If someone likes my stories, it gives me more reason to live!
What are you working on next?
A battle of wills between a cruel gremlin and a group of 'soccer moms' with bratty kids!
Who are your favorite authors?
There are quite a few great books out there, but the ones who have moved me most are by Tolkein, JK Rowling, David Peace, Murakami, Douglas Adams, and a mention must also go to John Perkins for his message. I'm currently loving the Miles Kelly science encyclopedias!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The opportunity to do something fun or make someone smile - though it sometimes doesn't feel that way when the 6am alarm rings!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Actually this might seem weird, but my hobbies include hiking, kayaking, MMA training (though I might be getting a bit old for that now!), watching good tv comedy, hanging out with friends - and of course teaching, at least until I become a bestseller hehe (we have to have a dream do we not).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Browsing randomly, which probably isn't the best way but sometimes I unearth the odd gem. Also I go by friends' recommendations, just like everyone else.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Haha yes I'm not allowed to forget it - my mother keeps it in a draw somewhere! It was about a great battle between all of my toys. My sisters still tease me about it (though they also say I should have been a writer - hence me trying now!).
What is your writing process?
Well, it's still early days but I've actually had to devise a sort of schedule just to be more organised and not waste time 'accidentally' surfing online or messaging friends and so on. I live in the countryside now so sometimes it's good to walk before or after getting some ideas down. I always try to keep a notepad with me too - though I tend to have my better ideas whenever I forget to bring it!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My Year 4 (Grade 3) teacher was a great woman who told us all we were brilliant at reading, so we suddenly actually improved enough to read and dissect The Hobbit together. It wasn't the first story I'd ever read but it was the first one I remember really enjoying the reading experience with. RIP Mrs Lindsey.
How do you approach cover design?
The idea for the design usually pops into my head by the time I've finished the story, but I'm not so patient with computers so I have to outsource the concept to be produced more professionally. It's a pity really because I'd love to draw for myself - the problem is that might scare some readers away!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Hmmm. Well, I read Goblet of Fire in one day and found it hard to sleep afterwards. 1974 is an exceptionally dark book that kept me awake for different reasons (but David Peace should still take credit). All Quiet on the Western Front was may favourite book as a teenager and made me think about the 'other side' of a story. The Lord of the Rings I read on buses, in canteens, even in the factory I was working at the time! Brilliant how Tolkein switched between characters in a way that kept me even more hooked. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: if I was more talented and less lazy, that is the book I could have written!
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything that will help me increase my knowledge; science, history, nature: I now feel it almost a duty to learn as much as I can in this life.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle - though I still prefer holding a paperback!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Urgh. Marketing - I wish I could just click 'publish' and sit back and relax!
Describe your desk
It's a big table overlooking the sea and mountains, strategically placed within reach of the fridge!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Liverpool. Anyone from Liverpool tends to feel it's influence. It has a bit of everything and will never let you get big headed. Having traveled over 60 different countries through literally hundreds of cities, it's still my favourite place. Like when in love with someone, I find I even like its faults!
When did you first start writing?
Properly? Very recently! I did quite a bit of writing about 15 years ago, then stupidly threw it out in a moment of madness. I'd be curious to read some of it now...
What's the story behind your latest book?
The stories I'm writing at the moment are based on my experiences in teaching of the last few years. Everything seems to involve pooh(!) but thankfully there's also quite a bit of other stuff going on too.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Maybe I shouldn't say this but I never even tried submitting to agents or publishers. The whole process looks so horrible and author's are made to feel like they've won a prize by getting published, as opposed to having earned it which they invariably have. Self-publishing isn't as easy as some might think but I still love the creative freedom involved.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's too early to say - fingers crossed I'll have another answer to this question some day!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Having a creative outlet and watching the reactions of people I read my stories too, especially when they laugh.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I will always try to write stories that make kids laugh and also think a bit too. I have some ambitious plots written down for longer books (for middle grade and adults too) - and when I finally avoid being distracted and get them published, I hope someone out there enjoys them.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.