A mess is probably the most accurate description. My 'office' is in the lounge-room and I have an old photo on the top shelf of the desk of our family when the boys were little and hubby and I were young.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Wentworth, New South Wales, Australia and spent my early years living on a citrus orchard. I don't remember much about the orchard, but I do remember watching Mum pulling the gizzards from chickens at the dining-room table. Fascinating. We moved across the border to Victoria when I was 7 and I spent most of my childhood in the country there. I'm not sure if any location affects my writing--possibly I'm a bit more laid-back about it than city folk? I really don't know. I did live in a Sydney suburb for a year as a teenager and no doubt that had some effect on me. The best thing about living in Sydney was going to live shows--I saw the Rolling Stones and the Easybeats, Normie Rowe's farewell concert before he went off to Vietnam and lots of others I've forgotten, as has the world in general.
When did you first start writing?
Looking back, I've always loved reading and I enjoyed writing stories at school but it's only been the last 15 years I've taken it seriously. I discovered an old case a while ago with a couple of exercise books from primary school and one from high school that had a couple of stories I remember writing. I also remember drawing the pictures in the primary school books--I was very proud of them and always loved drawing. When my youngest son started school I spent several years studying art before swapping it for writing. Now my art and design background helps with my book cover designs.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's great to know other people, all over the world, are reading my stories and I love it when anyone takes the time to write a review.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest publication is 'Her Flesh and Blood', a fiction version of my previous book, 'Not Guilty', about a court case in 1910--multiple murders. Writing a fiction version allowed me to flesh out the story a bit more. Although I had access to a lot of information I was frustrated by what I couldn't possibly know, so I've now invented a background story using the information from newspapers and public records as a starting point. It's set in the late 19th and early 20th century and I enjoyed creating a history for Milly, the main character. I have no idea what kind of child she was, of course, but giving her a childhood made her more real in a way and I feel at last I've finished with what was a horrific tale that has been in my thoughts for too long!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a bit of a boost from a writer friend, with whom I co-authored a book for a traditional publisher, and when I found out how easy it was there was no stopping me. It is work and the formatting is my least favourite part but I enjoy a challenge. If I can get through university in my fifties, give up smoking and give birth to 5 sons, I can surely format my own books!
What are you working on next?
Good question--I'm writing something but I'm not quite sure where it's going yet. I think it's something about teenagers and a séance. (Update: that story, 'Dark Innocence' is available now on Amazon and I'm currently working on a novel about two girls and a road trip around Australia.)
What do you read for pleasure?
I like a variety of genres, both in my reading and my writing--my default position has always been historical fiction but I love Stephen King's early work. What I like about horror is not knowing what's going to happen next--a lot of books are, perhaps necessarily, predictable. I've written one horror of sorts, 'Inheritance', and had complaints about the ending, as well as compliments! Some of us like surprises and some don't. I'm currently on Book 3 of a rural romance series, so some predictably is assured! As a series, they cover a time period from early to late 20th century so there's plenty of room for me to insert a bit of history. All of my books are available on Amazon, most as PODs as well as ebooks.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a kindle which is brilliant for travelling and doctor's waiting rooms but I can't say I've completely converted to ebooks. They're fine for short stories but for novels I still prefer an old fashioned book.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sometimes things just work and it's hard to define--the characters take over the story and tell me what to write next and it's just easy. I do spend a lot of time when I'm not at my desk thinking and planning--especially when I can't sleep--but when they take over is when it all works best.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have five adult sons, three daughters-in-law and two grandsons, so they take care of quite a bit of my time. My youngest son is an actor and we've just been to Melbourne for his latest production, which was brilliant. Only two of my sons live in our area, and one of my grandsons, who we see quite a bit. I'm not a great gardener, although I'd love to have a beautiful garden, and I'm not crafty, although I used to paint. I like to read, watch movies and go for walks.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I do remember some of my early books. Enid Blyton was my favourite writer and I particularly loved her stories about the Far Away Tree--brilliant. Her imagination was amazing and she certainly had a lot to do with my love of reading. My eldest sister, who is 10 years older than me, and shares my love of books, used to buy me a book every birthday. Now she reads mine!
How do you approach cover design?
This is an interesting one--I do have some background in art and design and that might be of some help. I design my own covers, sometimes using Amazon's cover creator as an aid, sometimes just using my very basic computer skills. I usually find free pictures from http://www.morguefile.com/archive.
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