I was born in London, and as such it holds a special place in my heart and is often used as a setting within my books. When I was eighteen I moved to Manchester to study, where I ended up living for over ten years. Originally I qualified as an archaeologist, but later went on to be a teacher. I taught for over seven years, but now I spend my days writing.
I’ve lived in the UK, Muscat (Oman), and briefly in France, but currently I’m in the process of moving back to London, a very exciting prospect for me. Wherever I find myself, I live with my hugely supportive husband, and our rescued street dog Ralph.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?The trigger that made me start writing was a really frustratingly written paranormal book that I was reading. I loved the characters and the possibility of the series, but the author just hadn’t taken the opportunities that the plot presented. That night, after finishing the book and feeling distinctly unsatisfied, I sat down and started writing a book of a similar genre. I finished it too, it’s well over 400,000 words, and whilst it never got published (it’s really not very good!) it did sow the seed of a passion for writing within me.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?
My writing days all start the same, and that is with coffee. Who am I kidding? Every day starts with coffee in my house! After breakfast I head to my writing area and begin. Luckily I’m quite well disciplined, I leave my iPad, Kindle and often my phone downstairs so I’m not tempted to distract myself. Then I simply write until I’m satisfied that I have finished whatever section I’m working on. I don’t set daily word limits to achieve, because depending on what I’m doing; writing, editing, proof reading etc., it can vary massively. My working day is approximately as long as a usual office day would be, but to be honest I genuinely think I put in more working hours in a week now, than I ever have done before. I often find myself working weekends, or late into the evening, but that’s OK, because I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a living.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
There are days where I just don’t know how to progress the story, or satisfactorily resolve an issue in the plot, so I don’t try to force it. I take a day off and do some research, or reading instead, which has, so far, always helped me to find the inspiration I need to continue.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story?
Definitely a combination of both! I approach a lot of things in life with a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ spontaneous attitude, but over time I have become more rigid in planning when I write. I have a big notepad I use at the start to scribble a rough plan of what I can see happening in the book, this is amended and added to constantly. I also add Pintrest days into my planning phase, where I create boards full of things which may inspire me, such as the settings I intend to use. But of course being a slightly eccentric author, there are also those days where I sit down at my laptop and just think, ‘Scrap the plan… this idea is going to be so much better …’
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?I’m lucky enough to be published by the wonderful Accent Press. I can’t speak highly enough of them, they really have been wonderfully supportive, right from the moment they decided to take a chance on a newbie author like me, through to getting my first, entire series published, not only electronically, but in paperback too. My advice to aspiring authors? Never give up. Ask any published author, and they will no doubt have stories of the number of times they got rejected before finding a publisher. Also, explore ALL avenues into publishing – after months of submitting my manuscript the traditional way, (and getting turned down) I saw a post on Twitter from Accent Press asking for submissions, I applied, they liked it, and hey presto, here I am today!
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?
This is an easy one, the best day so far, was when I got an excited email from someone at my publishers telling me that my first book, The Darkness Within Him, had hit the Amazon top 100. I did a happy dance around my lounge that day!
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.My most recent work in progress is Unmasked, book 1 of my new Revealed series. It’s a highly charged erotic romance set between the UK and Los Angeles, but I’m reluctant to say too much more than that, because I don’t want to give away the surprises that are lurking in book 1! If that has whetted your appetite for more, then the release date is Nov 21st 2015. I can however give more information on the first series I wrote. The Untwisted Series was published in the summer of 2014. It’s a 4 book erotic romance with a dark edge that may appeal to fans of Fifty Shades, or Sylvia Day. The series focuses on two brothers, Nicholas and Nathaniel Jackson, both dominant but withdrawn because of their troubled past. The books follow their lives as they meet two women, Rebecca and Stella, who begin to make them change their view on life, sex and love. The only question is, can the girls handle the brothers darkness and bring them out into the light? (The full Untwisted series is available now in electronic versions and all good bookshops.)
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under?
I enjoy writing various genres; youth paranormal, comedy and romance, but the books which I have had published are erotica, so my target audience would predominantly be females (over the age of consent!).
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy staying fit, or at least trying to, and tend to favour running or cycling to do this. I’m a huge fan of travelling and jump at any and every opportunity that I get to see new places and cultures. I also love good food, good wine and lots of chocolate.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.)
The do’s:– Social media. Set up Facebook and twitter accounts and update them regularly. Reply to the comments people make – every, single comment if you can – because this shows how much you appreciate your fans.- Meet authors of similar genres (via twitter, Facebook, your publishers etc). Connections to others are important, because they can help you share your blog posts, adverts and announcements – but remember it works both ways, you should help them out in return.The don’ts:– Never take your readers for granted. They are the reason you get to do what you love for a living!- Never be drawn into replying to negative reviews of your book. Not everyone will like what you write, so learn from the bad, and celebrate the good.
11.How much research do you do when starting a story?The short answer to that would be LOTS. But obviously there is more to it than just that. At first, as a newbie I probably lacked research in certain areas, but the longer I write, and grow into my style, the more focus and attention I put on details. Detail is everything, it allows your reader to slide into your novel and get lost in the sensations, smells, sights and stories. I would almost go as far as to say that I am obsessive about research now, let me give you two examples: If I mention a bar, restaurant, or public venue, then I either visit it first hand, or look it up on the internet so I can get a feel for the place and attempt to convey this to my readers. I even go as far as to check the menus so that my characters eat food that the venue actual serves! Whenever I am discussing journeys in my stories, running routes that my characters take, or perhaps a taxi rides they make, then I look up the route on the internet so I can check the exact journey length and route.
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