What inspired you to write?
I've always enjoyed writing and decided about seven years ago to try and write a book. My first adventure into writing was called 'A Boy To Love' and if I recall, I completed about 60,000 words and sent it to a few of my friends to read. They loved it, or said they did. You can never be too sure if people that love you are trying to protect your feelings. I don't know why I didn't go any further with it at the time, but I still have it on my hard drive. I enjoyed the creative part and liked building characters. I started on another project, which was provisionally title 'Devil In The Water.' The bones of this became my first published novel 'Promised Land Lane.'
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I'd been thinking of writing a book for a while, and as I mentioned above, had done some writing here and there. I'd started writing 'Devil in the Water,' then sadly lost my mum to breast cancer in 2012. Work stopped. She was my best friend and I took her death pretty badly and forgot about writing. It was only in February 2016 I re-discovered what I'd written and decided to carry on and see where it took me. So, I think writing has always been inside of me, but other things got in the way.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I have about seven projects on my hard drive, some further along than others, and as a rule didn't plot the story for any of them. For my first novel, I found I had completed about 40,000 words when the final chapter came to me. I immediately set to writing that and was more than happy with the ending. Once that had been finished, I went back and changed some of the story already written and filled in the rest. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. I knew all the pieces were there, but had to make them fit.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
My immediately family always knew I loved to read, and I think they would have been vaguely aware I attempted to write, but they probably thought it was just something else I'd do for two weeks until I got bored and moved on. About two months before my debut novel was published I posted the front cover on Facebook and I think it was then they realised I was serious and began to hound me for a release date. My friends probably thought along the same lines, even though they have read bits and bobs from me before. They were all pleasantly surprised when I released my book though. I did get a lot of support from my partner and my in-laws. My mother in law is a very successful writer and helped me so much -- I think I got the most encouragement from her. Thanks!
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The editing. I compare it to being at college and giving blood, sweat and tears for an assignment, then getting it back covered in red pen corrections. I have to say, the editing process never disheartened me and I took on board 95% of what was being said to me. If I thought they were wrong, I would ignore and carry on, but I always knew it was for the good of the story. I think one of my editors / beta readers was more worried than I was and would try and soften the blow before suggestions were sent to me. She would tell me that the best authors in the world are edited harshly at times. It was difficult, but I think it makes you a better writer.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Bringing characters to life and holding their lives in my hand. It's strange feeling responsible for somebody that doesn't actually exist. Still, it's a world I've created and I enjoyed that part very much.
Seeing the hard copy of my book was amazing. It made everything worthwhile - I definitely enjoyed that part.
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
I felt immensely proud of myself. It was a feeling I'd never experienced before.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Music gets in the way of my creativity. If I write at my desk, it is a constant struggle for me to turn the music off and focus on what I am writing. Even as I sit writing this, I'm at my desk with earphones in, but there is no music playing.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
Criticism doesn't bother me at all, as long as it is constructive. We're all entitled to our opinions and the world would be a very boring place if we all liked the same things.
There are books people have loved and praised that I didn't enjoy, but I have always been honest and said why.
Have you received any awards for your book?
I haven't received any awards for 'Promised Land Lane', but the feedback has been amazing and beyond my wildest dreams.
Are you working on a new book at the moment? What are you up to nowadays?
I am working on a number of new projects...
My next release is Part One of a four-part novella series called 'The Nightwalker Mysteries'.
The first book is called 'Second Self' and will be released in June 2017.
Following that, in August, I will release the sequel to 'Promised Land Lane'. This is called 'Island of the Dolls'. I started this following many requests from readers who wanted me to continue the story. I never, ever intended to write it, but who am I to refuse?
Then at the close of the year, Part Two of ' The Nightwalker Mysteries' will appear.
Busy times ahead for me...
Do you have any author appearances coming up and/or are you doing any books giveaways or contests?
No planned appearances this year, but I am running regular giveaways via my FB page, so keep checking.
Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in a place called Bebington, which is on the Wirral peninsula (Over the Mersey from Liverpool). I had an amazing childhood with two brothers and a sister and was very lucky my parents were madly in love and stayed together. The thing that stands out in my childhood was my best friend, Sarah. We met in primary school and were inseparable. I couldn't have asked for a better friend in life and still, nearly 40 years later, we're best friends. She was the ONLY person that could convince me to do something I knew I shouldn't do, but we always had fun doing it. If I had to pick one memory that stands out, it would be myself and Sarah at the top of a VERY steep hill wearing new roller skates. There was no fear as we launched ourselves over the edge, not worrying about how we would stop at the bottom. We did stop, but it wasn't at all dignified. I remember tearing holes in my brand new trousers and my Mum shaking her head at me, wondering what I would get up to next. If I could describe my childhood in one word - laughter.
Do you have a favorite quote?
'It is what it is'
What is your favorite show on TV?
There are too many to mention, but at the moment it is probably 'The Gilmore Girls' and 'How To Get Away With Murder.'
At the moment it would be the 'Absolutely Fabulous' movie, but I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter and Star Wars series of films.
'The Witching Hour' by Anne Rice.
I'm still waiting for some form of TV/Film adaptation.
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I could sing, but I don't believe there is a vocal coach alive that could make me sound halfway decent.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I'm terrified of horror movies and struggle to watch them.
Even though I have written a horror novel, I can only watch anything horror related through my fingers or from behind a cushion. Even then, I'm likely to jump ten foot into the air.
A bit of a funny tale to show how much horror films bother me. I'd reluctantly gone to the cinema to see a film called Wrong Turn. It was about inbred mountain people who were cannibals. My nerves were on edge from the start and I got to the part where one of them was about to cut a body up. I couldn't take anymore so told my friend I'd wait outside for her. As I was walking down the stairs to leave, there was a noise and something jumped out on the screen and frightened me. I fell backwards and landed on top of an unsuspecting gentleman sat with his girlfriend. He yelled out with fright, but I was wedged on top of him with my leg stuck down the side of the chair. I'd also flattened the box of popcorn he was holding and was totally mortified as the entire cinema was laughing. I managed to get myself up and ran out. When the film finished the man came and found me and apolgised for some of the more choice words he called me. He said the last thing he expected was a grown man to fall on top of him. It was probably the most shameful experience of my life, but I have to admit had I observed it rather than being part of it, I would have cried with laughter. My friend never made me go and see a horror film with her again.
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Kind. Stubborn. Creative.