Mainly mysteries and friends' recommendations. Otherwise non-fiction on topics of interest to me, including psychology and technical developments in the arts, e.g. mould making and casting.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have Kindle downloaded onto my PC and tablet.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My active involvement in music, as a pianist and singer, certainly influenced my setting for Endymion Intrigue and for the sequel Endymion Legacy. My short stories, due for publication this year, are taken from incidents throughout my life, sometimes from a passing remark or an observed incident. I am not aware that my childhood background has had much influence, possibly because I started writing well into adulthood.
When did you first start writing?
On an aircraft; a short story, 'The Keepsake', inspired by an incident which occurred while on holiday visiting friends. I had reached the age when life is supposed to begin, and this certainly applies to my writing life.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The setting is Endymion a touring opera company based in north Devon and the growing passion between a young operatic coach and a concert pianist, set against a background of suspicion, corruption, death and murder.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The problems, and time, involved trying to find an agent or publisher, and ultimately the challenge of doing it all myself, including designing my own book cover. Also, I have read many excellent books which may not have been published by the usual route and I thank these brave, determined writers for the hours of pleasure their stories have given to me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The simple, straightforward, step-by-step instructions for preparing a book for publication and the underlying encouragement in the writing style.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing my characters develop, sometimes apparently independently; feeling their joys and sorrows and their ultimate successes. I am mindful of a Somerset Maugham novel at the end of which he says that he supposes this has been a success story as everyone gets what they want; they do indeed but often at considerable personal cost; I believe this is an important aspect of life not to be overlooked or ignored.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have always found satisfaction in sharing my skills and successes with others, which I have done mainly through the visual arts and music. I hope now to convey my passion for writing to my readers and perhaps kindle in them a desire to write their own stories.
What are you working on next?
Endymion Legacy, a sequel to Endymion Intrigue, which to a large extent echoes Somerset Maugham's comment on success and the sacrifice it often entails. Although the amount of corruption and intrigue certainly matches that of its predecessor, I like to think that my characters come to maturity and acceptance in this story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Somerset Maugham, Roald Dahl, Donna Leon, Patricia Cornwell and many of the classicists, including Thomas Hardy for his understanding of the female condition; and one very special little book by Mavis Cheek, 'The sex life of my Aunt'. This story was reviewed by one much respected newspaper as a romantic comedy; clearly the critic either didn't read it or totally missed the point; romantic, yes, but ... please read it and reach your own conclusion.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My little dog walking all over me to remind me it's breakfast time - 7.30am and she's a marvellous timekeeper!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I still do a lot of sculpting and belong to various art groups; also a book group which helps to expand my reading experience. I enjoy membership of three writing groups, all with several talented writers. Friends are important to me with whom I socialise and enjoy conversation and discussion; and, of course, caring for my little dog Pixie, a ruby cavalier.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By category, recommendation or sometimes simply browsing through until a cover or title draws my attention.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Indeed I do, 'The Keepsake' which will be included in a volume of short stories due for publication this year and titled 'A Scent of Wild Thyme'. 'The Keepsake' starts with suspicion and the eventual discovery of drug smuggling - with an unexpected outcome.
How do you approach cover design?
My characters are colourful and I aim to design a cover to reflect this quality. I try to represent each important element in the story; for example, music and drugs feature largely in Endymion Intrigue, hence an open score with music symbols and a hypodermic syringe; the word 'morta' has an obvious connotation. The figure in the emerald robe is clearly distracted - and for very good reason, which will become clear on reading the story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) Somerset Maugham short stories - non-judgemental observation of human frailty. 2) 'All Passion Spent' by Vita Sackville West - shows the constraints on women even of the upper classes and how the central character becomes her own person in widowhood. 3) 'Antigone' by Sophocles - Demonstrates the conflict between principle and inclination. 4) 'Practising Wearing Purple' by Margaret Graham - a woman's tolerance of, and final escape from, an abusive relationship. 5) 'Tales of the Unexpected' by Roald Dahl - a truly balanced demonstration of justice in action.
Describe your desk
Littered with scrappy notes and experimental illustrations for a collection of humorous poems about my dog - and of course my beloved computer, drawing tablet and printer.
What is your writing process?
The creative process happens entirely inside my head; when it's all there I start to write, fast and furious. I know what I want to say - until the characters try to take over and sometimes have to be brought to heel, unless I recognise that they know themselves better than I do! I do write an outline for each chapter but with very little detail; this is to ensure that no salient points are missed.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.