Interview with M K Saunders

When did you first start writing?
As an entirely hopeless and lazy student of everything in my years at school, I left my parents and schoolteachers frustrated on more occasions than was reasonable. My attitude to learning was lethargic, and that is being kind. Constantly the class clown and distracting influence, I was undoubtedly a thorn in the flesh of many. Somehow, I left school with a smattering of qualifications, but not much inclination to do anything in particular. My hopes of being a P.E teacher had been encouraged whole-heartedly at one school but dashed on the rocks by a temporarily insane instructor in another. I was disillusioned; thoroughly hacked off in truth, and was asked to leave under a cloud of insinuated insobriety.
In an attempt to ward off abject poverty, my father’s austerity, and wrath at my lassitude, I wrote the occasional short story and received handsome payment in return. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my aunt, Mary Ann MacPherson, of BBC Scotland, for tirelessly bashing out the above-mentioned early manuscripts on her typewriter at lightning speed and with incredible skill. These were then immaculately presented for publication and successful enough to earn me the princely sum of 10 Guineas each, an absolute fortune in relative terms, and above the average weekly wage of the time. This was enough to keep me in clothes, Carlsberg and guitar strings. She was the longest serving secretary at the BBC, and died far too young at the age of 54. I had lost my own personal typist and a much-loved aunt. She did leave me her portable typewriter, and lovely memories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In 2007, after 16 years of island life, we moved diagonally south-eastwards across Scotland from the dramatic mountains and seascapes of the Isle of Skye to the gentle rolling fields of Duns in the Scottish Borders. I had escaped, with my sanity almost intact, from my full-time post with NHS Highland in October 2007. I felt they might just struggle along without my vast experience both clinical and managerial. They agreed. I like to think that this marked the beginning of a period of catastrophic demise for the health service, but perhaps other factors played their part. Little did I know at the time, what would occur over the next few years. Not only would we pull up our proverbial trailer pins to move far too many times, but we would also see places that we never dreamed of years ago.

In June 2009 aged 14½ years, poor old Meg, our wonderful Border Collie, died quietly in our despairing arms outside one sunny Saturday morning. Claire, our lovely kindly young vet, assisted her on her way. So, now dog-less and desperate to get away, somehow, I managed to persuade a bereft Tom, the eternal landlubber, to set foot on a cruise ship.

Several cruises followed in rapid succession. We were hooked. I realised that if I didn't start jotting some facts and dates down, we would one day, struggle to recall everything in detail.........and so the writing began, but only in scant diary form.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Not self indulgence, that's for sure. Sometimes in life, you feel that it's time to do something different, and this was that time.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to recall places, times, facts and intersperce it all with my own sense of the ridiculous and some humour. It brings places to life long after we have left them behind. That can be no bad thing.
What are you working on next?
The second book in the series is Restless Legs. It combines the story of 3 different cruises to Alaska, Norway, Ireland and Iceland in the main. It introduces "Dreary" our older friend and a bit of a character.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ian Rankin
Bill Bryson
James Patterson
Craig Russell
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Playing the guitar badly, walking the dog, taking photographs, meeting friends and just enjoying being with my husband Tom.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. A short story called Other People's Children I think.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use both a Kindle and an iPad
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Living in the Scottish countryside is wonderful. I have everything I need here, plus a bit of peace and quiet when I need it. The sound of the birds, farm animals and a breeze stirring the trees is all I need. I can spend ages studying the clouds whilst walking our dog, and dreaming up recipes and more tales to tell.
Describe your desk
It is upstairs, in an alcove of a large sitting room. Guitars stand nearby, and a map of the world hangs on the wall above me. My desk is fairly tidy most of the time, a haven of thought and imagination.
Published 2015-10-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.