Lord Loss by Darren Shan. I read this when it was first published and I absolutely adored it. I'm a long-time Stephen King fan, so it was interesting to see something of that ilk, and indeed caliber, written for kids. My eldest daughter's now reading the Demonata series, so it shows how much appeal the books still have (she was three months old when Lord Loss came out!)
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I love all of the Harry Potter books of course, but OotP is my favourite, probably because it was the first I read out of the series. I love long books, and I believe OotP runs to over a quarter of a million words, so it's right up my street! It's taken five books to get Harry to the position he's in at the end of the book, but it's where the most character development happens, and you can't help but to feel so much for him. Look at me here, trying not to give spoilers - as if anyone hasn't read the books or seen the films!
Stephen King - Insomnia I first read this around the time I developed insomnia in real life (a strange decision, possibly, but that's just my sense of humour), and I could really understand the spiraling towards mania that was 'suffered' by Ralph. I say suffered in inverted commas because it's not so much of a suffering as a minor inconvenience and later benefit.
Bram Stoker - Dracula I was born and raised in North Yorkshire and went to Whitby evey year as a kid. Need I say more?
Mary Shelley - Frankenstein While one of the classics of the horror genre, I think this novel says a lot about about humans as a whole. We're all a little different, nobody's perfect. How far do people have to go to fit in? It's amazing that an 18 year old girl had such insight into the human condition.
What do you read for pleasure?
YA fiction, horror, sci-fi, romance, biography, reference... actually pretty much anything! I'm not fussy, really. I'm always on the lookout for something new to read, and if something looks good I'll read it - I rarely look at the genre!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
eBook apps on my MemoPad. But I really prefer reading an actual book. I love the smell of new books, and unless they develop 'new book smell' for eBook devices, I'll never be fully converted!
Describe your desk
Non-existent! We have a desktop computer in the living room, but I use a laptop for writing, so I don't sit at a desk.
When did you first start writing?
Very young. I had a poem published in a local newsletter when I was six, and I can't remember a time when I didn't write. I've always had something on the go. I can remember writing Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman fan fiction when I was about eight, but those notebooks have long since gone by the wayside.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've got two books on the go, one in planning for NaNoWriMo (No Tears at the End of the Day) and one that isn't (Plain Sight)
"No Tears..." is about a girl who is born as a result of genetic experimentation - her mother has reasons for her daughter to never suffer sorrow or heartbreak, but neither she nor the geneticist who helps 'design' her baby truly comprehend the implications of what they've done.
"Plain Sight" is about a young woman who gets kidnapped by someone she knows and trusts, and her dad and boyfriend (both police officers) have to find her before it's too late. However as the case rolls on, it becomes apparent that things aren't all they appear, and that there is a bigger truth to uncover.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always written, and I love the idea of people reading what I've written. The traditional publishing route is too restrictive, and I think people should be able to publish their work because they think it's good, not because someone in an office somewhere didn't think it was crap.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being surprised by my characters. I'm not one of those writers who plans out everything in intricate detail about their characters, I only know as much about my characters as I do about my friends when I start writing. That way, there's always a little detail that they can drop on you and potentially change the narrative, even in some small way.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Darren Shan, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Bram Stoker, David and Leigh Eddings, Isaac Asimov, Mary Shelley, Michael Palin... I could go on and on!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play the guitar and ukulele, I read, I bake, I watch movies. And think about writing.
What is your writing process?
I turn on my laptop, open up Word and get to it!
Seriously though, I try not to plan too much. I like a rough outline, even if it's only in my head, but I don't like having a full plan written down because it takes the fun out of writing. The same goes for my characters, I like being able to be surprised by my characters. If I can see something coming before I write it, I think my readers would also be able to, and that's no fun for anyone.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Tiki and Taj the Tiger Twins by Tim Healey is one of the earliest books I remember reading, although almost certainly not the first. I loved it and would read it every time I went to my grandma's house. It made me think more about the world outside our little corner of Yorkshire, and I developed an interest in nature and conservation, as well as wanting to write my own stories!
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