What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I write sub-genres of romance. My first book, Dangerous Waters, is a romantic mystery and my second, Finding Mother, a romantic family drama. I feel that ‘romance’ is a bit limiting as a description as I’m writing about relationships, both familial and sexual. As a psychotherapist, I’ve always been fascinated by people and how we relate to one another, as well as cope with trauma and tragedy.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
Only in that I might be editing a final version of one book while writing another. I do find that I’m less able to multi-task these days and prefer concentrating on one task at a time. Put it down to anno dominiJ
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I have done in the past. When I was writing Dangerous Waters I felt very much the naïve ‘newbie’ and joined various classes and groups. Since then I’ve moved and haven’t found the right sort of group but bounce my ideas off an author friend. She soon tells me if I’ve lost the plot!
Can you remember your first reading book?
Probably the ubiquitous ‘Janet and John’ at primary school. Boring! My parents were not readers and we had no books in the house. Once I’d learnt to read I made weekly trips to the library to borrow as many books as I could. My favourite books at junior school were the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton. I so wanted to go to boarding school! I think the modern equivalent are the Harry Potter books which are pure escapism and really stretch a child’s imagination.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
Try not to! Sometimes I do need ‘brain food’ and go for a banana or a small bag of fruit and nuts.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
Definitely bomb-site! The problem isn’t that I’m untidy(!) it’s that my desk and study are just not big enough. I write in what was the single bedroom of my house and the desk and adjoining file drawers house my all-in-one computer (large 23″ screen), keyboard, all-in-one printer, stereo, orchid plant and phone. There’s not much room left for my notepads etc. I used to write by hand first but had to give up when I developed arthritis in my thumb joints, resulting in an operation earlier this year. To reduce the strain on my hands I now only type but it’s not as intuitive as writing by hand.
Self-published. I spent many years trying to find an agent and finally bit the bullet and became an indie early 2012. I used a publisher, Matador, who did a lot of the work for me, but It was expensive and I still ended up in charge of marketing. I learnt a lot from that experience and this year set up my own publishing company, Sarnia Press, to publish Finding Mother. My books are available in print and ebook so there’s a lot of marketing involved, both in the flesh and online. I do feel it takes me away from my writing and would love to have someone market my books for me – and for free, of course J
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
I’ve always had eclectic taste in my reading so it’s hard to pin it down to three authors. I devoured everything by Maeve Binchy, Erica James and Robert Goddard; Goddard’s thrillers being rather a contrast to the ‘women’s fiction’ of the other two!
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
Accept that the first draft is just that – a draft. Not much more than the bare bones of the story and will need a great deal of fleshing out, and paradoxically, pruning back before it’s ready for the outside world. I send my loosely edited work to a few beta readers before looking for a professional edit. That way a number of issues can be addressed before the need to pay an editor.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
Gemma Arterton would be wonderful as Nicole and Tom Hiddleston gorgeous as Ben.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
Well, a few years ago I lived on a Dutch barge, moored on the river in a marina at Bath. My barge was attached to a floating pontoon and the gang plank rose with the water level. One January I had to go and visit my mother in the midlands and packed my case ready the night before. When I woke the next morning the river had flooded – delayed reaction from heavy rain the day before. I was stuck! Phoned the marina office and they sent for the fire brigade! Shortly after, a large rib holding four strapping firemen, chugged up the river and helped me aboard, complete with case and laptop. They then motored the few hundred yards round to the marina itself and helped me disembark. Although a little embarrassed that many eyes watched my disembarkation, I did enjoy the attention of the hunky firemen.
Wow, what a wonderful result to a horrid event! Thanks for sharing. Hunky fireman … dreamy!