Questions and Answers
Did I always want to be a writer?
Yes, I have no recollections of wanting to be a civil servant or a milkman. From a very young age, I remember thinking that my life was like a character in a movie and everyone else in the world remained asleep until I walked into a room (the film set).
I also told made-up stories to poor Welsh children on the grassy banks of a Gilwern canal – only a few of them jumped in. Yet sadly, I developed stories in my head long before my brain had the capability to write them down in a meaningful way. This was initially frustrating for me and it’s taken me a good few years to reach the published stage.
I’ve learnt to be very patient with my writing and take adequate time to build the necessary skills, seek out professional advice, and then practice and practice. Every novel should be better than the last, so please return to this site in five years!
How do I research my books?
The stories are contemporary, largely based on themes that I have a good understanding of, and I’ve visited all the places mentioned within the books (like Moscow or a grubby pothole in North Yorkshire).
This does not mean that I have sampled the extraordinary lifestyles of all of my characters though! Okay, one November evening I did try to walk around Bradford city centre in a pair of high heels and a mini-skirt, but the rain smudged my mascara, the wind played ‘Jingle Bells’ with my earrings and I returned quickly to the car.
Fortunately, my imagination then conjured up a more exhilarating story. Thankfully, I haven’t climbed a tower crane either or rolled a corpse into a Dutch canal.
So if you have done one or more of these things in real life, I hope my writing clearly represents your own experiences. Perhaps it’s best not to share the latter one.
Who are my literary influences?
The very first books I enjoyed and avidly re-read were Emil and the Detectives (Erich Kästner) and The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins). At the same time, my wonderful parents purchased a recording of Under Milk Wood (Dylan Thomas), narrated by Richard Burton, which captivated my imagination.
My love of literature exploded during my teens when an inspirational female English teacher encouraged me to read Lorna Doone (a fantastic historical novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore), Cider with Rosie (Laurie Lee), Animal Farm (George Orwell), and Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck).
As a young adult, my favourite novels were The Crow Road (Iain Banks), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger), and the deliciously unconventional Wilt (Tom Sharpe).
What about independent authors?
Yes, where did we come from and when will we be going back? Without the wonderful Amazon (and other organisations who support new writers) these two books would probably never have been published.
Although you may have your own thoughts on the virtues of this! At least for the writer, these are very exciting times – like discovering an island brimming with lingerie-clad Koala bears . . . er . . . or trekking to an undiscovered continent. The majority of writers who are now entering the market are taking advantage of new technology and professional support organisations that allow the efficient production of good quality eBooks and printed books, without having to be assigned to a traditional publishing house (although help with distribution would be very welcome).
Most importantly, I respect the ethics of the industry and endeavour to achieve the highest product standards. I do this by investing in professional plot advice and a book cover that the reader should be proud to own (just toss away the words!).
The initial selling price is also chosen on the basis of ensuring that the customer receives value for money and to reflect the fact that I am an independent author. Meeting these targets requires a large financial outlay though, so in my case, I have a full-time career away from writing and my books could be deemed as an expensive and time-draining hobby. I use the word ‘could’ because I feel obliged to follow my heart and just one enthusiastic reader’s review is worth more than a monetary reward. Although, both would be lovely!
Any more projects?
Yes, my next story is about two English tourists who stay in a old gatehouse in a mysterious German village. Its tragic secrets slowly emerge.
The other story line is also about village life, but this time it chronicles the saga and power struggles of the annual Pantomime production.
Oh, and I am also working on a quirky children's story. Watch this space!
Q&As specific to each novel are provided at the back of each book.
Still curious? Any unanswered questions? Please feel free to email me...