Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on an apple farm in the UK countryside in Essex - which explains why I love apples so much and look forward to the first in the season with great excitement! I think it's influenced me in the sense that I'm aware of the seasons and try to put them in my books too. The rhythms of country life are also very powerful and often echo the cycles of our own lives.
Some of this comes out in my Gathandrian Trilogy novels, as the action moves from summer to autumn and through to winter as the characters journey through all three books. And then at the end there's a hint of spring and the cycle of life beginning all over again. I always like to end with a note of hope.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing fiction in Y2K, though I'd been writing poetry for a long time before that. I'd had quite a difficult couple of years, both at work and at a personal level, and for a while hadn't been able to write any poetry at all. One day, while I was complaining to my mother, she told me to stop worrying about not being able to rhyme anything and just write fiction instead.
So I did, and I've not looked back since. Mothers can certainly be an inspiration every now and again!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is The Executioner's Cane, the third novel in the epic gay-themed Gathandrian Trilogy. I wanted to show how it is when the battles are over and the peace is won - how people and lands move on from great trials and great tribulations and how they recreate their lives. The action across the trilogy takes place in the very cultured Gathandrian city and also in the rural Lammas Lands - and so I also wanted to show the difference between life in the town and life in the countryside, which is something I've experienced at first-hand myself. I hope I've managed to give all my characters a satisfactory resolution.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I loved the freedom I get from publishing my own work and the chance to reach a different kind of audience. Most of my fiction is gay erotic romance and is commercially published by a variety of US publishers. However, the Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy and my Christian novella The Prayer Seeker don't fit into that genre, and so it felt right to branch out myself and carve out my own path. I'm certainly enjoying it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Through Smashwords, I've been able to venture out into another sort of publishing, and I'm hugely grateful for that opportunity. All the books I publish myself on Smashwords are free, and it's been great to connect with a wider audience for my fiction. Thank you.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love creating new worlds and new characters through my fiction, and giving them a chance to live through the pages of a book - it's a great privilege. I also love the editing side of the business, and have great fun working to improve things once the first draft is done. I gather that's quite rare, as most people prefer the creation side, but I must admit I love both.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm very grateful indeed when people take a chance and read one of my books - and even more grateful if they leave a comment or a review saying if they've enjoyed it. If they have criticisms, I also try to listen and improve my writing for next time - writing and publishing is very much a two-way process. Writers need readers and vice versa - and it's great to be part of that.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Joanne Harris and will just gobble up anything she writes - I've just started Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure and am loving it. I'm also very fond of Murakami (in translation, of course!) - he writes literary fiction with real insight - and I'm also a fan of Jodi Picoult. So a fairly wide range of favourites there.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The thought of my first cup of coffee always gets me going - though I'll make do with a cup of tea if that's all there is - well, I am English, after all ... I do find the thought of a new day exciting, and it always feels fresh as if anything could happen. I'm definitely more of a morning person than an evening one - though my husband's the total opposite!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play really, seriously bad golf every week with my golfing friend, and love it. It's a chance for a chat and some fresh air, which is always welcome. I also love working in the garden and also sitting and reading in it too. It's the first garden my husband and I have had - we moved in two years ago - and it's a revelation. I'm a flower fan and he's very keen on the veg growing - so a perfect combination really.
I also love the theatre, and try to go as often as possible. There's nothing more satisfying than a truly good play - though my favourite ever play is definitely Macbeth. All that pain and grief and tragedy - I love it!
What are you working on next?
I'm working on the edits to a gay fantasy novel, The Taming of The Hawk, and also just finishing off the first draft of my second children's book, Queen of the Fluffy Pens. So there's a contrast for you! At the same time, I'm writing a gay erotic romance, The Paranormal Detection Agency, for one of my US publishers, Amber Allure Press, who has a ghost anthology out next year.
In the more immediate future, I have the edits to work on for a gay thriller, A Dangerous Man (out from Amber Allure in September) and a chick lit novel, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice (out from Musa Publishing in October). So I'll certainly be busy for a while. There's no peace for the wicked ...
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