While I was at junior school! A younger relative had reading problems and I composed a book with a simple story and hand-drawn pictures to help him.
What's the story behind your latest book?
When Maggie's husband of thirty years leaves her for a younger woman, she thinks her romantic life is over and settles into an all-too comfortable rut. But six weeks before her fiftieth birthday an unscheduled event makes her think again - maybe there is life after marriage. She realises she needs to take action but hasn't a clue where to start. Cue the conception of Project Me, to refurbish, rebrand then relaunch herself. But when she pokes her head above the parapet, her life becomes like the night bus - full of users, waster, halfwits and chancers, and all with their own agenda. Can she survive her new psycho-boss? Her domineering best friend? Her manipulative ex-husband? And her old mum...well, she's a whole other story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing world has changed so much due to technology. Traditional publishers seem to be taking on less new authors and only putting out books that are safe bets. Most also insist you have a second book in the works before they'll sign Book 1, and that Book 2 be in the same genre, which restricts creativity. My online publisher, Crooked Cat, takes a different approach and is far less prescriptive. They've also set up a wonderful online community for their authors where we can exchange information, consult each other and give and receive support.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the editing process. I think of the first draft as a pencil outline. With editing you go back and add depth and colour and movement to the story. You add tone and grit and style, too. Only then does it become something worth reading.
What are you working on next?
I'm writing a sequel to 'Project Me' which picks the story up two years down the line. Maggie thought her transformation was complete at the end of 'Project Me' but in the sequel she discovers this wasn't the case and she still has work to do.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favourite, without doubt, is William McIllvanney. He is considered to be the Godfather of 'Tartan Noir' (Scottish crime writing) and is credited with being the first in that genre. He has the wonderful gift of insight, and can express what he sees with such grace and economy of words. His use of metaphor is exceptional, his observation of character wonderful. After that there are so many I can't name them all, and I discover a new favourite every two or three books I read.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love creating scenes, but only on the screen! So the need to get organised so that I can sit down in front of my computer and write every day is paramount.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I look after my mum, I work part-time and I have lots of friends I see on a regular basis. Also, my step-daughter and her family live nearby and I spend a lot of time with them.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sometimes by personal recommendation, sometimes because I like the author's previous work, sometimes I just trawl through what's available and see something I like. I've downloaded a few after reading the author's posts on Facebook or Twitter, if they make it sound interesting enough.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own a Kindle and might soon buy a Kindle Fire.
Describe your desk
I don't have a desk, I have a huge dining table which holds my 26" screen all-in-one computer, my files and my printer alongside piles of paperwork on it and several ring binder files. It's organised chaos!
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