Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I realised that I loved to write at secondary school. We were set challenges to write short stories in our English Language lessons, perhaps being given a title to create a story from and I couldn’t wait for the next title to be dropped on my desk!
Q: What did you do after finishing school?
A: After finishing my GCSE’s I had to make a choice with my future. I was offered a place via my Saturday job, working at the department store House of Fraser, on a three year window dressing course with a view to achieving qualifications in this. This meant that I had to leave home but at sixteen, I guess I wasn’t quite ready for such a huge leap and nor were my parents! I was persuaded to take the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretarial course. Two years of typing, shorthand, accounting, business studies, a brief look into retail law and computer literacy. Thank goodness I learned to type! I can rattle off my stories at speed when the need arises and the words just need to be expressed! In order to pay the mortgage, however, I have worked in an office and in a few retail jobs. My husband and I now work together in our family fireplace showroom, where all the secretarial studies have come in very useful.
Q: What was the first thing you had published?
A: The first story I had published was a bit of a sad story about an elderly lady who sat in a window and waited to die. Looking back, it was pretty dreadful and tragic but the local newspaper found it print worthy and gave it full praise! I’ve also had a few poems printed in magazines and papers. Along with writing short stories and novels I love to put a poem together and at some point, I will release a few of these into the world in a book. Watch this space!
Q: How long did it take to write ‘A Ghost Inside Me’?
A: We were gifted an antique bed that was in dire need of restoration. We debated if we should keep and spend the £500 on getting it restored and French polished. We did. When the bed came home it gave me the inspiration for the story. I let the idea buzz about in my head for several months until one day, I couldn’t resist having a go at writing it down. That was it, I spent an entire day tapping away frantically on my keyboard with the story flowing. I didn’t falter once and after that first day I had the beginnings of a great story. I spent probably the next couple of months getting to the end and feeling deeply satisfied. I even printed it off so that I could caress the pages and smell the ink, all my work! It then sat on a shelf for several months until my Sister persuaded me to get it published. At that point I sat down and read the whole thing back, red pen in hand scribbling changes, checking spellings etcetera. Once it was re-worked, I read it again. I did send it off to a couple of agents but deep down I still thought it needed some work and I sat down one day and re-hashed the whole thing, moving paragraphs around, deleting some parts, adding other bits. One more read through and a bit more red pen later, I was finally happy with the story and chose to self publish. I’m so thrilled with the end result and all that hard work later am delighted to have sold it not just in the UK but in the USA and Australia too.
Q: When will the next book be out?
A: I’m currently working on my next big novel but I am also releasing some of the short children’s stories that I have written over the years. The first of these is now available (see books page for more information). The Magic Stone is a short rhyming story for children and I originally wrote this for my nieces and nephew in 2009. Another shove by my big Sister to get this in print! There will be more soon in this vein. I have a Christmas rhyming story to get to print later in the year along with a non-rhyming short story about an adventurous little girl called Caitlin.
Q: Are your books only available via Amazon/Kindle?
A: Currently, yes. A simple answer! They come in Kindle format for you to download or if you prefer the feel of paper between your fingers, you can purchase in paperback format too. From a personal point of view, I’m still not sure which I prefer, sometimes I like to have the actual book in my hands and then other times I like the convenience of the Kindle. That’s why both options are available to you - it’s your choice. Enjoy.
Q: What books or authors do you like to read?
A: I love to read other authors. I’m not a fan of pure romance. It’s not that I’m not a romantic, it’s just not my bag! I like something a bit gritty, a mystery, thrillers, crime, that sort of thing. I’ve recently discovered a great writer called Robert Bryndza. I loved his Erika Foster series, so I can highly recommend these books to you. His latest book Nine Elms featuring new detective Kate Marshall was also a great read, although perhaps a bit too gruesome for my usual tastes! My favourite author has to be the late Sue Grafton and her alphabet series, if you can find these books, they are an amazing read. I was delighted to have an email from her a few years ago too and she encouraged me to continue to pursue my writing, another reason for the release of ‘The Ghost Inside Me’. Another author I have enjoyed is Linwood Barclay who is a great story teller.