Heralding from a mix of Scottish and Germanic ancestry I was never going to surrender completely to convention.
Excelling at English Language and Literature in an otherwise uneventful school career, it is no surprise that I would eventually be drawn to writing a novel, only how long it took me to come to this conclusion.
Immersing myself into marriage and raising my two children, not to mention a thirty-five-year nursing career kept me occupied until such times as they flew the nest and I suddenly found the luxury of time on my hands.
Imaginary worlds and situations, that are realistic enough to create that ounce of belief they could be real, led me to a blueprint for the books I have written so far.
What inspired you to write?
Firstly, my love of reading, losing myself in stories that other people had created.
Secondly, the fact that my sister, Carmella, started to write, and passed each chapter to me as she finished them, for my opinion and suggestions. I got to the point where I was thinking up scenarios for future books, with a view to giving her some inspiration for a next novel. Eventually when she told me she had ideas of her own and why didn’t I write it myself? I thought, okay then I better get on with it.
What genres do you enjoy?
My tastes are varied, ranging from historical drama/romance to quirky young-adult fantasy. I don’t particularly want to read a full-on love story, but I do enjoy the dynamics and an undercurrent romance which runs through the books.
Who are your favourite authors past and present?
As a child, I think I read every single Enid Blyton book ever published, from Brer Rabbit through to the entire Famous Five, and Mallory Towers Series. However, if I was to pick the two books that shaped my love of fantasy, they would be J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan and C.S Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Nowadays I’m more likely to pick up Jojo Moyes or Cecelia Ahern, but my need for something a little more ‘otherworldly’; has me reaching for Melanie Rawn, Melissa Marr, and a fairly newly discovered favourite: Karpov Kinrade.
What are you working on the moment?
With my novel, From the Future, with Love, recently finished, I am concentrating on books I wrote previously. Romancing the Elements, a futuristic, utopian trilogy starting with Book 1 Lake of Stars, is also completed and just needs a little fine tuning.
I am also writing a new story, set in modern day, Sapphire Bones. Treasure, a lost diary and a priceless saphire necklace, not to mention a feud going back to the time of the Norman invasion, is set against the backdrop of a small farming community. A Romeo and Juliet scenario would be a little too predictable on its own, so far better to complicate it with a love triangle involving a seventeenth century ghost.
When are you most likely to get inspiration for the pages of your book?
Any time that I’m not fully immersed in other things. Often when I’m out and about and witness funny incidents, I’ll tweak them slightly to fit in with my current storyline if I can. And mainly when I’m in bed, those last few minutes which are still reality, before sleep takes over.
What is the one book you wish you had written.
Enjoying the Twilight Series so much and seeing their success and those of Harry Potter, it would be difficult not to opt for one of them. But I think I would have to go with Pride and Prejudice, it is the ultimate romance, without being overly slushy. I love all Jane Austen’s books; her interpretation of the landed gentry is so clever and witty. I also enjoy all the different film adaptations of her works.
You come up with a storyline, do you run it by friends and family to test the water, or follow your gut instincts?
Gut instincts, always, but always appreciate feedback.
What type of audience do you think your books would appeal to?
They are not aimed at a specific group. I try and have a varied age range of characters, all with distinctive and contrasting personalities. My daughter who is in her mid-twenties and a male friend in his sixties have read and enjoyed my books, as I’ve been working on them. Although not specifically targeted for YA, they are most definitely suitable, for this age group.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Most importantly, don’t leave it as long as I did to start writing. If you have an idea, make a start, and don’t be disheartened if you’re not happy initially. Keep re-writing, it will come. Have enough belief that you can transform whatever stories you have in your head, into words.