Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since childhood. I enjoyed writing short stories and I liked to find various ways to use words to enhance a story.
What makes writing your passion?
It’s a great way to get all of my thoughts out on paper, structuring a story, then turning it into a novel. Creating different characters who move in different worlds is also very liberating. Sitting down each day, trying to figure out ways for the characters to evolve is also wonderful. It gives me a sense of purpose.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was young, but I didn’t really commit to a writing career until March 2013, when I wrote my first novel, The Fall of the House of James, in a notebook.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
A sense of relief, coupled with sheer euphoria. There were several personal struggles that I went through to write The Fall of the House of James. Problems with employment and health meant the book too much longer than I thought it would take to be published, five years from the time I wrote it to the date it was published on Amazon in June 2018. When I saw it on Amazon for the first time, I was very emotional.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
That’s a tough question. I guess I try to read about what is going on in the world and past historical events. With The James Saga, I had to do a lot of reading about slavery before and during the process of writing the novels which, in turn, helped me to form the basis of the characters in the novels.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Vanity publishers are a bone of contention with me. They frequently ask for vast sums of money from self-published authors while delivering very little in terms of results.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I’ve been quite fortunate so far in that I don’t tend to suffer from it. When I do get moments when my mind has gone blank, I find that going for a walk or having a quick chat with a loved one or a friend tends to get my creative brain going.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Sometimes, I will try to read and watch famous authors on television charter their trials and tribulations and see that as a form of inspiration.
I also believe that you should not give up. Anything is hard to begin with but with hard work and a bit of luck, hopefully, things will turn in the right direction eventually.
Also, you need to believe in the talent you have. If you’ve got it, the right things will happen in time.
Continue to write. With each book you write, you will get better.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
To have more belief in myself.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read every review which appears for my novels. At first, I did have an uneasy time dealing with bad reviews. Then, I realised this is part of the business I am in. Writing is subjective. You will never get five people, let alone ten, to agree on the merits of a book. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and just accept there will be people who will not agree nor like your book. The majority of the reviews for my books are very good, which helps me to stay in a positive frame of mind.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It’s always a wonderful feeling to get a great review. I am so grateful for every decent review that I receive, as readers do not have to give reviews. They do it because they want to.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I try not to incorporate something which has happened to me into my novels as I want to have some distance between myself and the books I write. A part of writing is that it’s an escape from real life, so I don’t want to drag in all of my thoughts and fears into it, otherwise, I would end up being emotionally drained each day.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
There isn’t a character in The James Saga which is based on me. They are all separate characters in their own right.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I think there is far too much emphasis on book covers rather than the story. You can have the most beautiful book cover, but if the story is dreadful, it won’t matter. I’m far more inclined to buy a book with an interesting book title and blurb, detailing the story, than one with a stunning book cover.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I try to connect with my readers, whether it is by social media or via my mailing list. I much prefer to converse with my readers, then just use my writing as a way to connect with them. By chatting with my readers, it gives them a chance to get to know me and vice versa.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I’m really happy when a reader likes my novels and says so, either via email or by posting a positive review. I’ve not been recognised in public – yet.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I don’t have a favourite author as there are too many that I admire. I’m a big fan of James Patterson and I read a lot of his books. Martina Cole, for her gritty, atmospheric novels and I don’t mind reading Harlan Coben.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream is to make a decent living from writing and to hopefully, have one of my novels adapted for television or film. I try not to aspire to be like other writers, as I always try to be myself, but I wouldn’t mind earning even half the amount that James Patterson earns.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I don’t think there is any author who is truly happy with any of their works. I’ve always been a perfectionist and even now, I’m the harshest critic of my works.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I don’t think I would want to swap places with any other author. Most self-published authors have to struggle to make a decent living. I’m no different.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
While these people have unpleasant views, answering them back only fuels their fire. I’ve had some bad reviews written by people who simply want a reaction. The best thing is to not fall for the bait and concentrate on the positive. It can be hard at times, but it’s far better than engaging with them.
What would you say to your readers?
I would like to say thank you, to all of my readers who have stuck by me. The fifth part of The James Saga, Between Love and War, is out now. I’m currently working on two novels, The Devil Within, which is a thriller, and To Sleep With A Stranger, a contemporary romance. I hope to release both of them next year and they may both have sequels, so watch this space!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am based in the UK.
What is your day job if you have one?
In between writing novels, I work as a freelance writer for a company.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I truly have very little time for hobbies. However, I do like doing exercises, mainly yoga, reading novels, and listening to 1980’s pop music, while singing very loudly in the process.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I’m not comfortable answering that question.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not particularly. I’ve just enjoyed writing from a young age.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have three novels which I started, but never finished, before I finally wrote The Fall of the House of James. I don’t think I will ever publish them as they would need extensive re-writing.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think there should be more emphasis on reading books and learning about other races and cultures. While I don’t mind children playing games, I wish they spent more time with a book in their hands, learning about the world around them.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
To end racism, world peace and to have an endless supply of money so I could spend it on myself and my family, while giving some of it away to charities.
What is your favorite music?
I love too many types of music. Pop, rock, ragga, reggae, jungle, dance, classical. The list is endless.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I do have a secret, which I might reveal one day. But it’s for me to know and for the rest of the world to guess about.