I’ve always loved the saying ‘the only ordinary people are people you don’t know very well’. Not many people know I love to write. The most extraordinary thing I’ve ever done was start Lily’s story (What goes around comes around & Full Circle). Even more amazing was finding that people enjoyed them. Compromise Agreement is my third book, and I’m hoping people like Natasha as much as Lily.
Every heroine I’ve written about has had a little bit of me in her. Lily had my weight issues. Natasha has my hatred of clothes shopping (sorry ladies). I also like to laugh. I’m hoping my books have a bit of that too – in amongst some angst and a healthy dose of sex.
I’m a happily married mum of two – eternally grateful to all my boys for their support of my writing. When I’m not writing I’m reading.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I did the same as most people, spent years thinking about how much I’d like to write a book, but never actually doing anything about it. Then I started a job that required hours of daily commuting – including long traffic jams. The traffic jams gave me the head space to start thinking about story plots, and then I broke my leg, which gave me the time to actually do something about it – well, I couldn’t drive to work, could I? The rest is history. I fell in love with writing, I love it as much as reading (which is saying something). It is truly a selfish pleasure.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? Most of my writing is done at weekends, because until I write a bestseller I still have to pay my bills. Luckily when I’m in the zone it flows for me. Sometimes I’m so in the zone I can’t leave it alone, which leads to some late nights after work. But when you’re doing something you love it’s no hardship – well apart from getting up the next morning.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Not really writers block. Sometimes I write a section and know it’s not quite right and I’ll pause for a few days mulling over what isn’t gelling about it. Eventually it will come to me what needs to change. I try to make my characters as authentic as possible.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? A little bit of both. I have a view about key events, but sometimes how I travel between them surprises me. I don’t always know how a character will respond to something until I write it – as I said, it matters to me that the responses feel real.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? When I published my first book (What goes around comes around), I literally wrote it and uploaded it. I’ve learned a lot since then. Mainly the importance of a great editor and how hideous some of my mistakes can be – I hate editing and have a tendency to skim read.
There are so many people self-publishing now, if you’re in it to make money… well good luck to you. Do it because you love it, would be my advice, and because the stories crawling around in your head need a way out. I have 4 in there right now, and sometimes I’m frustrated I can’t write faster or have more time to write.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Every time someone says they’ve enjoyed one of my stories – it’s a total buzz. Doubly so when they take the time to contact me personally, or ‘like’ me on Tsu or Facebook.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.
The bare windows in my spare room meant the streaming sunlight woke me far earlier than my body had ever intended. My breath escaped as a hiss through my parched lips. Ow. Even breathing was making my head thump. Not a good sign. I pried my eyes open a smidge and glanced around the room, seeking immediate liquid relief that didn’t involve significant movement. I seriously considered trying to suck the water out of the iron before realising it would have to be easier to make my way (slowly) down to the kitchen. The effort of sitting up had me seriously doubting that conclusion as a wave of nausea washed over me. Only the visualisation of a glass of cold water and two painkillers, that I knew were left in a packet in the cupboard, had me moving at all.
I kept my eyes half closed to shade my poor alcohol-damaged brain, which I figured must by now look like a pickled walnut, and staggered zombie-like down towards the kitchen area. Evidence of last night’s exploits were littered over the floor of the lounge, and I gagged as the smell of stale alcohol hit me. I pushed through the doorway, only to stop short as the pathetic form of Sophia, slumped over the kitchen table, confronted me.
“Hi,” she said, looking up. “You look like shit.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, knowing it was true even without having looked in a mirror. I took in the sight of the empty packet of painkillers beside her, and felt my heart sink, before finally looking at her again properly. “You look like shit too.”
She had clearly been crying for some time, judging by the puffy blotches on her skin, her red eyes and the huge pile of used tissues on the table in front of her. Neither of us was known for our ability to cry prettily. It was ugly crying all the way.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she mumbled. “What am I going to do?” she asked as her big blue eyes glistened with unshed tears.
“I don’t know,” I answered truthfully, “but you don’t have to decide anything straightaway.” I looked at my watch. “I have to cover the lunch and afternoon shift at work, because my lazy shit of a manager got tickets for the football, so I’ll be out for most of the day. I was meant to be meeting one of Shona’s friends for a drink after work, but I can cancel.”
“No, don’t cancel; he might be ‘The One’.”
“Really? Are you really saying that to me with a straight face?”
“Don’t give up, Tash. There have to be some decent guys out there.”
“I’m not so sure,” I mumbled, getting myself glass of water and downing it in one go. I took a brief moment of pleasure from the sensation of my tongue finally freeing itself from the roof of my mouth. A glance at my watch told me I had less than an hour to get myself into some sort of shape to cope with the general public. That meant removing yesterday’s clothes and make-up, showering and somehow plastering enough make-up back on to hide the damage I had done to myself. “Look, take the day to think. We’ll talk about everything later. Get your head straight, and we’ll make a plan when I get home.”
“Promise me you’ll meet the guy.”
I sighed. “I’ll meet the guy, but it’ll be a waste of time.” With that, I finished off a second glass of water and headed for the shower.
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? Adult contemporary romance
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Taxi my teenage boys to sporting or other activities, go to the gym and read
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.) They say 30% of your time should be spent marketing. It’s an aspirational goal for me rather than my reality. I’d say do what you can, have a presence on all the various social networks, connect with other authors and most importantly be real. I hate it when all I get is tweets about book purchasing links. I love when I find out a bit more of the person behind the book – but maybe that’s just me
11.How much of your books are realistic / based on true experiences/ people? As I said in my bio I put a little of myself in my female characters. It’s very important to me that the characters are believable. My ladies have flaws.
My friends and I have also had some highly amusing moments in our lives – there may be some of those represented in my stories… I couldn’t possibly tell though.
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