Thank you for inviting me for interview. As a first time author, interviews are important to help kickstart a new career, so I appreciate the opportunity. I have been writing stories since I was a child, but only in the last ten years I was given the chance to become a serious writer. With perseverance, I am now an author and my first romance novel, Goodbye, Henrietta Street, is due to be launched on 1 July 2013. I used to work as a self employed driving instructor and took additional exams to further my career and train the instructors. So I didn’t waste time, and enjoyed every moment reaching a higher than average grading with the Driving Standards Agency.
After 25 years of owning my own business, life was on the move again. Due to hard times at my husband’s work, he announced we were moving to The Netherlands; I had to give up everything. When I heard the news, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Perhaps with a quarter of a century of self-employment behind me, it was time to stop and do something else. So we moved to across the sea to North Holland and I became a writer. We are now in our twelfth year, but will return to England to find a new home in the next three years.
What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I didn’t set out to be a romance writer. I began writing, only to discover some months later that the genre was more popular than I ever imagined. Romance offers an escape from daily life. The escape word made me think that the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall, my personal paradise, would make the ideal place for a romance novel. The islands are my ‘escape’ and I wanted to offer the reader the benefit of my experiences through fiction. I had an idea I could use, to allow my readers to switch off from daily life and dream about wild places and wonderful beaches with my characters falling in love. I know it sounds cliché, but when you read the book you will discover it’s more than falling in love, there are both environmental and human issues and part of the main plot is set in Whitby, Yorkshire; this is a ‘tug of war’ long-distance romance between four characters. In due course, the story brings them all together and now you must read Goodbye, Henrietta Street to find out how that happens next.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
Yes I do. I’ve been progressively working through three manuscripts. I feel that by writing more than one novel at a time provides me with the opportunity to take a break from one story and to see the errors when I return to the previous work.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and until 2012 I was part of their New Writers’ Scheme. I am also a member of http://www.mywriterscircle.com which helps new writers learn more about writing through communication with the authors who provide help and advice. I recently joined the Society of Authors.
Can you remember your first reading book?
I think it had to be Enid Blyton and a particular one I do remember, was a Ladybird book called Ginger’s Adventures about a dog who got lost and the last page describes how Ginger came home ‘down the well-remembered lanes’. Those words seemed to have stuck in my head from the age of about five or six. They always brought tears to my eyes when finally Ginger made it home to his owner.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
It’s very important to exercise if you are a writer. I don’t snack during writing. I like a soothing cup of tea and I take the dog for a walk, but more important I go to a fitness centre twice a week and row about 2km in 12 minutes. I walk another 2km on the treadmill and cycle for ten minutes on the exercise bike. That’s enough for me! Exercise is good brain food.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
I regularly make changes to my office. It’s a small room next to the kitchen. My husband made a delightful flower border at the week-end and now I have a pleasant view from the window as well. My space isn’t tidy, but I have a dog called Dylan who shares it with me. He’s a Jack Russell aged 16 months. About every five weeks, I carry out an office-laundry session to clear everything and start again.
I decided that self-publishing was not for me. Despite all the recent discussions on the subject, I still feel that having the support of a publisher is important. Many self-published books are excellent and I have quite a few on my Kindle. However, I purchased a self-published book a couple of weeks ago and was unable to continue reading. I really thought the author would provide me with a darned good read. The book had received all the usual praise on Twitter. How wrong could I be? Every other sentence had the word WAS in it. Sad to say I spent money on a book that disappointed me. I have nothing against self-publishing; I just wish some of the self-published authors would ensure their work was tightened up. It’s worth it to be known as a self-published author with a good reputation.
After about 25 submissions I found a mainstream publisher in Safkhet Publishing, London. For anyone who wants to get on the first rung of the publishing ladder, this is an excellent start. The managing editor seemed to like my story. Their company policy is to be environmentally friendly with a paperless office; they are also sympathetic to wildlife issues. My story and their policies matched well.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
Mary Wesley, Annie Murray, and Jean Fullerton. Mary began to write at the age of 70 and I was inspired by her first novel The Chamomile Lawn. I felt that if she could begin a writing careeer at this age, then there was hope for me.
Annie Murray, author of The Chocolate Girls and Papa Giorgio her latest book, is an excellent writer who takes the relatives and friends of characters from her previous novels and writes a story about them in her subsequent books. They are like old friends and I’m always keen to find out what happened to them. Mary Wesley had a similar format and I love reading their novels.
Jean Fullerton took on the role of mentor at a workshop we arranged in Yorkshire. Jean is very approachable and although extremely busy, always finds time to answer questions. I have just purchased her latest book Calling Nurse Millie. Jean is a professional nurse as well as an author and writes historical novels about the London area.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
For me, I just write it and fix it later. Some like to prepare their work in a plan. I would say whatever works best for you, follow your heart. The reason I write organically, is that I have so many things going on in my head that if I don’t write them down immediately, they get lost
I like to ensure that when I send a manuscript to a publisher I have had someone else check it through for me, even if it means sending it to a reputable editing company such as Cornerstones in London. I chose several people to read my work before I posted a submission. I think with a manuscript you have to speculate to accumulate, as they say. Paying for editing is not always the answer, but it certainly helped me. As a member of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme, they also provided me with an honest report of my work.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
I’m often asked this question and I really don’t know who I would choose, I think I prefer to leave that to the casting director. Perhaps with my next novel I have six characters and I could possibly have acting roles for all of them. It will be that kind of book. Certainly I would use Johnny Depp for my evil character.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
I do have a true story with a twist relating to the Isles of Scilly. Many years ago, resident ornithologist David Hunt was on a trek in India with a group of people. We met David a few times during our stay on the islands. For a short while he was left alone on the nature reserve, away from the group and taking photos. The last photo was of a tiger’s mouth around the camera lens! Needless the say David was mortally wounded and everyone on the islands was shocked by the incident. He was a friend of Wildlife presenter Bill Oddie who later returned with the BBC to find out more about man eating tigers and why his friend was attacked.
After David’s death, we visited the islands and discovered a seat, in his memory, at the junction of Telegraph Road on St Mary’s. We cycled past the seat then stopped to sit for a while, only to find that in the undergrowth and under the seat was the largest ginger striped tabby cat you ever did see. That really is a true story!
Gosh, how eerie!
An island paradise in Cornwall
The eternal nature holiday or just a passing wave on the beach?
Pippa Lambton’s life has fallen apart and husband Rob is ready to give up their marriage. Three years before, their son Daniel passed away; he was the glue that held them together. Now, Pippa’s left home for the beautiful Isles of Scilly, for a chance to rediscover herself. She meets handsome Norwegian nature warden, Sven Jorgensen, who teaches her about the island wildlife.
Pippa finds herself laughing again. She is aware of Rob’s dilemma over his childhood adoption and their turbulent relationship, but after an awkward kiss with Sven, she is torn about how to proceed. There is much to resolve, and leaving Rob could prove a disaster. Is her affair with Sven a holiday fling? How can she walk away from Rob after losing Daniel? Should she leave her home in Yorkshire for Sven and his island paradise? Find out more in Goodbye, Henrietta Street.
Please go to the following links if you wish to discover more about Lin Treadgold or watch a video about the Isles of Scilly.