When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’m relatively new to writing having only started three years ago. My previous life was devoted to Accountancy. Can’t get further extremes. I became a founding member of a roleplaying group on Twitter. The group was based around historical romance in the time of the Musketeers. I started to develop a book based on our storyline and a friend, Charity Hendry read it. She loved what I wrote and encouraged me to think outside the box into contemporary romance and publish. Charity is NYT bestseller, Carrie Ann Ryan’s PA so I’m very lucky to have her assistance.
What is the first book that ever made you cry?
I’m quite a hard arse and don’t really cry much at books. I get sad but not really cry. I did cry once when I was roleplaying. One of the characters had to die and it was really emotional writing the scene with my friend who was playing that character. I was finding it hard to type for all the tears falling down my face.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It can vary. Surrendered Control, my first book took six months but Divided Control only three. The Touch of Snow, my first paranormal book, only took me three weeks. I still work as an Accountant one day a week and I’m also a mum to an eight and five-year old so writing is something that I still have to fit in around other things. Hopefully that will change one day.
Do you have any bizarre writing quirks?
I talk to myself when I write. So much so my husband thinks I’m going mad. I can be cooking dinner and talking to myself but I’m working an idea through in my head and acting the scene out. He does insist that I try to keep the working of a sex scene hidden.
Where do you get your book ideas?
A lot of the ideas just seem to pop into my head (I carry a notebook with me at all times). The Touch of Snow came to me in a dream. I also read a lot and sometimes I see something in a book and my mind twists it around to form a story of my own.
I also feature a lot of travel in my stories. That all comes from personal experience. In Surrendered Control, Amy and James visit India. In 2012, I live there for eighteen months with my husband and very young children. It was a fabulous experience and I’m so excited that I can share it with my readers.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing or being a mummy or accountant I love to bake and take photos. I make a lot of my children’s birthday cake and love to have fresh cookies available to them.
Photography is a new passion of mine and I hope to use it in my writing as well with cover shoots. I was given an all dancing, all singing camera two Christmases ago. I wanted to learn how to use it properly so I took a couple of courses. I know see life through a lens very differently. Below are a couple of pictures I took with Controlling Darkness in mind.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are all really proud of me. My daughter insisted on taking my business cards into show her teachers. She tells them that she is not allowed to read my book until she is eighteen though. So cute.
Do you hear much from your readers? What kinds of things do they say?
I do. I’ve got a few followers now that stop by and say hi when I’m posting. It’s really nice. Everyone is so friendly. The author community really is a kind and helpful one.
At the moment most of my readers are telling me to hurry up and write my next books. Although I don’t like to leave the couple in a cliff-hanger. HEA’s are important. I like to leave something to get the reader thinking and wanting more.
What do you think makes a good story?
To me it is believable characters and the way they interact. I have to fall in love with the hero and want him for myself. The heroine has to contain something of myself that I can see. I have to loose myself in the characters so that the book can flow. If I find a book like that I will read it in a day. I won’t be able to put it down. Which at the moment is a problem as I’m finding so many books like that.
Does writing energise or exhaust you?
Writing energises me. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for a number of years now. I also lack confidence in social situations but writing allows me to become a different person. It gives me a voice that has often been hidden. That doesn’t say that after a mammoth writing session, especially fight or sex scenes I’m not ready to curl up in bed.
What are common traps that new authors fall into?
I think common trap, and one I fell into myself, is believing that to be an author all you need to do is write. There is so much more being successful, it is a lot of hard work especially for an Indie author. You’ve got takeovers, social media interaction, form filing, trying to understand KDP every-time they change it. A how to manual would be great for new authors but to be honest everything changes so fast it would probably be out of date before you’ve read it.
Have you ever got READERS Block?
I have. I had terrible writers block half way through Controlling Darkness. I knew what I needed to get on the paper to tell the story but I just, for the life of me, could not write it. It was just not working. I stepped away for a week from the story and planned a few others. Took time out to read and then came back to it. I read through what I had previously written and then the words just flooded out. It probably helped that I came back to it one evening after a couple of glasses of wine.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
Have confidence in your abilities and ignore everything that you were taught in English Literature, contractions are good.
What was the best money you ever spent as an author?
The best money I’ve spent is on my graphics. They complete my book and make it look professional. I must admit I’m a snob with covers. If I see one that just doesn’t look good, I won’t even try the book. It could be the best book in the world but the cover and the blurb sell the book to me.
What does literary success look like for you?
Ultimately, I want what everyone else wants and that is bestselling status but that is long term. That is literary success. I have lots of short term goals. My next two are to release a book in a new series which I’ll be doing on the 27th June and then to attend my first convention, which I’ll also be doing in August at the Manchester author event.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is the first in my paranormal romance series called, ‘The Glacial Blood’. It tells the story of Selene Harper and Brayden Dillon. Brayden is a shape shifting snow leopard. He is trying to find in place in the pack and has been told that he needs to mate to become Beta. Selene has no idea who or what she is. All she knows is that when she touches a human she hears their thoughts and when she touches a shape shifter something even worse happens.
Do you sometimes find yourself Googling yourself?
Of course, who doesn’t. I can’t wait to get that blue verified marker on my twitter account as well.
Describe how you felt when you published your first book.
I think I felt numb at first. I know that sounds strange but I was so excited in the lead up to publishing and so busy trying to sort everything out that I didn’t really have time to think about it. I suddenly found myself not pressured. My book was out. I had a copy in my hand. A copy of something that I had written. I was in shock. Now when they release though I’m on a high for days. I don’t check sales. For me this isn’t about sales at this stage. It is about getting my word out to everyone.
What’s coming next?
Next we have lots of exciting things happening.
The Control Series is continuing with Controlling Heritage which is Sophie and Grayson’s story. There are three other books after that to come before January 2018. From that series I have two spin offs planned, unfortunately they are hush hush at the moment so I can’t say much. They are really excitement and feature very sexy males though. I will also be lending one of The Control Series characters to the AFWB anthology. Miss Alexia from Divided Control will get to tell her story in a special Christmas tale.
My paranormal romance series is set for seven books long (at the moment) and I’m hoping to get Emma’s story, ‘Fighting the lies’ out in September or August.
In 2018 I’ve got lots of conventions planned in the UK, Indie Pop up in Bristol, Writers by the River in Kent and Fanssastic in Birmingham. I’m also hoping to travel over to America and maybe attend a convention there, either as an other or a fan.
Do you have a favourite book?
I don’t really have a favourite book I have favourite authors. In Contemporary romance I love Sophie Oak and Cherise Sinclair. In paranormal romance it has to be Donna Grant, I’m just a massive Dragon Kings fan and even though I was her assistant at a convention in March she wouldn’t give me any clues to the storylines conclusion.