What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I find this quite hard to answer. My writing is largely character-based, contemporary, women’s fiction. That’s not a very short answer is it? Or an actual genre come to that.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
I really prefer not to. My ‘daytime job’ as a publisher and editor gives me enough in terms of other writing to be thinking about. I like to be able to focus on one book of my own at a time, otherwise I find characters can get confused and there is not as much clarity of vision with regards storylines.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
No I don’t. I can see how that would be a really helpful and enjoyable thing to do but I really have so little time for actual writing that it’s not something I could fit into my life right now.
Can you remember your first reading book?
I can’t but I do remember reading loads as a child, and my parents reading to me. My dad read me The Hobbit when I was really quite young, I remember learning the word ‘throng’ from that. I don’t know why it’s stuck in my head but it has. I also absolutely loved the Magic Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton, and a book called Teeny Tiny and the Witch Woman which I lent to somebody and never get back (Dave if you’re reading this…)
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
I love crisps of most sorts. Wotsits are a firm favourite but leave orange fingerprints everywhere. When I’m trying to be healthy I go for rice cakes with Marmite, and fruit. Always plenty of cups of Yorkshire Tea as well.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
Ideally tidy, generally bombsite.
I am self-published, via my own publishing company – Heddon Publishing. I had sent my synopsis and three chapters off to many agents, received some encouraging feedback, but nothing in the way of a contract. Having worked as a freelance proofreader and editor for a company producing ebooks and print books, I realised that I could probably do the whole lot myself and should do so for my own books. With a young daughter, and a wage to earn however, as with everything, it was a matter of finding the time to really work out how to do it. When I was on maternity leave with my son, in 2012, a lovely man called Michael Clutterbuck got in touch, from Australia. He was looking for a publisher in the Shropshire/Cheshire area where he originates from and where much of his book Steaming into the Firing Line was set. I explained I was not yet a publisher but offered to work on his book as a trial, with the understanding that it might take a while (working while my son napped meant my hours were erratic). In September 2012 I published the book while Mike was visiting so he was here for the very moment I instructed Amazon to publish the book (slight anti climax when I realised it would take about 12 hours for the files to be approved). So that was the beginning of Heddon Publishing and in 2013 I published my own first novel, Writing the Town Read. I’ve published 13 books for other authors, including a sequel for Mike, and my second novel is due for release in late 2014.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
Kate Atkinson, Jane Austen, U.A. Fanthorpe – who I had the pleasure of learning from on an Arvon Foundation course when I was at sixth form.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
Write the whole thing without reviewing it. Just go for it, the editing will come later. Once you’re finished, read it through once and make the amendments you want to make. Then find some people who are willing to read it and give some honest feedback. Gather all the feedback together and give yourself some time to mull it over. Don’t make any amendments without having thought about them for a few days and making sure you are happy with them. If the same advice is given by a few readers, even if you don’t like it, give it some serious thought. However, at the end of the day it’s your book so the most important person when it comes to being happy with it is you.
Given my profession, I would say this, but get somebody to at the very least proofread your document. Editing is even better but can be expensive. If you are lucky you’ll have a pedantic friend or family member who’ll be delighted to alert you to all the errors in your manuscript. And there will be many – big or small. It’s hard to see them when you’re so close to the writing.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
I have thought and thought about this but I really have no idea! I would probably try and slide Colin Firth into it somewhere, maybe Jamie’s dad, in case I got to spend a lot of time on the set.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
Nothing in particular springs to mind. I’m sure it will after I’ve submitted these answers.
Links to my book on Amazon:
Link to Heddon Publishing website:
Biography: I live in sometimes sunny Shropshire with my husband and two children, and I run a small publishing business working with other independent authors. I always, always wanted to write yet I chose to study Philosophy at University, not English. With my interesting but not very practical degree tucked under my arm, I set out into the world in 1998, ready to take on some interesting and creative jobs. I ended up processing building society account applications, followed by a range of similarly unsatisfying jobs for various companies. I eventually moved on to more interesting roles within the ICT and charity sectors, but all the while I wanted to write.
I began and gave up on a couple of novels but once the idea of Writing the Town Read had hooked me, I was committed, though it still took a long time to complete. In parallel, I was taking a course in proofreading, with the Publishing Training Centre.
In 2009 I set up as a freelance proofreader and I completed the first draft of Writing the Town Read… and I gave birth to a little girl. It was a busy year. Since then, all of these things have grown and progressed. I now run a small publishing house, freelance as an editor, proofreader and copywriter, and my little girl is not so little. She also has a brother now, and Writing the Town Read has a novel to follow in its wake, hopefully later this year.