeology and I have spent years studying and writing about it. However, I do not consider myself an expert in this field as I don’t hold the necessary qualifications for it yet. In a few more years when I have my PhD completed and have written for academia, then I may consider myself an expert. For now, I’d say I’m a semi-expert. 


Each writer faces different challenges. What kinds of challenges are unique to your freelance writing? 

A few years ago I’d say my biggest challenge was focusing on actually sitting down and concentrating on one project at a time. Nowadays, with two children under two years old, my biggest challenge is finding the time to work on non-paying writing.


Ok, let’s assume that a publisher approaches your work and reviews what you write. How do you think they will grade you on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best? 

At the moment I would say my archaeology writing would be a 7.5 and my travel writing would be 7. My writing has always satisfied my client’s needs but there is always room for improvement.


And what about you? How would you grade yourself? 

Again, I think I am about a 7 depending on what genre I’m writing about. There are definite areas where I could improve on, but my overall work is satisfactory. However, what I may see as unsatisfactory may be extraordinary to others.


Excellent! Now, based on your experience, how would you advice an aspiring writer? 

The best piece of advice I could give is to actually write down how you feel. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, the beauty of your words comes from the passion you feel. Sometimes the words may be nonsense to you initially, but the passion you feel gets transferred into the words and that is what will eventually make you an exceptional writer. 


Lian, how would you like to see yourself in ten or twenty years? 

Nowhere in my future can I not see writing being a part of it. In the best case scenario I would love to have a successful writing career in both fiction and non-fiction, creating a stir in the archaeology and horror/fantasy genres. Even if it doesn’t happen, writing is a part of my identity and will always be so. 


That was indeed wonderful, Lian.  Not everyone can say they are interested in archaeology as a specialization.  You have not only taken it to heart but have found ways to share it through your writing. I thank you for taking the time to join me in this interview. On behalf of Mandy’s Pages, I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors. May your writing career not only be successful, but also take you places you've dream of.


Get to know more about Lian Slayford at her Personal Profile. 

Image Cedit: Lian Slayford