What inspired you to write?
My family inspired me to write. My three year old, at the time, saw life in such an uncomplicated way. Still does! I saw things from an adult perspective. Daddy and the World's Longest Poo is about a simple, real-life domestic quirk and the two levels on which it is interpreted by my son and by me.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I had been thinking about this story for some time. When I came up with the catch phrase Daddy and the Worlds Longest Poo, I thought, there must be a story in that. It wouldn't leave me, so I forced myself to sit down one day and write.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
My story is in picture book format, so it is short (270 words!) and in this particular case, I didn't write to an outline; I just wrote and saw where it took me. I wrote a first draft in one sitting. I would imagine for any sort of longer format, an outline would be well advised.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
I received encouragement from my immediately family - husband, father and mother. My husband has a good sense of humour and though the book makes fun of his quirks, he wants me to become a famous author! I write the book on my own but my family were supportive in the beta reading process and giving feedback on drafts of the illustrations. I took advice but ultimately went with my gut feelings.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The writing was not so hard, it was the illustrations which provided me with challenges. How to diversify the images in a picture book about spending time on the toilet, without every scene being on the toilet. This is where intense story boarding and imaginative work came into play. As I was self-publishing, I had to give full guidance and instructions on my illustrative concept to the artwork team at Lulu Publishing Services. A rewarding exercise!
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
I loved creating the rhyme. In this particular story, more than any of my other manuscripts, it just flowed. It didn't feel forced and I think I managed to pull it off. Let me know!
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
After the book was published, I was fully intending to keep working, albeit with one day a week to promote my book and work on my writing. However, seeing my book in print and knowing what I could achieve, my idea of my professional life transformed. When I parted ways with the company I was working for, I took it as an opportunity to become a writer and use my skills full time, rather than as a side hobby.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Working full time in a non-writing profession, family and stress can all get in the way of my creativity. I'm not just a young, single woman any more though so I need to balance my life and structure in time for creativity, as strange as that sounds. When I have ideas but I'm unable to act on them, I try my best to jot them down now and come back to them on days when I am child free and can get some writing done!
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
It's hard. I'm only just starting out and have only just started to receive some negative feedback, now that non family and friends are reading the book. I've had to take a deep breath as it has knocked my confidence but I do try to understand the other person's views and if there are points of advice I can use to make my writing better, I will implement them. If the criticism comes down to someone else's world view being hugely different to my own, then this is subjectivity and it's probably a case that they are not naturally my audience, whereas others will be. No easy answer though...
Do you have a favorite quote?
"I took the road less travelled, and that has made all the difference." (The Road Not Taken, a poem by Robert Frost) This has been the motto for my life and my writing, it seems. I don't fit the mould and I take the path less travelled all the time. Hopefully one day this will lead to success, apart from just building strength of character!
What is your favorite show on TV?
I love Vikings. I'm a history buff and I resisted watching this for a while because it seemed very violent and just about battles. I came back to it though and I'm so glad I did. It is adult and it is confronting but unlike Game of Thrones, it's based on real history and is an amazing representation of a people and a way of life. The character portrayals are amazing!!!
My all time favourite movie is Gone with the Wind. Like Vikings, it's historical saga and I love historical saga. I also love perfect casting and there never was better casting than Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara. Clark Gable is pretty good too!
My favourite book is Wuthering Heights. Funny, I think it might be a saga and melodramatic to boot! It is also a period piece which I love and the characters and tormented love story are iconic. Unforgettable.
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
This is hard... Living would Leonardo DiCaprio and dead would be Gregory Peck. Two great actors of their generations and both very handsome, though Gregory Peck was the handsomest of all.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I had the talent to attract a huge following on social media. I'm working away at this slowly but I've got a lot of work to do to tap into the right audience. I would love to be a social media influencer, or any sort of influencer. I guess that is what writing is about; wanting your voice to be heard and appreciated, or provoking of reaction.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
You don't know me very well so I'm not sure if I can surprise you... yet. Maybe my book about toilets will surprise you enough for now!
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Loving. Passionate. Determined.
What inspired you to write?