When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I walk my black labrador, Juno, twice a day across the fields around Malmesbury.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have a Kindle and the moment I've finished a book, I'm browsing for more on the Kindle Store.
How do you approach cover design?
I knew what I didn't want, more than what I did want. I rejected several pictures immediately but one kept catching my eye and that's the one I went with in the end. It captured the mood of my story exactly and if I was a reader, it would have attracted my attention. Go with your gut instinct.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like reading the sort of book I've written - stories about real people and the trials and tribulations we all have to face.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was given a Kindle a few years ago and I've used it ever since. I'm an avid reader and I like the fact that the moment I've finished one, I can download another and be reading it within seconds. You're never without a book.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've used a combination of things so far; I'm sure there are lots of other things that I'll learn about as I go along but Facebook and Twitter have been useful and recently I've joined Goodreads and Pinterest. I write a blog too. The only trouble is you spend a lot of time trying to keep up with it all.
Describe your desk
I don't have a desk - I write at my kitchen table. I have got an office but for some reason, the kitchen table has been my place of choice to write, with Juno, my black labrador at my feet.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story for Aphrodite's Child came to me over twenty years ago when my husband was posted to Cyprus for three years. We all said at the time that our life out there would make a brilliant novel or film and that stuck with me. I started the novel many years ago but never finished it and it was only when I joined the Creative Writing MA course at Bath Spa University in 2012 that I started writing it again.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I went to a conference about self-publishing and it completely changed my ideas. I had thought I would go for a traditional publishing deal, but I thought it was worth a try going down this route. They are not mutually exclusive anyway and I realised it put me more in control of my book. It's gone well so far...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is the simple act of creating something - it's so exciting to think I've written a story that has come from my head and my head alone. It's something I've always wanted to do - and never thought I'd achieve it. A whole novel seemed so daunting but I suddenly realised I could regard it as a series of 'chunks' and that helped me move forward. I found it fascinating that the act of typing seemed to release all the ideas that were tumbling around inside my head. Characters emerged, plot developed, dialogue jumped onto the screen - I'd read other authors saying this happened but never believed them - but it does!
What do your fans mean to you?
I've started getting emails from people who've read the book and saying how much they enjoyed it. It's a fantastic feeling. I've been nervous about 'exposing' my book to the world as I wasn't sure how people would react to it. It's been such a long process: writing, editing, editing, editing...choosing the cover and getting it out there. You feel as if you're exposing not just the book but yourself and so it's lovely when someone writes to you. I've tried to write back to everyone and I intend to carry on.
What are you working on next?
I wrote lots of short stories when I was doing my MA and I would like to publish them. I also left Aphrodite's Child open and I've written the sequel, Now Is All There Is. It is available on Amazon only at the moment. I have written lots of short stories which I intend to publish and I've got ideas buzzing around my head for my next book. 2015 is going to be a busy year for me!
Who are your favorite authors?
I am an avid reader, so I've read so many books in my life, it's almost difficult to choose. I was lucky enough to have David Lodge as my tutor as Birmingham University and I love his books. I studied Hemingway and Fitzgerald at University and read all their work, which I still love. Lionel Shriver is great - 'So much for that' was amazing and 'We need to talk about Kevin'. Mohsin Hamid, who wrote 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'. Khaled Hosseini - I love 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns.' Jojo Moyes - I've read all her novels and really enjoyed them. Pat Barker...Kate Atkinson...Louise Doughty...Patrick Gale. We read Alice Munro's short stories on the MA and I absolutely LOVE her. My dissertation discussed her and Eudora Welty's short stories and I thoroughly enjoyed studying them both.
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