My desk is an old wooden desk that I've had for many years. I've deliberately positioned it so that I can look out of the window and watch the world go by.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the feeling of being totally in the creative zone - a receptive place where I open myself up to inspiration. Over the years, I've developed as a writer and now trust the creative process more. I'm able to let go and allow the story to come through me without forcing, pushing, planning or cajoling. It takes some practise and huge amounts of trust to sit there with a blank sheet of paper and no idea how the characters and story will unfold, but I know for sure that is when I do my best work.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a sequel to Area One. Those who have read Area One will know that this first book cannot be the end.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to walk and visit beautiful quintessential villages, historical houses and gardens. Being in the fresh air and countryside makes me feel happy and glad to be alive, so I make sure I get out most days for a walk. And I especially love the still and peaceful early mornings.
What is your writing process?
I generally begin my writing day with an early morning walk followed by breakfast. Then I meditate. It's something I learnt years ago and I find it really helps me get into the creative zone. The first draft of any book is always written away from my desk, sitting somewhere comfortable like the lounge with my pen and A4 pad. Once I'm relaxed, I open myself up and allow inspiration to guide my writing. At this stage, I'm in free-flow writing and don't judge, alter, re-write or worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar. Mornings are my best time for writing. Sometimes I'll continue through into the afternoon, it all depends upon my mood. I'm careful not to beat myself up if I don't do a whole day's worth of writing. That definitely takes me out of the creative zone. Once I have my first draft, I transfer it to my PC and it's at this stage that I begin to evaluate, correct and adjust. Throughout the writing process, I also avoid reading books from the same genre and deliberately do not seek any feedback, because I find it can get in the way of the creative process. Once I've finished the book, that's when I seek feedback.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At the moment I've got a Kindle which I quite enjoy. I remember my first holiday with the Kindle, it was such a revelation and made a huge difference to the weight of my suitcase.
When did you first start writing?
I first started as a teenager and loved writing poems. They were a great way for me to express all my teenage angst.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Even though it is a passion of mine, strangely, I avoided it for years. I guess like many people, I was plagued with doubts and limiting self belief, so I took another path and trained as a beauty therapist, before moving into teaching, and finally into corporate training and development. In my late thirties I began to explore other avenues and after a misguided business venture shook me to the core, I eventually gave up and surrendered to what was in my heart - my writing. But it took me half a lifetime to acknowledge, accept and embrace what I truly loved. Why do we do it to ourselves?!
Do you ever get writer's block?
No! Mainly because I've learnt to be kind and easy with myself. So if I'm not in the right head-space and can't face writing, I give myself the day off, or even the week off, with no regret or guilt, and definitely no admonishing. The worse thing I can do is try to force my creative work, I guarantee it won't be my finest. I've also learnt that inspiration doesn't work like that. It flows best when you are relaxed and feeling good. That's why I swear by my morning meditation to get me in the right place.
What advice what you give to your younger self?
As a youngster, I lacked self belief, rarely listened to my intuition and was fearful what other people would think. So if I could really talk to my younger self, this is what I would say: "You are here for a reason and you have a vital and essential part to play in this glorious game called life. You are one of a kind and your job is to discover your own desires and passions. As you go forth, don’t let other people cloud your path. Focus on what gives you joy. Uncover your unique gifts and avoid others telling you what they should and shouldn’t be. Listen only to yourself. Listen to your soul, your heart, your yearnings. Refrain from comparing yourself with anyone else, because it’s absurd. It is like trying to compare snowflakes, they are all different and all very beautiful. And above all, know that you are loved and wanted more than you will ever know.”
What advice would you give to any aspiring writers?
If it is in your heart and soul, go for it! Take time to discover what writer you are and what works best for you and don't worry if it sits outside the norm. This is about you, your creative self expression, your own unique style and your preferred writing process.
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