I have a beautiful antique mahogany desk, inlaid with green leather, that belonged to my father. I rarely write there, though. My desk tends to be wherever I plonk the laptop (usually any place out of the grasp of small children!).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a rural location on the beautiful south Devon coast, in England. My upbringing is a huge influencer on my writing, and one of the books in the DOTTY series has a maritime theme!
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was working as a university lecturer, after the birth of my first son in 2008. I haven't put 'the pen' down yet!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I came up with the idea for DOTTY after the birth of my second son in 2010. I spent a couple of weeks mapping it out and devising the characters, but then I had to turn my attentions to finishing a text book I was contracted to write, so I had to abandon it. I finally got to write the first book in 2015, following the birth of my second daughter.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the creative process of the writing itself. I'm quite prolific, so it tends to come out of my head and onto the page in pretty much finished form. I don't edit a huge amount - it's more a case of proof reading for typos, really. The thing I really love best about being an author, though, is getting to meet the children I write for. I have been lucky enough to do a number of author talks and workshops for children in schools and to see them so engaged with the book, with so much enthusiasm for the characters I have created, and with so many questions, is just incredibly rewarding.
What are you working on next?
I have just finished a DOTTY short story, called DOTTY and the Very Lucky Day, which I am giving away to people who join my mailing list (You'll see it advertised in the front of DOTTY and the Calendar House Key), and now I'm working on DOTTY and the Chimney Thief. Exciting stuff!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a bad experience with a publishing house not pushing one of my textbooks. It's heartbreaking seeing all that hard work go to waste (it takes about 2 years to see a full-size textbook come into fruition). I didn't want that happening with DOTTY.
What do your fans mean to you?
The world. I think most writers would tell you that the most important thing to them is their readers. To see a child (or adult!) getting excited over one of your stories is the ultimate goal, really.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love the old classics, so Dickens and Dumas have to come at the top of the list. As for contemporary writers of adult fiction, my favourite has to be Robert Goddard. I'm a big fan of the 'reluctant hero' and he does that really well.
What are your favourite children's books?
I would be lying if I said I didn't like JK Rowling! Other than that, I love Hairy McClary and Julia Donaldson for younger readers (3 of my children are 5 and under), and the Ghost Rescue series or the Series of Unfortunate Events - I really like the writing style of Lemony Snicket. My favourite children's books of all time are Gobbolino the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams and Bottersnikes and Gumbles - those poor gumbles! (sadly no longer in print).
What is your favourite literary discovery of the moment?
I'm reading the first book in the Magora series, by Marc Remus. It's a children's book but is fantastic. So inventive. Can't wait to read the rest.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children (not the writing - sorry! That's just the icing on the cake).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I home school my four young children, so my time is pretty taken up with them. I am also involved in various fundraising projects locally.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
At this moment in time, Smashwords has got me by far the best response rate - and it's only been uploaded 8 hours... (seriously!)
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
As I mentioned in a previous question, it seems to have provoked more downloads than any other forum so far, by far. We shall see!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.