My favourite all time book has to be Tom's Midnight Garden, by Philippa Pearce. When I first read it, aged perhaps eleven or twelve, I simply enjoyed the story without seeing the deeper meaning. Then, on revisiting the story as an adult, I became enthralled by the beauty of the imagery and the touching and subtle change in relationship between Tom and Hattie, as one aged but the other did not.
I cannot wait to read this book to my own son. Pure magic
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything from humour to non-fiction. I have a wide range of interests.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on an iPad, using either the Kindle app or the iBook app.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social media, but it is in its early days for me! Direct advertising and in-magazine flyers worked well for my first book, Firework Art
Describe your desk
1 pc with twin monitors, plus my iPad and the laptop on which I write. The pc is used for design work only.
After the hardware, my desk usually comprises of junk, including pens in various stages of depletion, bits of paper, post-it notes and one or two empty cups.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Until the age of 11, I grew up in the north Liverpool suburb of The Old Roan, very close to the Aintree Racecourse (home of the Grand National) This location did influence me a lot. the race course was there to explore, alongside a canal which wound out into the countryside. I loved to explore, and enjoyed a freedom to do so which is sadly lacking for today's children. Our house also afforded an uninterrupted view across the gardens of the borough, and this led to perhaps the greatest influence of all in my life there. Each year, on Guy Fawkes Night, I sat and watched the fireworks from all the back gardens. That led to my fascination with light, fire and colour; a fascination that led me to enter the film industry and ultimately become a writer.
When did you first start writing?
I first wrote for an audience when aged 15. At the time I chaired the local astronomy society, and a local newspaper approached me to write 300 word article on an upcoming partial solar eclipse. They liked the article so much they asked me to write a monthly night sky article. This became syndicated to several other newspapers across the Northwest of England.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Call of the Siren introduces a new character to the genre of contemporary fantasy. She is the last Siren, the romantic, beautiful, mythical killer. Only now she is entrapped in our modern world, used by a strange and shadowy organisation against her will. She is there rare and specialised killer.
I wanted to write for a very popular genre, one with a huge and hungry audience, but did not wish to write about the usual vampires, zombies, ghosts and werewolves. I wanted a new character. I also wanted to have a strong and believable female character.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Primarily the freedom to chose how and when you release a book. Also, a certain disquiet at the direction the mainstream publishing industry has gone - celebrity authors for instance.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I din't know, to be honest. This is the beginning.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The ability to create a world that suits me. I can populate it as I see fit. God Complex??
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I may not have that many, but to know they appreciate my work means everything.
What are you working on next?
I am currently writing The Ribbon and the Hawk, an edgy thriller set in the world of pharmaceuticals. I am also thinking about book two of the Siren Trilogy
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My 6 year old. He demands his breakfast. And the dog needs a poo.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Pottering in the garden.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was called Ellen, and involved a haunted house. I never proceeded with the book, but I did turn it into a screenplay that came within half a year of being made for £1million! Then the funding company split and it just died away with the economic down-turn of the early 90s. I have never returned to the story.
What is your writing process?
Blasts. I write in blasts of flow, ranging from single 1k word sessions to 8-10k sessions. My record is is over 12k in one day. I plot the story roughly and then usually write it in a disjointed manner. I never start on page one and work through in order. I write chunks and then draw them together.
When satisfied with the rough draft, I set it aside for several months and then return later to behind the proper first draft.
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