Every day is full of new experiences. I've learned to observe the people I meet and watch for their little peculiarities. People watching is the short answer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Walking our two little dogs; Boo the Poodle and Poppy the Cockerpoo. Cycling. Travelling in our motorhome. Reading. I think that a mixture of taking exercise and reading is the best way to keep your mind active and your creative juices flowing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read reviews - so please review every book you like (especially mine!), I look at the free download to make sure I like the writer's style and I take advice from friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was about 8 and it was about our next door neighbours. My mother found it and told me I would get sent to prison for libel.
What is your writing process?
I draw a mind map with the core idea for the story in the middle and then the characters and events flowing out from there. I draw it on a big sheet of paper and keep it so that I can go back and see how the flow is going. As the story progresses I start to talk to my characters. Alone in the car I ask them questions and then answer them. Sounds crazy but I really get to know my characters that way.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story that really moved me was Heidi. I've mentioned it in the book The Comforter. I loved it so much that I read it about fourteen times in quick succession.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a great friend who is an artist. She reads the book and gets a feel for the cover. I know, I'm very lucky.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have too many to pick only five so I'll choose the first ones that come to mind. On another day it would be another five. Jane Eyre for the fantastic description of dark Yorkshire and Jane, a lonely woman who is strong and her own person. The Millenium Trilogy for sheer grit and suspense. The Rosie Project for its wonderful sense of the ridiculous and yet at the same time absolutely excellent insight into the autistic spectrum. The Velveteen Rabbit - the best children's book for adults ever. Full of wisdom and encouragement. Eat, Pray, Love - I read this at a time when I was exploring spirituality and found it completely engaging.
What do you read for pleasure?
Almost anything. I've just finished four parts of the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer. I don't agree with his politics but he knows how to tell a good story. Very plot driven and not in any way taxing but they were fun and I enjoyed them.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Currently I have a Kindle and I enjoy it a lot. I also have an Ipad but I only use that for things like recipe books where I like to have a picture.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm a beginner at this but I tell everyone about my book and ask them to read it if they can be bothered and to please write a review. Many people get back in touch and say they loved the book but it's hard to get people to write reviews. Facebook is useful too and any other networking forums. I just come clean and say that it's shameless self promotion.
Describe your desk
Relatively tidy and clean. However, having been a professional writer in education and training I now feel reluctant to sit at a desk and often choose to sit with my laptop in the conservatory. Lovely and quiet and nothing to distract me except a view of the garden.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and brought up in Yorkshire and this has influenced my writing a great deal. Yorkshire people are direct and don't use a lot of words to make a point. I have a direct writing style that has been honed by years of writing educational material that must be easy to understand.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.