Interview with Vicky Cash

Describe your desk
My desk is wherever I happen to be at the time. I take my laptop with me everywhere and write when I get inspired.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the North East of England - Teesside, an industrial town. Being a steel town, the current economic climate has had a very negative impact on the area, and I've been able to use the consequences of that in my novels - particularly in my crime novel that I'm writing at the moment. The area is very depressed - there are zero jobs, people are struggling to make ends meat. There's a heavy atmosphere about the place, people are worried about their future, their children's futures, worried where their next meal's coming from, job security. The ones who are lucky enough to find and or have work don't know how long it's going to last, it's an area where a lot of jobs are being lost, mostly outsourced. My home town at this point has certainly inspired my crime novel. And I guess, being a working class town, it's also driven me to keep writing. When I first left collage and signed on the dole, I looked into acting and writing as a career and was promptly told by my adviser that I'd never make it because of where I'm from, because I'm working class.
When did you first start writing?
It would be around 1997, when I was seven years old. I'd always had a very active imagination, loved making up stories and fantastic new worlds, so I started writing. I just loved it - all kinds, fiction and non fiction but mostly fiction. I starting off writing song lyrics and fan fiction. It was something that seemed to come naturally to me, and I've never stopped.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has enabled me to get my work out there - to get my foot on the first rung of the ladder. I know there's still a long and hard way to go, but agents are starting to take notice, and publishers, and I am getting useful feedback. And that is my ultimate goal - eventually to get an agent, to be published.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a whole new world. That's the beauty of fiction - you can use the world around you, real events, but create your own within to explore a whole new story, with a complete new set of people. It gives you freedom to explore and develop your own unique voice, and escape.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My writing. The mere thought that I have a novel to finish gets me out of bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, listening to music, watching TV, films etc. I like going out, travelling, seeing the world around me, meeting new people, trying new things. I've just started a new fitness regime too.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, it was a project I did for my GCSE English. It was short story called The Assassin, set in a post apocalyptic United Kingdom. It was a dark story that made people squirm in their seats - that's what my teacher said anyway after she'd read it.
What is your writing process?
Each morning I set myself goals that I have to achieve by the end of the day. So I have to write so many scenes each day. I do tend to go over though - I'm normally still writing at ten o'clock at night most nights. Other than that I just get up and write taking breaks every two of three hours to go out, take a walk, clear my head for the next scene.
What do you read for pleasure?
Philip Pullman's Dark Material, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit - anything that takes me into a different world. I can sit there for hours reading them and have. I have a few autobiographies and non fiction as well, but mostly I read fiction to unwind and escape.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always loved writing. It was something I felt I could do with the right training and help - and my family were very supportive, and still are. I'd decided writing was a better option for me rather than acting and I was looking into writing courses, agents, publishers, the ins and outs of becoming a writer. Then I had a conversation with my adviser at the job centre the week before I signed off, and it's this conversation that keeps me motivated in a big way. He told me, in these exact words, that I'd never be a published writer because I'm from Teesside, because I'm working class. That did knock my confidence at the time, but my family said no, you're not giving up, you're going to use his words to keep writing. And I'm glad I haven't given up. I am getting good feedback from agents and publishers, and I've completed a Fiction writing course and am currently in the middle of a Freelance Journalism course.
What inspires your writing, where do your ideas come from?
Everything. I read the papers, I watch the news, I watch and listen to what's going on around me. It's amazing the things that pop into your head from the smallest scarp of conversation or news or imagery. I can take a photograph or listen to a conversation and turn it into a story.
What part of the writing process do you find the most difficult?
Naming characters. I can create their profiles, plan what happens to them in detail, but naming them is a nightmare. The majority of the time I go online and look at baby naming websites and surname archives. Or I ask my family for ideas, but sometimes they don't help. I'm a bit fussy when it comes to naming characters - it has to fit with that character's role and personality. If I don't get the right name for the right character it throws me off completely with the rest of the novel and I have to go back and change it before I can continue.
Who are your favorite authors?
Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare, Patricia Cornwell, J K Rowling and Philip Pullman.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sites like Smashwords and Amazon. I tend to just browse by genre. I have few favourites - crime, science fiction, political, conspiracy - but I love discovering new authors and material. If it sounds good I'll give it a read.
Tell us about Forbidden Love.
Forbidden Love actually started as a short story that I wrote a few years ago. I'm a big fan of history, I wanted to write a story set in the Cold War era, but I didn't want to do a spy story - they've been done. I'd decided on a romance but I wanted it to be different. I wanted a romance to develop that was taboo, forbidden. I looked at the time frame I had decided on - Russia at that time, it was a criminal offence to be homosexual, and even in the west it was still very much taboo - and thought I'll make it about two females, one Russian, and have them embark on this illicit love affair behind the Iron Curtain, including a trip to Moscow where the KGB begin to take an interest in their relationship.
Tell us about The Sellafield One.
I'm really into politics and conspiracy. I wanted a story that combined both of these elements but at the same time was a human story, which is why for the majority of the book it's told from the point of view of one character, Harriet Jenkins. Yes, again, primarily I've set it inside the nuclear industry, but there is more to the trilogy - it's revealed that the corruption goes much deeper, into many organisations and industries. It has so many elements to it - it's got conspiracy, politics, a love triangle and it covers the right to die argument.
Tell us about Born to be Bad
Born to be Bad is a crime thriller following ex Detective Inspector Crimson Bevin - a former undercover officer - as she is pulled back into the world of undercover policing. It's set in the later part of the 21st century at a time when organised crime is rife and operates relatively unhampered. Crimson is forced to face her demons when her former lover, police partner and now organised crime boss Louise Tilly returns. It's dark, and violent, but it's also a human story. There's a background to the character of Crimson, there are reasons why she is like she is. At times she's a character people won't like, even though she's the hero, but there's a reason behind the way she is - she's human, and she's dealing with a lot of bad things, post traumatic stress. Out of all of my books, the Born to be Bad series is my favourite because it has so many elements to it - there's the story itself, the human story behind the characters, post traumatic stress issues, politics - issues that I've taken from reality, that people are dealing with, seeing in day to day life. That's why it's set far in the future because it deals with tones and elements that are actually happening in the world in some shape or form.
All of your stories start by throwing the reader right into the action, is there a particular reason behind that?
Yes. I prefer stories that throw me right into the middle of the action from the word go. Forbidden Love, we're given two characters who are about to jump into a river. The Titan Project, we start with reports of an accident and cover up. The Sellafield One, we meet a girl who is contemplating taking her own life. And Born to be Bad, we start with a scene that throws us straight into the world of Crimson Bevin and undercover policing. I don't like hanging about waiting for something to happen, I want to be right in the thick of it, hooked from the start. I don't see the need for fancy words that don't really do anything to progress the story.
Published 2015-01-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Born to be Bad
Series: Born to be Bad, Book 1. Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 125,780. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
England, late twenty first century. Following a series of political, economic and social struggles, a new breed of organized crime has been born. Young, daring and tenacious, they play on the rising tensions, prey on the vulnerable and the disillusioned, taking control of the streets. Police response: a new breed of undercover police officers.
The Sellafield One
Series: Sellafield One Trillogy, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 107,460. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
Corruption, cover ups and a culture of conspiracy. Who can you really trust when everything you’ve been told turn out to be lies? That is the question Harriet Jenkins must ask herself as she embarks on a journey of political intrigue and self discovery.
Forbidden Love
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 67,560. Language: English. Published: June 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian, Fiction » Romance » Historical
Two women,one from the East and one from the West. One a Journalist, the other a Soldier. When East meets West at the height of the Cold War, an illicit love affair develops
The Titan Project
Series: Atomic Trilogy, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 118,100. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
2030. The building of the Titan Nuclear Superstation was supposed to mark the beginning of a new, prosperous era, ending the strain of the economic crisis that had taken the UK to breaking point. In reality, it was an accident waiting to happen.