When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not engaged in madcap conversations with fictitious characters or too busy working on plot to notice the house is on fire, I’d like to say I get as far away from writing as possible. Persistent little darlings that they are, though, my characters tend to come with me, forcing me to undertake the odd dubious activity in the name of research. When I’m not to be found hurling myself out of airplanes with complete strangers or abseiling off buildings, I like nothing better than messing about on the water in my little narrow-boat, Aquaduck. You’d think here I’d be able to escape those pesky voices in my head, wouldn’t you? Oh, no. I might be physically engaged steering the boat, but my characters, tenacious beasts that they are, have my brain focussed on plotline. To be fair to them, there is nothing quite like fresh air and the gentle lull of the water lapping at the sides of the boat to relax your mind enough to allow it to wander; to find the natural flow of the plot. A wandering mind however, doesn’t work with the more demanding side of boating. Moving the boat recently, I climbed on top of a lock gate to put muscles other than my brain to work opening the locking mechanism, and promptly fell off, flying through the air with not such graceful ease and unfortunately without the assistance of superwoman’s sparkly skirt and cape. Sprawled most inelegantly, I lost the plot and the gate hit me in the head. I saw lights, flashing blue ones. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m quite partial to a man in uniform. My fantasy, however, never involved being scraped off the concrete by one. Did I mention my books are written with blood, sweat and tears?
Your books often have a hidden moral in the story, sometimes looking at traumatic life events, which you deal with sensitively and also with a sense of humour. Was this intentional?
I like bring humour into my writing in the hope leaving the reader with that all-important feel-good factor. I think when we laugh at characters in a romantic comedy we’re actually laughing at ourselves, because it’s a familiar, comedic or embarrassing situation we could – maybe have – found ourselves in. I also believe there are highs and lows to be found in most life events. Basically, I want to write about real people, dealing with real life events, someone the reader identifies with and wants to get to know. A story portraying characters readers can relate to, because the reader is empathising with the character, because they’ve been there. So, yes, I do like to look at situation that might need a little more emotional exploration. In Somebody to Love, for instance, I have a single father of a special needs child, who has a lot riding on any relationship he might enter into.This snippet from a review of which I'm extremely proud, tells me I achieved what I set out to: "This fabulous book is a Rom Com with a difference. It’s funny, its heart-breaking, and it will either make you sigh with contentment or scream with frustration. At times it made me weep. The special needs thread running through this book will tug at your heartstrings and give you a greater understanding of what it’s like trying to find love when your life is full of complications". Huge thanks to JB Johnston of Brook Cottage Books – and all reviewers who give selflessly of their time.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have to admit I was resistant to e-readers when they first hit the market. Now I wouldn't be without my Kindle or iPad which allow me access to all those wonderful authors who are e-published and I might otherwise have missed.
What's you next project?
I've just published Learning to Love, which explores the fragility of love, life, and relationships. Featuring a widowed father and his son, Learning to Love started life as a short, entitled The Memory Box, which was accepted by the Birmingham City University as part of their Anthology. A central theme in Learning to Love is bereavement in childhood and how a child dealing with such a tragedy might be encouraged to grieve. So far, it's getting some wonderful reviews (thank you to all those lovely people who've read it!). The book is available as an e-book at present and is published in print in February. Marketing that is therefore my next big priority. I do have a work in progress, working title "For the Rest of My Life" and a thriller/romantic suspense in the pipeline. Phew!
Describe your desk
Messy! I'm the post-it note queen!
Do you want to kill people who disturb you mid writing flow or are you pretty easy going?
Doing all the peripheral stuff around writing, I’m pretty easy going, often breaking off to crawl around the floor – with my dogs, I hasten to add. In fact, when an agent called me once, I had to ask her to hold on as I had Big Max’s (my Old Age Pensioner dog) collar caught on my jumper. Max’s head was still inside the collar, unfortunately. When I’m heavily into writing… Let’s put it this way, my partner and son have now purchased ear phones with which to watch the rugby! Oops!
Did you read much as a child?
Voraciously! Reading was my form of escape. When you come from a large family, escapism is as necessary as breathing, believe me.
What would you do if you didn't write?
I have no idea! Writing is my life. It’s who I am. It is hard sometimes, I lie not, juggling all the balls, struggling to get your voice heard. Is it worth it? Yes, absolutely. Bruised and battered, and a little dejected though I might have been along the way, I consider myself lucky to be doing something I’m quite simply passionate about.The road might have been bumpy, but the journey was worth it. Onward! Um, could someone pass my crutches, please?
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.