How long did it take you to write the book?
It took me about a year, as once I’ve written the first draft, I then rewrite sections, before editing it about four times, then sending it to my publisher where I do about three more edits with their editor. I’ve had the same editor, James, for all seven of my novels, and I really enjoy working with him; I’ve learnt a lot from him over the years.
You write about the frustrations of writers before they hit the big time. Therefore, are some of the characters and experiences based on your own experiences before you became a published author?
Some of the emotions of the aspiring authors have indeed travelled through my mind in the time before being published. From reading authors blogs, and responses to my own blog, I was not alone in feeling that way. However, even though published, doubts and self-criticism are part of everyday life for an author, unfortunately.
Your characters are made up of quite complex layers based on their past experience. Where do you start when building up a character profile?
That’s a tough question! I adore writing characters with depths of sadness entwined with some form of mental health issue – a passion that stems from my years as a forensic mental health nurse. I start with the character in the present then gradually weave a past around them, building layers as the story progresses and ideas blossom in my mind. I don’t always have the full picture of the character when I initially create them; after spending time in their company, I begin to see them as a more rounded character which enables me to convey more to the reader – hopefully!
If you could pick anywhere. Where would be your ideal place to sit and write a book?
I love sitting by a lake as my husband fishes, in warm sunshine with birdsong drifting through the air. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a kingfisher swooping across the water a couple of times, and robins cheekily steal fishing bait. I hand write my novels then type them up later, which means I can write anywhere, which I truly love. Ideally, I would love an outdoor office over-looking a lake with ducks on it. It’s good to dream!
What is your next project going to be?
I’m currently writing the fifth novel in my DI Eva Wednesday crime series. Wednesday works alongside DS Jacob Lennox, in Cambridgeshire. This crime involves two missing teenage girls, only the crimes are three years apart. Wednesday was involved in the first investigation when she was a DS, and the girl was never found, so her family are understandably unhappy at Wednesday’s return to their door.
Who or what inspires you?
From all the books you have written, do you have a favourite character? If so, why?
I have two, actually; I know it’s cheating. The first is Finlay Walker, the antagonist in my psychological thriller, ‘Attic of the Mind’, was a thrilling character to write, as he was a nasty, vindictive, and violent man – everything I am not, so it was wonderful to act in a way that I wouldn’t do normally.
Antagonists are the most fun to write, as I can explore the darker side of human nature safely. We all have a dark side within us, and I clearly have, I’m just glad I write about it rather than act on it!
The second is DI Eva Wednesday. I initially wrote ‘In the Light of Madness’ as a stand-alone crime novel, featuring Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox. However, I loved her tenacity at her job whilst managing to cope with a mentally ill mother, and her own fear of developing a mental illness gnawing at the back of her mind, whilst keeping it a secret from her work colleagues. There are currently four novels in the series, and I’m currently writing the fifth one – as mentioned above.
Thank you for having me on your blog – I enjoyed answering your questions immensely.
At first I thought of this a nice easy read. I settled myself into my sun lounger and thought a nice little chick-lit book. You know the usual, nice plot, but not much substance. This was not what I expected
Alice and Theo, two people with very different agendas notice the advert for a writing retreat in Bourdeaux. The book has many twists and turns, as the agenda for Theo going on the retreat is revealed and the consequences this then has. Without giving anything away, I was touched by the depth of feelings I had for the characters; from pity to anger, from loathing to empathy. I literally did not put the book down. I was totally hooked from the first to the last page.
Ali the Dragon Slayer
Little Miss Reads
Becca’s Book Affair
Saturday 3rd September
Little Hels B
Sunday 4th September
Big Book Little Book