Awesome Gang Interview

Tell us about yourself and how many books you’ve written
I’m a “Geordie lass” from Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England. The origin of the term causes many an argument and it depends on your family folklore. It could be after “Geordie’s men”, who were local followers of King George II, the last British king to lead his troops into battle. My own favourite is the “Geordie safety lamp” invented for coal miners by the local engineer George Stephenson , as I went to the high school named after him. I’m married to Michael, an artist and we have one daughter. I’ve written seven or eight novels over the many years of my apprenticeship. After trying the usual rounds of slush piles, I decided to bite the bullet as an independent author.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
ANOTHER SUMMER is my first published novel. One stormy day, I had to cross a rickety bridge over a raging river. I spotted a shiny new motorbike trapped in the debris. There wasn’t a soul in sight. I started thinking, what if…?
Do you have any unusual writing habits
As I have a full-time job and a husband I like spend time with occasionally, I only manage to steal around six hours a week actual writing time. In between, I walk around with a notebook and a purple pen, working out my next scene. I have become that mad woman talking to herself on the bus.

What authors or books have influenced you?
I’ve loved many different authors during various phases of my life. I used to borrow the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene from my local library. I then devoured all Catherine Cookson’s historical sagas, which were set in Tyneside, where I live. I moved on to Judith Krantz and the big sex and shopping novels of the eighties and all the romantic dramas by Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts. Undoubtedly, the biggest influence was Rosamunde Pilcher, who inspired my lasting love of Cornwall. The UK may be a smallish island on the world map but Cornwall is as far away from where I live as you can get without leaving the country. I can fly to New York quicker than it takes to get to Cornwall. But I love it and I feel it’s my destiny to live there one day.

What are you working on now?
I’m editing my second novel, HIGH HOPES which I ‘m aiming to launch around Christmas. It’s a sexy romance, again set in Cornwall. The characters, this time, are long-standing friends who are rocked by a twenty year old secret.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m very new to this so I’m still experimenting. I’ve learned that reviews make a huge difference, so I’ve been concentrating on that. Also 99c deals seem to do much better than full-price promotions for obvious reasons.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write what you love. If you don’t love it, why will anyone else?

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If you want something badly, don’t wait for someone else to give it to you. Do everything you can to make it happen.

What are you reading now?
I’m half way through SPARE BRIDES by Adele Parks, set in the world of society house parties after the First World War. I’m not usually a massive fan of the background detail in historicals but I loved all of Adele’s contemporary novels and she’s winning me over.

What’s next for you as a writer?
I feel that after twenty years of trying, I only just dipped my toe in the water. I have several novels at various stages of “work in progress”. I also have a portfolio of short stories which I’m hoping readers may enjoy over a coffee, while they’re waiting for the next novel.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
What a lovely thought, having one of your books on somebody’s desert island list. Mine would be Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Scruples by Judith Krantz and any of the big and fabulous dramas from Penny Vincenci. My all-time favourite novel is The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. I had it in hardback and read it so many times over the years, it fell to bits and I had to buy another copy.

(first published by Awesome Gang on 12.09.15)