What is the title of your latest book? What is it about?
GIRL FRIENDS is a YA novel. The protagonist is fifteen year old Courtney who looking for love and good marks in school. Home life is tough, but at least she has her best friend Grace. Grace however has other fish to fry, mostly in the form of a new, older, boyfriend who promises to get her the right contacts to fulfill her ambition to be a model. Is Courtney right to be worried about what Grace is getting herself into? Or is she just jealous?
What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?
I find sticking with my intended plot outline quite a challenge – the characters often decide to do something completely different. Usually, unless it would mean completely re-writing the book (and that has happened!) I go with the flow and tweak the plot outline accordingly.
My most rewarding experience was when my son read the first draft of my first YA book, And Alex Still has Acne – and said it was quite good! Praise indeed from him; he wouldn’t have hesitated to tell his mother she was writing rubbish if that was what he thought. He did make a few useful suggestions as well, after all he had been a teenager a lot more recently than I had.
What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?
Read plenty of novels, especially from the genre you want to write in. Read for pleasure, but then think about what worked / didn’t work for you in that particular book before you move onto the next one.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a series of short stories, based around some of Shakespeare’s female characters. What they were up to when we don’t see them on stage. Some have already been published. Chains of Magic, about Desdemona and Othello was in the Food of Love anthology, published by Solstice. Another one, based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will be in their 2016 summer anthology). I hope to have enough stories completed over the next few months to be published as a collection which I have provisionally titled Cast Off. It would be great if I could get it all together as my contribution to the events marking this year’s 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
What do you like to read?
I will read almost anything from cereal packets to dictionaries rather than sit and not read. I like the classics (Jane Austen, George Eliot) but will also read new novels (Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread). I like non-fiction too and have not long read two books by Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything and Mother Tongue. I love the way he conveys so much information in such an engaging way. I have nearly finished Helen Macdonald’s, H is for Hawk, which is about her coming to terms with grief for the death of her father through training a hawk.
Where can readers find you?
Nearly all my published work is available from Amazon: