Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
My earliest memory of writing was a story I wrote when I was about eight years old. I can't remember the details but I do remember that both of the girl's parents died, leaving her an orphan. My teacher seemed a little perturbed about what came out of my mind, but I was secretly pleased I could write a somewhat shocking story. I was comforted by the fact that my mother totally understood, in fact she admitted to having daydreams of being an orphan as a child herself after reading Little Orphan Annie.
What makes writing your passion?
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
The first book I had published by a publishing house was Moongolly. I was on Cloud Nine, thinking it would be a raging success. However, the sales figures were rather disheartening. I wrote another book, What Happened to Polly, and self-published it via Amazon. It sold tens of thousands of copies within the first few months, so once my contract with the publisher had expired, I self-published Moongolly as well. The feeling of publishing a new book is always exciting and optimistic.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I'm the boss of them to start with; I choose the characters and I plot their paths and interactions. Sometimes they stick with my plan but at other times they'll go off in their own direction... falling in love with the wrong person, displaying a hidden side of their personality, etc. At first I used to try to pull them back into line, however I've learned to follow them. As it turns out, the character is usually right.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Sometimes I feel like my books are in a quagmire, sinking and suffocating under an ever-increasing slush pile of manuscripts. I love writing but I am not good at promoting my own work.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
A candle-lit bubble bath with fragrant essential oils. Relaxing into liquid warmth clears my mind and allows for inspiration to flow.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
In the early days, I got one negative review and spent the rest of the day obsessing over it, forgetting about the lovely positive reviews written by others. These days I am simply grateful to the kind and considerate people who take the time to show appreciation for my work.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
The first one was definitely the best. The fact that someone I had never met had taken the time to write such admirable words about my writing was truly exhilarating. These days a good review gives me a peaceful and happy feeling of deep gratitude.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Many times, although heavily disguised as fiction.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I've heard that a new writer's first book is somewhat autobiographical whether by plan or by accident. With me it was my second book, What Happened to Polly. The main character became more and more like me, so I gave her free rein to use some of my deeply buried issues and emotions.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Not as important, but it is definitely important to have an impressive and professional looking 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 answer the occasional emails I receive from readers but that's about it.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Grateful and happy.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Liane Moriarty. She's inspiring and successful, and she tells a great story.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I don't think I would ever rewrite any of my stories. However if someone is kind enough to point out a single spelling or grammatical error, I'll immediately pull that book down, correct the error, and republish it.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I'm more like a tree. Of all the interesting varieties of trees around the world, none has ever wished to be anywhere but where it is. Besides, what if the other author didn't want to be where I am!?
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.
It used to work... as in they did annoy this author, but not these days. While it's exasperating if someone who obviously hasn't read a book of mine reviews it with nasty comments, I simply trust that potential readers will see through their words.
What would you say to your readers?
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
What is your day job if you have one?
I worked in Software Development for many years before our whole team was made redundant. This was 13 years ago and I took up yoga studies... for nothing more than a career change. However, I was only halfway through my first year of training when I realised without a shadow of a doubt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I had a sense of purpose such as I'd never had before.
I love helping people which is probably why I attract mainly over-50s and people with health issues, physical or mental. I teach almost every day, but I continue to learn,and I hope I never stop learning.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Is research a hobby? I don't have a great deal of free time, and that is certainly not a complaint. Oh, I do play Backgammon and have Sudoku competitions with my wonderful man.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes, but of course there were ups and downs; challenges, disappointments, insecurities, but there were also adventures and achievements. Most importantly, amongst all the fighting and arguing in my large family there was, and still is, much love.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I had been wanting to become a writer but didn't really want to expose too much of myself. One day I was having a little chat with my guardian angel and asked what I should write about. She said, what about me? So began the story of Moongolly.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have a book on the back burner that's half written. It's been there since the diagnosis of my second melanoma, which was when I totally lost my motivation for writing. Not even a bubble bath has managed to bring it back. I kept thinking that once I'm 100% healthy again, I'll return to writing. Since then I've had to have half a lung removed due to melanoma metastases and now they've discovered there's another tumour in my right lung. Oh boy! One day, I'll kick my cancer to the kerb and down the drain - for good!
Will I ever finish that book and write more? I don't know. What I do know is that I love my life and I'm grateful for the books I have written - all of them, and not a writer's block between them that was more than a day or two.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
The job I really want is Test Pilot in a Broom Factory 🙂