Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
A: I was born and raised in Liverpool, England. Whenever I mention that people immediately start talking about the Beatles. Personally, I have never met any of them. My parents, brother and sisters all still live in Liverpool or in the surrounding area. I came to Canada as an adult and have lived here ever since. I have two daughters whom I love beyond reason.
Q: Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
A: Most writers will say they have been writing all their lives and that is true for me too. Even as a child I loved to read and to write stories. I write because I love writing and I cannot not write.
Q: On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
A: Writing, while taking brief snatches of time to walk the dog, do some laundry, housework, gardening and cooking. But at midnight I’m often still at my keyboard.
Q: When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
A: When I begin writing I always know what my first couple of chapters will encompass. From there I jot down notes and ideas as I go. I have a general idea in my head of what I want my characters to achieve in terms of life lessons, but the plot evolves as I write and as I research.
Q: What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
A: My books tend to be set in England, a place I am very familiar with, so I already have a good sense of the setting. I read voraciously about a subject both at the library and on the internet before beginning to write. ForSanguinarian there was one particular website I used that was excellent. As for the sex, I have a good imagination. Let’s leave it at that.
Q: How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
A: I suspect it is impossible not to impose my own beliefs and fantasies on my characters. As for people I know, yes, they do show up in my writing, albeit in deep disguise. I try to make my characters real and vulnerable, even a vampire assassin from the 1800s.
Q: How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
A: Usually three to four months, then there is the editing process after that.
Q: Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
A: When I start a book I write a full draft from beginning to end. Then I go back to the beginning and start revising. I do a full second draft, then a third and forth. If I feel the book still has issues that need to be resolved, I’ll do more.
Q: Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
A: Imagine working at Walmart and calling them up one morning to say, “I can’t sell house wares today. I have selling block.” They’d laugh at you and send you packing. At a recent writers’ workshop I attended the group was told to “get the words on the page.” That’s what I do. You can always change them later.
Q: When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel, or experience?
A: With a romance I wish the reader to be transported out of their ordinary life into a world where dreams can come true and where they can forget their everyday worries for a while. I want to take the reader on an adventure, to excite and disturb them, and I want them to finish the book feeling lightened by the experience.
Q: Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
A: I find titles difficult to come up with. The names of my characters come to me long before I begin writing. A character’s name molds their personality and appearance in my mind. First names are very important to me. But book titles? I ask advice and scramble for those.
Q: How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
A: I have been told I am very dry. It could be the English background. Oscar Wilde was hysterically funny. So was Jane Austen. On a more contemporary note, I think Mr. Bean is hilarious.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you've received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
A: I have always made a habit of going to every writers’ workshop I can possibly get to and joining writers’ groups. I co-chair the writers’ group in my town. So, I have had loads of advice over the years and most of it has been helpful. I think perhaps the best piece was what I mentioned above, “Get the words on the page.”
Q: What pros and cons surround the e-publishing industry, and how do you envision the future of e-publishing?
A: The pros: E-publishing saves trees. That’s got to be good. It also makes books more accessible worldwide. Most of the world speaks English at this point and when somebody in Bahrain or Germany comments on my writing I get an extra thrill that my work has travelled that far around the globe. Reading and access to writing is the key to freedom in countries that do not enjoy the liberties we have in the west. E-publishing makes this possible.
The cons. Piracy. If you would not steal a book from a store why would you do it from a website?
Q: What kind of books do you like to read?
A: I love Sarah Waters and have read all her books. I have read most of Anne Perry’s books. I love Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Barbara Kingsolver, George Eliot.
Q: What is your favorite TV show?
A: That’s easy. Coronation Street.
Q: What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Just thought we’d throw that in for fun…
A: Tim Horton’s. I love their coffee.
Q: If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A: A disgruntled would-be writer.
Q: New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
A: 1. Write.
3. Don’t stop writing even if you don’t have time or others tell you that you are a talentless moron.
4. Be persistent and keep sending your work out. Eventually someone will believe in you and give you a chance.
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