1.What got you into writing? I don’t even remember starting to write – I just did. I was always scribbling something . a poem, a short story, a make-believe newspaper article. When I was nine, I wrote my first travelogue, a non-fiction piece called ‘Disasters in Florida’, based on a family trip to Orlando. My real piece de résistance, though, was my novel called ‘Glint off the Gold’, which I completed on the Commodore 64 at age thirteen and sent off to various publishers. And thus began my long love affair with rejections!
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? I try to get up at 5 a.m. to shoe-horn in some writing time before my baby wakes around half-six. I’ll write again while he has his morning and afternoon naps, and sometimes in the evening if I haven’t achieved my word count for the day. I always set a goal otherwise, I know I’ll come up with many excuses not to write!
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I sometimes get stuck, but I’ve found the best way around that is to sit at the desk and force yourself to write, even if you know you might delete it later. Somehow, through the process of writing, the answer becomes clear.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I always plan the main turning points for my characters, and I try to understand what they want and how they change by the end of the novel. The first draft never turns out how I think it will, though! Writing is a process of discovery for me, which I love.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? My first big break was when Prospera Publishing contracted me to write a London travel guide. Although non-fiction was never really my dream, I figured being published in any genre was a good first step. It taught me a lot about how the process works, and they went on to publish my next two novels. I had a very satisfactory experience, but with hardly any distribution in print and 99% of my sales in ebooks, it made more sense for me to pay a one-off fee to an editor and cover designer, and keep the remainder of the profits for myself. I self-published three novels and three novellas, and hit the top 100 on Amazon UK three times. I’ve recently signed a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing. Amazon has huge power and clout in the industry, and I believe they will continue to be a dominant player. I’m very excited to be working with them to expand my readership. My advice would be to keep writing! The more you write, the better you get. There are so many distractions these days, but sitting down at the desk and getting on with your novel is critical.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? The highlight for me has definitely been hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed my books. It’s such a lovely feeling to know someone appreciates the story you’ve developed.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any otherbooks of yours, if you wish. My most recent book is a novella called ‘Last Christmas’. The main character, Lucy, is eager to banish the ghost of Christmas past – when her boyfriend dumped her on the streets of Paris. Determined to make this the best Christmas ever, she rallies friends and family for an epic celebration that just happens to fall on the same day as her ex’s festive wedding. Furious at how she’s been treated, Lucy can’t help relishing the party v wedding smackdown. But when the wedding is threatened and only Lucy can help, can she find the spirit inside to save the day, or will this Christmas be even more disastrous than the last?
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Spare time? What’s that? Apart from writing, I’ve become very adept in the sport of baby wrangling. My son is almost a year old now and he’s hard to keep up with!
9.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Hmm, interesting question! I’m in the Christmas spirit right now, so I’ll say Santa Claus. I’m not a huge fan of snow, but I’d love to work at making people happy all the time.
10.Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? Just a huge thank you! I love writing, and it’s a constant source of amazement to me that people want to read what I’ve written. My readers are so supportive and lovely, and their kind words make the struggle of writing a novel more than worth it.