When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Creative writing only takes up a small percentage of my time, so when i'm not writing I have to answer emails, keep up with social networking and solve any problems. I read on my commute into London to work, and when i'm too tired to do anything else in the evening. My relaxation comes from riding my horse and walking my dog. I draw and paint and renovate furniture when i have the time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through friends on social media and by accident looking for books for research.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was about youngsters on a south London estate who had commandeered a lift (elevator) as a kind of club house. As always it was a romance and pretty awful, but i still like the idea.
What is your writing process?
Usually characters come to me as living entities inside my head. They kind of write their own story. Lol, some people might call it a personality disorder. A plan evolves onto around the size of an A4 piece of paper, then i just write. The story arc always comes out at around 100,000 words. It always amazes me. I write each scene onto a spread sheet so i can see at a glance the four acts emerging and the distribution of POV. I guess its a kind of mix of planning and seat of your pants writing. I always know if a story is worth writing as it never gets as far as the A4 planning stage if it's not a strong enough idea.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, i think. The idea that kids could go away to a relative for the summer holidays, and discover a tree that has a different land at the top every time, is genius. It totally captured my imagination. I just wanted to be one of those kids in the story. I don't think my taste in books has changed all that much. I still love Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.
How do you approach cover design?
For me as an art lover, the cover art is as important as the contents. It's the first thing a prospective reader sees. In my sirens series, i used a fantastic digital artist Anna Dittmann, whose totally feminine aquatic style completely suited the vibe i was going for for my 21st Century Sirens series. With Diablo there was only one artist that could do the artwork and it mean something - Alan Streets. A prolific plein air artist who suffers from schizophrenia but choses not to medicate. The results are stunning. And given the plot, it gives a perfect viewpoint from someone that knows. Anna worked with the painting – and with her typography, turned the piece into the cover you see.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Lover Unbound - JR Ward - No one writes alpha males quite like JR. Vicious is my favourite of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Veil of Midnight - Lara Adrian - Great kick-ass female in this one. Lara is a fantastic plotter. It is rare for me to go for plot over romance so this one is testament to how good the Midnight Breed series is. Branded by Fire - Nalini Singh - Love, Love, Love, the Psy-Changling series. It has just the right amount of scifi and story world but it's all about the romance. This one has the hottest sex scene i've ever read without being overly explicit. Fantastic sexual tension. No Rest for the Wicked - Kresley Cole - This series (Immortals after dark) has it all, romance, plot and sexy men, but i don't think i've ever read anything so witty and entertaining. Fantastic writer and this one is my favourite as i love the vampire, Sebastian Wroth. Elizabeth's Wolf - Lora Leigh (Part of her Breeds series) This one is my favourite. With Paranormals going from YA, right through the spectrum of sexual content to explicit, this one is EROTIC with a capital E. It has a great story line too, and the two work perfectly. But there are many more. I just picked the ones that i would read again and again.
What do you read for pleasure?
See my top five books. They are totally my style. I have discovered some great surf romance books lately in my research for my latest novel, Tiger Lily. Swell by Lauren Davies and Blue and Air by Lisa Glass. Again, it's all about the romance.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle or I-phone. I do read straight from my Mac a lot.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Honestly, i'm not sure. I think for me, it's just been keeping on doing what i'm doing. Word of mouth and longevity win out in the long run, and of course having a great story.
Describe your desk
Organised chaos. Mac in front of me, printer to the left. Small pieces of paper with snippets of ideas all over it. Sketches of cover designs stuck to the wall with ''to do' lists and pass words for everything.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A small village on the outskirts of London. Living in the countryside gave me a love of nature and horses which are always in my stories.
When did you first start writing?
When i was really young i used to write radio show to perform with my brothers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was about to write book 4 - Tiger Lily in my 21st Century Sirens Series. Book 3 had started to get darker than i wanted the series to go. Then Dylan/Diablo came to me so strong that everything got pushed to the side for me to write it. It is far darker and steamier than the series. It has kind of the feel of a horror.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Ultimately creative control. And in this day and age, you can do anything if you work hard enough.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm new so i'll have to wait and see.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is when you get feedback from a reader and they absolutely love the world you have created. They ask you questions about the characters and can't wait for your next book. That makes all the hours of toil worth while.
What do your fans mean to you?
They keep me going. There are times when you ask yourself why you do to, then someone says they love a character or really hate a baddie, and you know you've done your job. Without them it's like writing a diary.
What are you working on next?
Tiger Lily is about half way through the first draft. For this one the action moves to SoCal and a surfing community. Malleven, my delicious bad boy is back, Cesare` is off the rails, and Dante is trying to hold the whole Atlantean world together, while his wayward siren wife severely tries his patience.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing and getting better at it.
Who are your favorite authors?
See my five favourite books. I also love Jilly Cooper, Dickens and of course, Enid Blyton.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.