2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
Actually, lately my writing has entailed a fair deal of research, traveling in England and Scandinavia, and I have loved doing this. I’ve just returned from a trip to Stockholm, the home town of my leading male, Stefan Lundgren—one of the most beautiful, friendly cities in the world, imo!
3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
I’ve been writing seriously for two years now and published my first book, Lord and Master, in Spring 2015. The follow-up to that, Her Master’s Servant, will be published in January 2016.
4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?
Great questions! I write romances and I read them too, but I also love crime fiction, historical fiction, short stories, science fiction and the occasional dystopian fantasy. So Cloud Atlas, which combined all of the above, was basically my idea of reading heaven—one of the best books ever written.
5. Are you currently writing anything?
Yes! I’m working on the third and final installment of the Lord and Master trilogy, The Marchioness, which I aim to complete by Spring 2016.
The trilogy charts the evolving romance between Luna Gregory, who at the time we first meet her is personal assistant to the Marchioness of Lionsbridge, and Stefan Lundgren, third in line to inherit the 500-year-old estate where she works. I was inspired to write it after reading a New York Times bestselling romance that left me feeling let down. I wanted to know more than the writer was willing to tell me about her heroine’s backstory, friends and most particularly her job. So I decided to see if I could create a heroine of my own, whose life was more than just wallpaper.
Hmm, no, I don’t create character profiles and my outlines are pretty sketchy! Before I start writing, I spend a lot of time doing what I can only describe as daydreaming about my characters, composing and rewriting scenes in my head, as well as rehearsing key plot points and twists. I seem to do all my best ‘mental writing’ when I’m either out walking or sitting in the passenger seat of the car on a long road trip, so writing has made me fitter but poorer, in terms of petrol expenditures!
The only hard and fast rule I have when it comes to my writing is that I do it in a linear way; i.e. I don’t skip ahead. It’s always a treat for me when I get to the point of actually writing a scene that’s been running through my head for weeks or even months, waiting for me to get to it! There’s a pivotal scene at the end of Lord and Master, a confrontation involving Luna and her boss, Lady Wellstone, that honestly felt like it just flowed from my fingers onto the laptop screen—I’d been writing and rewriting it in my head for so long, by the time I came to actually type it up, it was all just…there.
7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
I enjoy writing dialogue and I think my strength is in capturing my characters’ unique ‘voices’. And I’m wondering if maybe organizational skills are my weakness, based on my slightly scatty answer to question 6!
8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Lord, I’m smiling reading these questions. All the qualities that I hope make me a good writer—my introversion, my daydreaming, my split personality (‘I’m a great writer…no, I’m a terrible writer’)—all of these make me completely useless at self-marketing. I hear about other writers doggedly building their fan bases, working their social media contacts, creating media opportunities for themselves and I can but gape in admiration. That’s why I’ve brought in experts, Smith Publicity, to help me with Her Master’s Servant.
9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
This will sound like a horrible cliché, but my best advice is write what you love, no matter what it is. I’m leery of advice about knowing your target market, tailoring your writing accordingly, blah blah blah. Maybe for non-fiction, but for fiction, love of your subject matter will always shine through.