What inspires you to write?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I kept a diary full of secrets and dreams when I was at school, always locked away from prying eyes. I then started writing short stories and after having a few published in women’s magazines, I moved on to writing novels. I love creating a world full of people I (usually) wish I knew. Writing is definitely my therapy and it’s cheaper than buying shoes.
Tell us about your writing process
I usually start with a scene or an incident that pops into my head, usually when I’m somewhere inconvenient and nowhere near my computer. I permanently carry a notebook and a purple pen and have to scribble it down before I forget. Then I want to know who the people are, what they’re doing there and where they hope to end up. My novels usually develop from there, scene by scene, until I have a draft of a complete story. Then the hard work begins. I re-write and edit until it’s shiny and as good as I can make it.
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
I like to discover my characters in the same way as meeting new people. First you know what they look and sound like. It takes a while to get to know how they think. I develop my characters as I go along, peeling back layers to find out who they are and where they’ve come from. It’s actually a great moment if they tell me I’m trying to make them do something they definitely wouldn’t do. I do have a tendency to read my dialogue out loud and that sometimes evolves into me role-playing a scene as if I’m in it.
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s important to put in the effort to learn the craft of novel writing. I’ve definitely served my apprenticeship and I’m confident my books are well written and entertaining reads. I’ve always believed a writer is what you are, not what you become. So I’d say never give up on the publishing dream.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent years doing the rounds of pitching to agents and getting nowhere, although I did get encouraging feedback. I’m so pleased I decided to self-publish and take control of my own career. My first novel ANOTHER SUMMER has been very well received and I have several more in the pipeline. My next, HIGH HOPES, is almost finished. My problem is I can’t type as fast as I can think!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love the way publishing is no longer one size fits all. There’s something for every reader, whether your preference is beautiful hardback volumes or easy downloads. I’m also encouraged that children seem to be reading more via the very tablets and mobile phones that were expected to kill off the publishing industry. I would like to see more investment in public libraries, though, as I think joining and choosing your first book is a rite of passage that every child should enjoy.