Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Southern England - Hampshire, to be precise. About twenty miles from Chawton, where Jane Austen lived. Um...yeah, it probably did have an influence on me. LOL I do believe that having walked the fields and countryside, much of which might well look close to the way it did a couple of hundred years or so ago, makes it easier for me to write a Regency novel and set it accurately into that time. The birds, the scents, the light...unique to each location.
When did you first start writing?
That's a difficult question to answer. In school writing was expected. I wrote essay after essay, without questioning it. Some became short stories (still in school) and the actual craft of writing was probably honed at that time. My first book, however? That was waaaay back nearly thirty years ago now. Published by Zebra/Kensington. A sweet Regency under another name and now out of print. From then on, I was hooked.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Becoming self-published was inevitable for me, I think. I was losing control, finding it harder to maintain my creativity in the face of constant and stifling rules, and getting increasingly frustrated with the "business" end. Finally, I gave up and stopped writing. I was miserable. Then the light returned as I tentatively published my first three short stories by myself...and the rest, as they say, is history. I'm happy again, have retrieved my creative muse from the mud, and am free to write what I want to write, not what I'm told to write. Welcome back to Bliss.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been an integral and vital part of my self publishing world. When I began, it was an alien place where things like formatting and meatgrinding mattered. Where my manuscript was "vetted" and eventually reached places I couldn't...vendors that didn't want to deal with lil' ol' me, but were content to take my work from the able hands of Smashwords. After the first few bumpy publishing experiences, I got the hang of it and now? I view Smashwords as a business partner in my ongoing literary adventures. One I might consider taking out for dinner now and again. LOL
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a lot of favorite authors, and surprisingly most of them aren't in my particular section of the library! I do love S.L. Carpenter, with whom I write. I don't think we could write together if we didn't enjoy each other's individual work. I'll always find time for Nora Roberts - she's the tops for a reason...she's just fabulous. I'll pick up Susan Elizabeth Phillips' latest, along with Jayne Ann Krentz. Right now I'm enjoying Phillippa Gregory, and I have some of Catherine Coulter's FBI tales on my Nook. For sheer guilty entertainment, I'll admit to having every Laurell K Hamilton book on my shelves, and Stephanie Plum's adventures make me laugh. After that? Elizabeth George is an immersively fascinating read, James Patterson's Alex Cross fascinates me and Ann Rice's works are engrossing and occasionally disturbing. Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, of course...and the list goes on. LOL
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, honestly? A need for coffee and the ladies' room. Not necessarily in that order. LOL
How do you approach cover design?
Ahh. Now this is near and dear to my heart. I've always been fascinated with graphic art, and dabbled in the pixel pool for several years before trying my hand as a freelance cover artist. I was blessed to be able to learn from some of the best out there (S.L. Carpenter) and now I co-own a small graphics business dedicated to all things literary. We produce not only cover art, but promotional materials, web headers, Facebook images and so on. My co-owner? Yep. None other than the aforementioned artistic genius, S.L. Carpenter.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh boy. That's truly an impossible question. Only five? FIVE? Of the thousands I've read? Geez, folks. How about I just name every asteroid in the Milky Way instead? (grin)
What do you read for pleasure?
Um... Books? Sorry. It had to be said. But I read pretty much everything for pleasure. Okay, the Chicago Manual of Style (Edition #16 I think) leaves something to be desired, and InDesign for Dummies doesn't really float my boat, but other than that all my books are chosen for the pleasure they give me. If I goof and end up with a book that doesn't work for me, there's usually a friend or two ready to take it off my hands and give it a try. A book never goes to waste. Only cookies do that. (get it?) LOL
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Nook and like it very much. But I also have an iPad Mini, an iPad, and a laptop. And a desktop. And a first generation iPad as well. Of all of them, I think I probably use the iPad mini most for reading. it's exremely comfortable on my knee, crystal clear text and I can stop and pick up my email or a text message if I need to. I worked my way through the first three volumes of Game of Thrones on it in airports and hotels. That's a pretty good indicator it works for me.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.